Check Your Coyness at the Door

House Armed Services Committee members aired their grievances on the President’s Fiscal 2013 budget request to the committee leadership during a public session. Proposed cuts to the Air National Guard topped the lawmakers’ concerns at Tuesday’s hearing on member priorities. For example, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) said plans to drop two aerospace control alert sites, including in Duluth, home of the Minnesota Air Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing, an F-16 unit, could be detrimental to national security. “Narrowing the mission of a unit nationally recognized for its high performance leaves our nation more vulnerable to attack,” asserted Cravaack. He added, “There will be virtually no US armed force protection for our country’s northern border between Madison, Wisc., and Portland, Ore.” Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) said the Air Force refuses to justify its decision to cut the Iowa Air Guard’s 132nd FW, an F-16 unit in Des Moines, saying only the decision was “a judgment call.” Latham argued, “It appears that the decision was made using non-strategic criteria and that the greater cost-effectiveness of relying on Air Guard units was completely ignored.” (See also Back and Forth.)