Senators push Air Force on cuts to Air Guard

“You’re basically dismantling crews that have twice as high mission-capability rates [as other crews],” Brown said. “I don’t get it.”

Testifying before the committee, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the logic behind the decision was to even out the ratio of personnel on active and reserve duty. When asked by Brown as to what would happen to those stationed at Westover, Schwartz ensured him that “the team will remain largely intact.”

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The cuts to the Air National Guard are just one way in which the Air Force is attempting to slash $487 billion of dollars in spending over a 10-year period. In a statement issued last month, the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) said the Air National Guard would suffer the most under the Air Force’s proposed budget.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was also among those whose expressed concern over the proposed cuts, taking issue with the Air Force’s proposal to cut hundreds of Air National Guard jobs in her home state of New York.

“I question that decision largely because of the capabilities that New York has to offer,” she said, noting the state’s strategic positioning on the eastern seaboard as well as the Canadian border. “A large military presence [in New York] is… warranted.”

Levin closed the hearing by emphasizing that the Air Force should work more closely with state officials.

“Today’s hearing represented important progress," Levin said. "Air Force officials acknowledged that they are discussing their proposed changes with state governors. Those discussions will hopefully lead to modifications in their plan.