Sat, Aug 27, 2005
A Federal Judge handed
down a decision Friday that the Defense Department has no authority
to eliminate a Pennsylvania Air National Guard fighter wing without
the state governor's okay.
U.S. District Judge John Padova called DoD's recommendation to
deactivate the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 111th Fighter Wing
"null and void" because Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell had not
consented with the decision, a Department of Justice official
Today's decision came as the Defense Base Realignment and
Closure Commission voted today to close Naval Air Station Joint
Reserve Base Willow Grove, Pa., the 111th Fighter Wing's home.
The BRAC commission's decision on the suburban Philadelphia base
was among many expected later today as the commission deliberates
on sweeping recommendations to revamp the Air National Guard.
The panel was slated to continue its deliberations late
News reports said the
state of Illinois has filed a lawsuit similar to Pennsylvania's
involving its Air National Guard and Missouri has threatened to do
the same. During a mid-July interview with the American Forces
Press Service, Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National
Guard Bureau, acknowledged that the Defense Department's
recommendations could have a big impact on the Air Guard.
But the proposed changes are important measures that will
increase the Air Guard's contribution to the Air Force and U.S.
military, Blum said. "We want (the Air National Guard) to be an
organization that has modern capabilities and a vital essential
part of the Air Force."
"Overall, BRAC equals transformation," Air Force Chief Master
Sgt. Richard Smith, Air National Guard command chief master
sergeant, said when the BRAC proposals were initially announced in
May. "The Air National Guard is always changing. Change has been
done for generations before, and now it's our turn."
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