Commission Proposes Army National Guard Retain Apaches
Under an Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI) issued in October of 2013, the Army National Guard has been strongly advised by the U.S. Army to retain some AH-64 Apache attack helicopters as opposed to relinquishing it back to the Army. This initiative is designed to reduce the annual procurement by the Guard for the UH-60s helicopters up to ten and requiring only two UH-60 Black Hawk battalions as opposed to the traditional four. The commission is tasked with analyzing and assessing the size and mixtures of forces needed to maintain an active Army National Guard aircraft arsenal.
A Commission with four appointed members by President Obama and four members appointed by Congress met in April to release a report on the Future of the Army a year after the Fiscal Year 2015 defense authorization act. The Commission’s report is expected to play a major role in determining the upcoming budget crises with the House of Armed Services Committee on tactical air and land forces meeting on February 10th to discuss things in a more in depth manner reports Breaking Defense. The Commission was specifically tasked to evaluate the Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI) proposal by the Army but is being met with heavy resistance by the Army National Guard who is exclusively controlled by the states. In response to the initiative, the National Guard Bureau came up with an alternate plan that enables the Guard to retain at least some of the Apaches.
The Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI) while effective at reducing costs does not enable the Army National Guard to have war-time surge capabilities. Overall the Commission’s plan would effectively increase the cost to remanufacturer Apaches AH-64D models into E models with an estimated cost of $420 million dollars on top of the operating costs which would easily exceed estimates of $165 million dollars. The Commission plans to offset these costs through a reduction in the annual procurement of the Black Hawks. Independent think tanks have found that the Commission’s determination is wrought with deficiencies and ultimately cost-prohibitive to serve its own agenda for “One Army.”
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