The National Guard is loudly complaining today about orders to hand over its fleet of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the Army, saying the move is dramatically impacting readiness.
The plan, which the Army says will save $12 billion through 2017, involves replacing the Army’s OH-58 Kiowas with the National Guard’s Apaches. The Guard is to be given UH-60 Black Hawks to replace them.
National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass complained that the switch is going to require him to retrain pilots and alter the facilities that are housing the Apaches.
The Pentagon has argued that the National Guard doesn’t use the Apaches in the first place, and the Black Hawks are actually meant for search and rescue missions, so they’d be of some conceivable use. Gen. Grass insists the Apaches are needed to be a “combat reserve.”
At the behest of the Guard’s leadership, there is a bill going through the House aiming to block the transfer of the Apaches and creating a commission to study any other proposed changes to the Guard’s arsenal.
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