DOD Budget Proposal Could Change Mission of Connecticut's 103rd Airlift Wing

Mar 5, 2012

Governor Dannel Malloy and other governors signed a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta voicing their concern with the DOD's proposed budget, specifically disproportionate cuts facing Air National Guard units. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports on how the budget will impact Connecticut's force.

Major General Thad Martin of the Connecticut National Guard anticipates there will be no reduction of the 1144 Guardsmen and women who serve with Bradley's 103rd Airlift Wing.  The Defense Department releases firm numbers on Tuesday.

But the DOD's budget proposal for 2013 through 2017 does call for eliminating C-27 Spartan cargo planes from Air National Guards units.

General Martin says the 103rd Airlift wing had hoped to replace older planes - called C-21s - with the newer C-27 Spartans.  Under the DOD plan, Martin says their mission will change.

“What ends up happening to us is we convert our C-21s not to C-27s but to an MC-12 mission. Which esentially means we go from an airlift mission to an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission.”

General Martin adds, the Connecticut Air National Guard would be better served if the DOD allowed the new planes instead of the MC-12 aircraft.

“Because the C-27 aircraft are brand new aircraft, it’s an airlift mission. And from a future standpoint, I’d like to move on from this position knowing that the Connecticut Air Guard is in a mission that could last for another 35 to 40 years.”

Meanwhile, Army National Guard units across the country won't see drastic cuts to personnel which means the Connecticut Army National Guard will hold onto its 3575 members.

However General Martin says the designations of some units will need to change to accommodate that number.