WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) sent a letter to Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ranking Member Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), urging them to prohibit the transfer of more than 24 AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard in Raleigh, North Carolina, to the Regular Army.
Movement of the AH-64 Apache helicopter unit from the Army Guard in Raleigh to the Regular Army would cost more than 400 North Carolina jobs, while undermining the combat prowess of the Army Guard and weakening the United States’ first line of defense.
Dear Chairman Cochran and Senator Durbin:
I respectfully request that you include language in the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 that would prohibit the Regular Army from transferring more than 48 AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard to the Regular Army during FY 2016.
The FY 2015 NDAA and FY 2015 Appropriations Act prohibited transfers of the Apaches during FY 2015, but authorized an exception for transferring up to 48 Apaches to the Regular Army between October 2015 and March 31, 2016. I respectfully request a change of date from March 31, 2016 to September 30, 2016 to freeze additional Apache helicopter transfers and any preparations for such transfers.
Both FY 2015 Acts established the National Commission on the Future of the Army (the Commission) with duties to comprehensively study the structure of the Army and to report to Congress on its findings in February 2016. Freezing further transfers of the Apaches through FY 16 will comply with the intent of Congress to avoid irreversible cuts in the combat mission of the Army National Guard before the Commission has an opportunity to report to Congress. The combat prowess of the Army Guard is indisputable and I would also note that the first attack aviation units to reach Afghanistan after the attacks in 2001 were Apaches from the North Carolina National Guard.
I recognize the challenges you face in the current fiscal climate and I thank you for you kind consideration of this priority for Army National Guard.