Congressman: Army restructuring plan would ‘weaken’ Louisiana National Guard

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) is trying to help the Louisiana National Guard by requesting a time extension on Tuesday for Congress to review and discuss the Army’s Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI).

“The goal of the ARI is to save money, but the Army’s own cost evaluations predict there will be no money saved by transferring Apaches (helicopters) from the National Guard to the Army,” Boustany said. “This initiative would not only weaken our National Guard by taking away its operational firepower, but it will greatly diminish Louisiana’s capability to address our own disaster-response needs. Congress needs more time to review the ARI before the Army begins to transfer these critical assets.”

Boustany sent a letter asking for the extension to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. The full text of that letter can be found online at http://boustany.house.gov/114th-congress/boustany-stands-up-for-louisiana-national-guard.

The ARI would do away with the National Guard’s attack-helicopter capabilities across the country. This would be achieved by transferring the AH-64 Apaches the National Guard now uses to the active-duty Army.

Should this occur, the Louisiana National Guard would lose four to six UH-60 Blackhawk and LUH-72 Lakota utility helicopters.

That loss, Boustany fears, would interfere with the Louisiana National Guard’s capacity to conduct search-and-rescue and other critical missions.