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NGAUS head criticizes Army's Apache battalion cuts

The National Guard Association of the United States
January 10. 2018 11:40PM

WASHINGTON — Retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association of the United States, is criticizing the Army’s recent decision to reduce from six to four the number of AH-64 Apache attack-helicopter battalions.

“The recent announcement that the Army will retain four AH-64 Apache attack-helicopter battalions of 18 aircraft each in the Army National Guard follows to the letter the recommendation of the National Commission on the Future of Army,” Robinson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that recommendation was made two years ago — in a very different environment.”

The remaining battalions will be in North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah, with a battalion split between Texas and Mississippi.

“Today’s quickly emerging threats make readiness paramount, and 18 aircraft are six fewer than an Apache battalion needs to deploy,” Robinson said. “This means Guard Apache battalions will never have enough aircraft to train the way they are supposed to fight. And each would have to borrow six aircraft to go to war.

“In addition, as the House of Representatives noted in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the active-component Army has a serious Apache pilot shortage that wasn’t foreseen two years ago. The Guard currently has six Apache battalions. The decision to keep just four effectively cuts two battalions of Apache pilots when the Army and the nation urgently need them.”

Robinson called the decision largely “dollar-driven.”

“NGAUS stands ready to work with Army leaders and Congress to find the money to build the attack-helicopter force the Army and the nation need in an increasingly troubled world,” Robinson said.

NGAUS was created in 1878 to provide unified Guard representation in Washington. It has nearly 45,000 members nationwide.


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