Whoa There

Key lawmakers last week sent letters to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley over USAF’s plan to transfer 12 Air National Guard C-130 airlifters to the active duty formal training unit at Little Rock AFB, Ark. Co-chairs of the powerful National Guard Caucus, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) wrote that this is “a troubling move in what appears to be a consistent trend” to reduce the number of ANG aircraft “without substantive or even any consultation” with Guard leadership. During a Senate Appropriations defense panel hearing March 25, Bond noted that the “scheme” would “eliminate the only flying unit in the Puerto Rican Air Guard, the unit everyone praised for its response to and support of Haiti” and called the C-130 action a “backdoor BRAC.” At the hearing, Gen. Craig McKinley, National Guard Bureau Chief, acknowledged he wasn’t consulted, so asked USAF to revisit the matter. (Bond-Leahy letter and Bond release) (Also sending letter, West Virginia Democrats Sen. Robert Byrd—release—and Sen. Jay Rockefeller—release)