06.09.14

Leahy Praises Inclusion Of Commission On The Future Of The Army In Defense Authorization Bill

. . . Freezes Deep National Guard Cuts

WASHINGTON (MONDAY, June 9, 2014) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, praised the inclusion of a provision to establish a National Commission on the Future of the Army in the Senate Armed Service Committee’s mark of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

 The independent review panel will evaluate major changes proposed in the President’s budget for the Army and National Guard.  In the meantime the proposed law will freeze the transfer of most Apache attack helicopters from the Guard to the active Army.  The commission and freeze are based on a bill introduced earlier this month (S.2295) by Leahy and Senate National Guard Caucus co-chair Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which garnered 46 cosponsors before the Armed Services markup began.  The committee-approved language is also similar to language approved recently by the full House of Representatives.

Leahy said: “I am delighted that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee includes an independent look at the way forward for America’s Army.  The Administration’s proposal to Congress left too many questions unanswered about the implications of such a fundamental change in the relationship between the Reserve and Active Components, as well as America’s options if a future conflict is anything other than the short and decisive one the budget envisions.  That is why I am proud to have played a role in crafting the National Commission on the Future of the Army that was included in this year’s authorization, and I thank Senator Levin and Senator Inhofe for their insight and support in making it a reality.

“The Army National Guard is the combat reserve of the Army, and I share other Senators’ deep concern about removing all attack aviation capability from the Guard, which is why I am pleased that a commonsense freeze of the transfer of all but 48 AH-64 Apaches was included until it can be further reviewed.  Similarly, the operational capabilities of the past 13 years of war that have matured and thrived in the National Guard should not be squandered, and I am pleased the Commission’s mandate includes a consideration of force generation and operational employment practices to provide the nation with the best opportunity to retain that capacity, skill and know-how.

“While much work remains to be done to complete the NDAA for the President’s signature, I am proud of and encouraged by the accomplishments so far, and I look forward to continue working with others to ensure that we raise and equip a capable, balanced Army.”

 

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