Sunday, March 30, 2014

North Carolina National Guard Association's Position on Army Plan to Strip Guard of its AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters

The NCNGA strongly opposes rushing a strategic decision that will have a negative long-lasting impact over several decades.  They support House Resolution 3930 (H.R.3930) which will stop the immediate transfer of Apache helicopters out of the NC National Guard and support creating a National Commission to objectively study a way forward for the Total Army force structure 

The National Guard is the only constitutionally designated, dual mission, physical Combat Reserve of the Army. In order to fill its Constitutional role, the National Guard by law must be manned, trained, and equipped like that of the Active Component Army.

Compared to the Active Component, a National Guard Armed Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) is one-third the cost during with the same operational performance and capability when mobilized and has, on average, more mature experienced senior and master aviators and maintainers.

Loss of the 1st Attack Recon Battalion, 130 Aviation Regiment (1-130 ARB), located in Raleigh, NC would lead to significant negative economic impacts to the state and local area including over 125 Full-Time Support positions lost (equates to $14,960,913.55 annually), over 450 Traditional Guardsmen assigned to ARB positions (equates to $19,554,317.55 annually), and considerable turmoil, turnover, and additional cost in retraining and transitioning fully trained, qualified, and experienced personnel.

ARB structure provides significant domestic operations (DOMOPS) capability in the form of mission command, mission support, wheeled tactical vehicles, and power generation. The Active Army’s crooked plan includes stripping the entire National Guard Attack Helicopter force structure (entire battalions) but not an equitable Lift helicopter replacement force structure.

Maintaining AH-64 structure in the Guard allows for reversibility as it takes several years to fully train an Apache pilot to peak proficiency, and 4-5 years to build a combat capable AH-64 battalion. Combat aviation in the National Guard hedges against future threats to National Security with National Guard ARBs fulfilling all mobilization requests and performing equally to active component ARBs over the last 13 years. National Guard combat aviation units provide continued service opportunities for trained active component personnel leaving active duty prior to retirement.

The 1-130 ARB has almost 30 years’ experience in AH-64 Apache training, operations, and maintenance, with national level recognition and awards and a proud list of accomplishments with multiple mobilizations and combat deployments including Operation Desert Shield/Storm; Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1-130 ARB is highly trained, experienced, and capable.  Our Soldiers are motivated and fully qualified, our family support systems are sound, and our employers continue to be supportive.

The Solution: Support H.R. 3930, the National Commission on the Structure of the Army Act of 2014  

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