Shades of BRAC 2005 overshadow USAF's C-130 transfer plan.
April 16, 2010—Protests are mounting over USAF's planned transfer of C-130s from Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units to the active duty formal training unit at Little Rock AFB, Ark.
Complaint letters sent to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley—the latest from the House National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus and National Governors Association—share a common concern that USAF made the decision without consulting the states or key Guard and Reserve leaders. (Invoking memories of the controversial Air Guard cuts initially outlined in BRAC 2005, see Total Force Turbulence from the October 2005 Air Force Magazine.)
Co-chairs of the House caucus, Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) and Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), in an April 13 letter, called it "disturbing" that USAF would try "unilaterally transferring" aircraft with "minimal consultation."
They also wrote: "It might be better use of limited funds and C-130s to truly embrace the Total Force concept and expand the associate wing program combining active duty, Guard, and Reserve units and personnel at one facility. The proven savings from these wings would go a long way toward closing any gaps made by the retirement of the last C-130Es."
The governors association in an April 13 letter said transfer of the ANG C-130s would "significantly reduce" the ability of the targeted states to conduct both homeland defense and overseas missions and would "place great strain" on neighboring states.
At a Senate hearing this week, a senior Air Force official deflected Congressional questioning, saying the Air Force would have a "position on where to go forward" in another "week or so."
In an April 13 release, the National Guard Association of the United States noted that, as the plan stands now, the Air Guard would lose 21 aircraft, including those from the shut down of the Puerto Rico ANG's C-130 unit.
According to retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, NGAUS president, Air Force officials have charged that ANG C-130s are not always "accessible," using that as "part of the reasoning for the plan." However, he added, "I'm still waiting to hear the first example of the Air Guard not showing up when called."
Earlier Daily Report items on this issue:
Whoa There, March 29, 2010
More Lawmakers Decry C-130 Plan, April 12, 2010
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