Pa. Adjutant General concerned about DOD cuts - abc27 WHTM

Pa. Adjutant General concerned about DOD cuts

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The Department of the Defense in considering major budget cuts as the war in Afghanistan comes to a close, but the head of the Pennsylvania National Guard says reducing his force would be huge mistake.

It's estimated the National Guard operates at just a third of the cost of the active Army -- and that's a big bargain, according to Major General Wesley Craig

"You name it, we've done it for the nation," he said.

Craig sat down with abc27 News Monday, saying he is concerned about major cuts planned at the Pentagon over the next eight years, and how that could affect what he describes as an incredibly cost-efficient force of citizen soldiers in Pennsylvania.

"We cost about 30 percent of the active component soldiers, because we don't train all the time and we don't have anywhere near the support mechanisms that they have," he said.

For the last week, he's been in Washington, DC meeting with the Pennsylvania delegation, urging them to end Sequestration and pass a defense spending bill before it's too late.

"It's really easy to discharge soldiers from service, but it's hard to re-grow the force when we need it," he said.

Craig acknowledges in this post-war time, the military must shrink, but he's arguing that should happen at the active duty level. In fact, he says the reserve component should actually be growing.

"In the National Guard, we are available at the Governor's call -- anytime he needs us," he said. "If we are reduced in force and there's a storm, a blizzard, a hurricane or a disaster somewhere -- we're not going to be there as quickly as we are now."

Any decision about military spending has to go through Congress, but right now the chief of the army is recommending across-the-board cuts to both active and reserve components. Craig disagrees with this approach, and will be in Washington for the rest of the week to present his plan to military leaders.


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