Federal Cuts Not Good For Utah National Guard, Official Says
On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed a plan to significantly cut army funding for the 2015 national budget. The plan directs where the cuts should take place, which includes shrinking the active-duty Army from 522,000 soldiers to between 440,000 and 450,000 soldiers.
Lt. Col. Hank McIntire, with the Utah National Guard, says some of the presented cuts, such as the moving of AH 64 Apache helicopters from National Guard use to entirely active-duty army control would be a mistake.
"It's a short-term type of response to a larger issue, so we feel like we need to stop and really examine this and make sure there's input from all the players in order that we make the appropriate cuts," McIntire said. "We are not opposed to cuts at all, we understand how things are going and what the realities are. We're not opposed to that. It's just the way the cuts are being made across the board, we think that's going to be a bad move in the long-run."
McIntire says that though international conflicts in which the U.S. are involved are quieter than previous years, the need for military preparation remains and cautions that cutbacks warrant a careful study of their effect before acceptance.
"Those cuts, if they went into effect, would affect, not only affect Utah citizens but citizens nationwide. Because citizens have come to rely on the national guard for local response, and so if you cut the force nationwide, in every state, that means fewer soldiers, airmen and others, to respond to local need."
McIntire says it costs much less for the National Guard to respond to local needs than active duty units and that the proposed cuts would cost money over time.
The proposed cuts, if approved by congress, would result in the smallest-sized U.S. army since before World War II. President Barack Obama will submit his 2015 budget plan to Congress next week.