WICD - Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

National Guard Facing Reductions

The National Guard is indispensable during natural
disasters; from sandbagging during floods to cleaning up after tornadoes and
hurricanes, and of course deploying overseas when the need arises.

"It was early January, a Sunday around 11:30 I got a
call from the governor's office saying there was 400 motorists stranded on I-57
between Effingham and Mattoon . Within about a half hour we figured out how to
solve the problem and it took about two and a half hours," Brigadier
General Richard Hayes said.

Despite their value to individual states, the Army National Guard
is facing a major reduction in numbers. In a statement to ABC NewsChannel 20, Governor Pat Quinn said, "Illinois
would lose much of
its ability to meet its federal responsibilities and more importantly,
our ability to respond to calls to duty within the states borders. The
National Guard has demonstrated it is a highly capable, cost-effective
force that is critical to our national security and an essential state
partner in responding to domestic
disasters and emergencies."

Local guard officials say more than a thousand positions
could be cut in Illinois as part of a plan by the defense department to reduce
spending. A group of governors, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, is
urging President Barack Obama and Congress to re-evaluate reductions.

An exact plan for reducing defense spending is still up in
the air. Right now the Illinois National Guard could lose 800 part time and 150
full time positions in fiscal year 2015, but choosing to cut spending by reducing
national guard soldiers doesn't seem to add up for local officers.

"National Guard operates at about a third of the cost in
relation to our active component. For wartime function that cost-benefit also
comes back to the states to have that capability available to our governors and
we're really bargain as you look at that will completely interchangeable with
the Army," Hays said.

Cuts in defense spending mean the military will need to
downsize. Hayes says fluctuations in numbers for active military branches are
natural, but guard numbers have generally stayed consistent. These cuts would
put the guard at the lowest numbers since before WWII.