Recent Press Releases

Johnson, Thune Support DoD Reversal on National Guard Budget Cuts

DOD Decision Follows Letter From Senators Opposing Cuts

February 3, 2006

Washington, DC —  Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune today announced their support of the decision by the Department of Defense (DoD) to not cut vital funding from the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Senators Johnson and Thune along with 73 other U.S. Senators sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday voicing their opposition to any proposal to cut the end-strength of the National Guard.

"The men and women of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard are invaluable to America's security and welfare. Any proposal to drastically cut the personnel strength of the National Guard would meet fierce resistance in the Senate," said Thune. "It is important for Congress to cut wasteful spending from the Federal budget, but as we have seen, the contributions made by the National Guard both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and here at home, are critical to preserving the strength and security of America."

"We have come to rely heavily on our National Guard for our national security both at home and abroad. Reducing the personnel strength of the National Guard at this time would be extremely unwise, and I contacted Secretary Rumsfeld to express my concern following initial reports of planned cuts," Johnson said. "Additionally, Senator Thune and I, along with more than seventy of our colleagues, sent a clear message that the Senate would vigorously oppose cuts to our National Guard. I'm pleased the Department of Defense has recognized that opposition and has committed to keeping our National Guard numbers strong."

It had been reported that the Department of Defense was planning to submit, as part of the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Budget, a proposal to Congress cutting the Army National Guard by almost 17,000 personnel, in addition to substantial reductions in the end-strength of the Air National Guard. The letter sent by Senators Johnson, Thune and others to Secretary Rumsfeld made the argument that reductions in personnel strength to the National Guard are not cost-effective, and that the Guard's missions are vital to American security at home and abroad and must not be strained by budgetary cuts.

DoD officials announced late yesterday that there would not be cuts in the end-strength of the National Guard.