House lawmakers protest transfer of Guard's C-130s

A bipartisan group of 23 House lawmakers is urging the Air Force to withdraw its proposal to move 21 C-130 cargo planes from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to active-duty units until officials can provide "conclusive proof that this is the best course of action."

In a letter Friday to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, the lawmakers demanded the short- and long-term goals the Air Force hopes to achieve by taking the aircraft from reserve units, information on the involvement of the Air Guard in the decision-making process and any alternate proposals service officials considered.

"The transfer of these planes to active duty ... will severely inhibit the ability of the National Guard and Reserve to effectively continue their mission during this time," they wrote.

According to March 1 briefing charts the Air Force sent to Capitol Hill, service officials "realigned C-130 force structure ... to maximize limited funding and meet the long-term warfighter needs."

But lawmakers see the move as another in a series of attempts, starting with the 2005 base realignment and closure round, to deplete the Air Guard of planes needed for stateside missions.

In a March 24 letter to Donley, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., co-chairmen of the Senate National Guard Caucus, wrote that they were "seriously troubled" about the plan.

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