Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told members of Congress that the Pentagon is willing to retain 24 C-130 transports in its Fiscal 2013 budget request to ensure that the Air National Guard can meet its mandate to support the states. The $400 million package outlined in his April 23 letter to lawmakers, however, does not specify which units this change may affect or where the funding to retain these C-130s would come from. “We recognize the important role that these [air]lift aircraft play in our support to civil authorities and to states—particularly in the event of natural disasters,” wrote Panetta in the missive, obtained by the Daily Report. “I strongly urge you to consider this proposal, which we believe sustains our national defense requirements and is responsive to concerns raised by the Council of Governors.” The compromise comes a week after the service rejected the council’s original proposal, which would have cut thousands of additional Active Duty positions while retaining thousands of Air Guardsmen. The Air Force said that plan would be cost prohibitive and would negatively impact readiness. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D), CoG co-chair, said the council is reviewing the counterproposal. Continue
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.