House Military Committee votes to restore C-130s and Air National Guard personnelby jmaloni
Hochul co-sponsors bi-partisan amendment to protect Niagara Falls Air Base
Early Thursday morning, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul joined with Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee to offer an amendment to the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act to prevent cuts to the Air National Guard and protect installations like the 107th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
"Today's amendment is a positive step toward ensuring the strong viability of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. While this is an ongoing process, the bill passed tonight is a significant victory in our effort to protect both the planes and personnel of the 107th Airlift Wing," Hochul said.
"The Niagara Military Affairs Council is encouraged by developments in the House Armed Services Committee, led by Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, who introduced an amendment that would restore many of the proposed cuts in the National Guard put forth by the Air Force. We would like to thank Congresswoman Hochul for her leadership on this matter and we remain hopeful this is a very positive development for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. NIMAC will continue to work with Congresswoman Hochul's office to monitor the situation as events unfold," said Merrell A. Lane, chairman of the Niagara Military Affairs Council.
Hochul's amendment broadens the prohibition on retiring aircraft to include any Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve aircraft, including C-130s, and restores all 5,100 Air National Guard positions. The amendment passed by voice vote.
Earlier this year, the Department of Defense announced a proposal to eliminate 3 C-130s and cut more than 800 positions from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. These cuts represent nearly 16 percent of the total reductions nationwide. In recent months, Hochul has led the fight in the House to push back on these severe cuts. She has met regularly with senior military leadership, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and has worked closely with the Western New York Congressional delegation to ensure the 107th Air Wing maintains a strong presence at NFARS.
NFARS is compromised of the 914th and 107th Airlift wings, and is one of only two associate wings between the Air Reserve and Air National Guard in the U.S. In 2011, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station conducted more than 1,500 missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as providing critical air ambulance and other life-saving services in response to Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. As the sole military installation in Western New York and the largest employer in Niagara County, the base supports 3,500 employees and has an annual direct economic impact of $168 million.
The NDAA is annual legislation that authorizes funding for the nation's military.