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Governors push for Guard reps on commission

Jan. 9, 2013 - 12:02PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 9, 2013 - 12:02PM  |  
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The National Governors Association is urging President Obama to appoint National Guard leaders to the newly-created National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force to ensure the Air National Guard is represented during budget talks.

In a Jan. 7 letter to the president, NGA Chairman Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del., and vice chairwoman Mary Fallin, R-Okla., wrote that Guard voices on the commission are necessary "to further discuss and resolve long-term strategic issues that came up during [Council of Governors] discussions with DoD."

The Council of Governors is a bipartisan group of state leaders who repeatedly expressed concerns the Air Force's proposed fiscal 2013 budget disproportionately reduced personnel and aircraft from the Guard.

The 2013 NDAA, passed in late December and signed by President Obama Jan. 2, calls for the creation of the commission, an independent group that will look at how Air Force assets are distributed among the active and Reserve components. Air Force leaders argued they should take charge of the commission, but Congressional negotiators said control should be kept on Capitol Hill.

The NDAA states the commission should be made up of eight members - four appointed by the president, one appointment each by the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and one appointment each by the chairman and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

The Air Force's initial proposal called for cutting 9,900 airmen, with 5,100 coming from the Air National Guard. The NDAA ended up cutting 1,000 airmen from the Air National Guard. The NDAA also called on the Air Force to retain 32 additional airlift aircraft to support troop needs in southwest Asia.

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