ST THOMAS, USVI -- In a letter addressed to the president of the United States, US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh and 49 other governors of states, territories and commonwealths expressed their strong opposition to "the potential cuts to the Army National Guard advocated by the US Army's fiscal 2015 budget request. For more than a decade, our National Guard has demonstrated it is a cost-effective operational force that is critical to our national security at home and abroad."
US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh
The letter was sent by the National Governors Association on February 28.
The letter stated, "Governors are extremely proud of the role that the National Guard plays in protecting this nation and its citizens. The modern National Guard is a highly experienced and capable combat force and an essential state partner in responding to domestic disasters and emergencies."
The governors stated that they understood the necessity of reorganizing, restructuring and modernizing the military to meet "new threats and economic realities." However, they felt that the cuts suggested a strategic strength similar to the period prior to 9/11, which would squander "the investment and value of the Guard and discredits its accomplishments at home and as an active combat force."
The governors reminded the president that they had mounted similar opposition to cuts planned for the Air National Guard two years ago. Congress chose not to implement those cuts, but instead established a National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force that recently concluded, according to the letter, "that the Guard is a cost-effective and invaluable force that should be a critical component of the total force structure."
In their appeal to the president, the governors suggested a similar review of the Army National Guard's "future force structure and active and reserve component mix."
In conclusion, the 50 governors stated, "We respectfully request that you reconsider proposed cuts to the Army National Guard and changes to the Guard's combat aviation capabilities and that you work with us to fashion solutions that provide a scalable, cost-effective force that best serves the interests of our nation."
The letter was signed by the governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.