Governor Steve Bullock today called out the Trump Administration for turning its back on citizen Airmen by failing to support the modernization and safety improvements of the Montana National Guard C-130 fleet, following the administration’s announcement that $196 million that had been appropriated for Air National Guard C-130J will now be used for the border wall, instead.
“As Commander in Chief of the Montana National Guard, the decision to send our Soldiers and Airmen anywhere – to the front lines or a forest fire – is one of the most difficult decisions I make. It’s unacceptable to me, or to any Montanan, that we are doing so with outdated aircraft,” said Governor Bullock.
“It couldn’t be clearer that the President is choosing to fund his border wall over keeping our citizen soldiers and Airmen safe. By that matter, he’s choosing a vanity project over honoring those who defend our freedom and liberty and keep our communities safe. I won’t stand idly by until Montana’s National Guard members are given what they are owed,” continued Governor Bullock.
Montana Air National Guard members are currently operating a C-130H fleet from 1974 that utilizes technology no longer used by the airlines and equipment the Active Duty Air Force no longer uses.
Congress appropriated $3.8 billion, including $196 million for Air National Guard C-130J aircraft. That funding would have supported efforts to update Montana’s C-130H fleet to the modern C-130Js. The Trump Administration is reprogramming these dollars for construction of the southern border wall.
Governor Bullock also sent a letter asking Senator Daines and Congressman Gianforte to join in requesting for an end to the reprogramming. The letter is attached.
The National Governors Association today expressed opposition to the reprogramming. The full statement can be found at this link. The Adjutants General Association of the United States, including General Quinn of Montana, expressed how reprogramming impacts the National Guard budget. The letter can be found at this link.