Skip to comments.Selfridge Air National Guard council blasts Carl Levin on base cuts
Posted on 03/13/2012 3:03:48 AM PDT by equaviator
In a scathing letter from the Selfridge Base Council, the civilians who assist the Air National Guard Base blasted U.S. Sen. Carl Levin for failing to take a firm stand against Pentagon cuts planned for the facility.
The letter from the 10-member council questions Levins allegiances and claims that the senators staff has snubbed them. The Base Council also warns that the plans to eliminate the 24-plane 107th Fighter Squadron would inevitably lead to the closure of the 3,600-acre Harrison Township base.
Your office has led us to believe that you support the presidents budget
and we are not satisfied that you recently floated a public statement that suggests you have skepticism of the Pentagons methodology in devising the budget cuts, said the letter, which was dated May 8 and publicly released on Monday.
This smacks of wanting to have it both ways. It also has the markings of a classic delaying tactic.
Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has scheduled a March 20 committee hearing to question top Air Force brass about the proposal to eliminate the 24 A-10 Thunderbolts at Selfridge and add four KC-135 aerial refueling tanker planes.
That would mean a one-third reduction of military personnel at Selfridge, chopping 561 of the 1,586 jobs at the base, according to Michigan National Guard officials.
The misguided policy of this administration would thank the members of our fighter squadron who have recently returned from combat missions in Afghanistan with termination notices. That would be utterly unconscionable, wrote the Base Council, which includes prominent business leaders in the surrounding community.
The council includes banker Neil Dempsey; longtime Mount Clemens Public Library director Don Worrell; Timothy Pierson, a home builder; and Frank Forner, owner of a door company. They say the senators staff demurred when they asked to meet with Levin.
President Barack Obama's proposed Defense Department budget would reduce the Air Force by 3,900 active duty, 5,100 Air National Guard and 900 Air Force Reserve personnel to a staffing level of 501,000.
Overall, the Pentagon must cut nearly $500 billion over 10 years due to a congressional budget-cutting agreement that followed the 2011 failure of a House-Senate supercommittee to make $1 trillion in reductions throughout the entire federal budget.
In a statement last week, Levin, a strong ally of the president, said his committee wants to know the methodology and justification for the reductions. But those words have not satisfied some Michigan lawmakers or the Base Council.
We remind you that during your tenure in the Senate, all of Michigans other freestanding air bases (Kincheloe, Wurtsmith, and K. I. Sawyer) have been closed such that Selfridge is the only one left, the letter said.
We have had to fight long and hard to keep Selfridge open in the last few rounds of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission). If the 107th Fighter Squadron is eliminated, there can be little doubt that the base itself would soon be closed with a multitude of disastrous consequences rippling across the landscape.
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican, has served as a leading critic of Levins approach to the proposed Selfridge cutbacks. On Monday, she released a letter from the entire Michigan House delegation, sent to Levins committee and the House Armed Services Committee, that urges a rejection of the Air Force budget plan.
It is no secret that the nations fiscal situation is dire; cost efficiencies must be found and waste and duplication must be reduced in every department and program across the Department of Defense, the lawmakers wrote. We are under no illusion that tough choices will have to be made; however, we find it troubling that the Air National Guard which currently represents 35 percent of our air capability while using only 6 percent of the budget is being asked to absorb 59 percent of the total aircraft cuts in the effort to reduce costs.
The letter added: If the proposed budget is truly about saving tax-payer dollars, it seems incomprehensible that the overwhelming majority of airpower reductions should come from the Air National Guard when they are more cost effective than their active duty counterparts.
At a minimum, we believe that a delay in any decision be made until the studies currently underway are completed to fully understand the delicate balance between cost savings and the preservation of combat capabilities.
In a rare move, Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, commander of the Michigan National Guard, has blasted the Air Force cuts, questioning the rationale of the plan in much the same way the House delegation has.
In addition to the Base Council, Leadership Macomb, a non-profit group that serves as a community booster, is also trying to make noise about the possible loss of the A-10s.
Karen Smith, director of Leadership Macomb, is urging government, business and education leaders to lobby Congress as part of a Save Selfridge campaign.
In calling for a letter-writing effort, Smith wrote this in an email to local Selfridge supporters:
Congress has already called for a business case analysis of missions in the active Air Force (versus) the Air National Guard. We are simply asking Congress to insist the USAF provide these required reports before making uneducated decisions
Across the nation, the Air Force budget reductions have crashed into a hefty, bipartisan effort to block the plan that includes 49 governors and all of the state Adjutant Generals who command their respective National Guard troops.
I doubt that Senator Levin even knew the base existed.
He sure knew that Kincheloe, K.I. Sawyer and Wurtsmith AFB’s existed and now he’s looking to add a couple more to his ‘portfolio’.
It was already at near historic lows even before Obama's devastation. Even this chart does not show how bad that the situation is, because the FY2009 figure shows the last President's Budget under GW Bush.
Just as Labor Statistics have been fudged for political deception, so has Defense Spending. The real figure under Obama is below 3% of GDP spending on Defense, and that does not even take into account his planned cuts to defense under the deal with the Satan "Budget Deficit Deal" from last year. If that is taken into account, Defense Spending by GDP approaches 2%!!!
So, where is all the money going?
You all know the answer:
3. Welfare (Food stamps, Section 8 housing, AFDC, cash payments, unemployment checks, and more (69 welfare programs and counting)
4. Interest on the debt
Everything else beyond that is a small slice.
When I read articles like this, I want to scream: "Ticked about the loss of jobs? Look at your own entitlement checks."
We have 50% of the population taking a Government check.
Oh, and now Obama wants to give $3,000 a year for contraceptives to women who can't keep their knees together, but he is raising TRICARE fees for our veterans by up to 345%.
You know what America? Most of you out there are brain dead sinners who wouldn't know morality if it hit you on the head.
If there was to be a poster child for repealing the 17th amendment, komrade karl is it.. how is he even remotely representing his state in this matter?
Levin has insulted the intelligence of every thinking person in the great state of Michigan for decades. It’s time for us to tell him who’s boss.
A-10s? Bah! Who needs ‘em? Now, Civil Air Patrol’s large fleet of Cessna 172/182s is another matter... those babies are VITAL for the nation’s defense.
Seems to me that it would be a lot more cost effective to draw down troops in South Korea. SK isn’t exactly defenseless and we can still keep vital troops there.
Michigan needs its military air power. I want to hear Senator Levin try to explain why he’s so sure that the world has changed so much.
He can’t really believe that it has but if he does, we can’t afford to have a chump like him representing us.
If he doesn’t really believe it and is still in the tank for Obama’s agenda, then I think it’s appropriate to question his loyalty to this state.
Personally, I think it’s the latter. He’s been itching for Selfridge to close for 20 years and he’s still at it. He wouldn’t know the sound of freedom if it flew over his house.
Michigan is a border state and despite the fact that Canada is a friend that we’re happy to have, we can’t realistically expect them to hold off a real attack across the north pole. In fact, I know plenty Canadians who appreciate American military bases near the border due to the increased security they provide.
As far as I’m concerned, we should have long rage bombers based in the UP.
“...we should have long rage bombers based in the UP.”
The B-1 Lancer or the “Bone” if not the B-52...or both!
Being so close to the water makes the UP a good location for such a base.
Training missions over the water wouldn’t be a new thing, either. Selfridge already has tankers but a bomber base that far north would probably need to have some of that capability in residence and at the ready.
I think what we’re talking about here would have to be a bona fide USAF base and not just the MI ANG but it flies in the face of Obama’s agenda for “peace in our time”.
I don’t for a second believe that the world has changed all that much. It just looks different than it did 25 years ago.