Minnesota has a proud tradition of being at the forefront of helping to defend our national security. Elements of the Minnesota National Guard led the Allied invasion forces in North Africa and Italy during World War II, they dutifully protected our northern border during the Cold War, and they have been called upon time and again in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide warfighting support, medical evacuation, and transportation. Sen. Smith will carry this spirit of leadership and fight for principled national security policies that prudently employ our investments in personnel, technology, and partnerships with our allies for the benefits of our nation.
The U.S. military is the best in the world. However, as the recently released National Defense Review highlighted, the number of threats to our national security is growing. Terrorism, great power competition, and nuclear proliferation will not be easy national security challenges but the way forward is clear. We must continue to invest in personnel, technology, and the partnerships that have been so successful at ensuring our security.
It is also important to recognize that our national security is best served when the military is not our only tool. We must also make effective use of diplomacy and development. Diplomacy is essential if we are going to solve tough security challenges from the Middle East to China and North Korea – without dangerous military conflict. And fostering development is not only good for the communities where it happens – it is good for the U.S. because it promotes stability and prosperity and fosters alliances.
U.S. Senator Tina Smith Leads Bipartisan Push to Protect Minnesota Air National Guard Aircraft from Elimination
WASHINGTON, D.C. [11/12/20]—This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) led a bipartisan Senate coalition advocating for a large enough C-130 aircraft fleet in Minnesota and across the country to support active duty missions as well as respond to disasters and emergencies at home. After news that the Air Force was considering reductions in the size of the C-130 fleet, last month Sen. Smith and the Minnesota Congressional delegation called on the Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, to maintain the size of the C-130 fleet while making the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. The 133rd Airlift Wing, stationed at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, serves the entire state and any potential reductions could affect critical C-130 missions, including supporting humanitarian and disaster relief and assisting in the coronavirus (COVID-19) response. And now, Sen. Smith—along with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (D-Mont.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.)—is urging Armed Services Committee conferees to make sure the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill adopts House language so that the nation maintains an adequate inventory of C-130 aircraft. “Our Air National Guard C-130 flying wings provide nearly half of the Air Force’s tactical airlift capability. For more than 50 years, we have brought Americans
Minnesota Congressional Delegation Urges Air Force to Maintain the C-130 Fleet that is Critical to the Minnesota Air National Guard
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Representatives Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Angie Craig (MN-02), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Collin Peterson (MN-07), and Pete Stauber (MN-08) sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, urging the Administration to maintain the size of the C-130 fleet while making the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. As the 133rd Airlift Wing, stationed at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and serving the entire state including the Duluth Air National Guard Base, could be affected by the potential reductions, the delegation is coming together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that the Minnesota Air National Guard will be able to continue its critical C-130 mission, including supporting humanitarian and disaster relief missions, such as assisting in the coronavirus (COVID-19) response. “We are concerned that the Air Force is considering reductions in the size of the fleet in ways that could impact readiness and mission capability—particularly for the Air National Guard. For Fiscal Year 2021, the Air Force proposed to reduce the fleet from 300 to 287, with the reduction of 13 aircraft all coming from the Air National Guard. Furthermore, it is our understanding that the Air Force, using a future Mobility Capabilities Requirement Study, is planning to reduce the C-130 fleet to 255 aircraft,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are also concerned that the current criteria for making decisions regarding recapitalization could have a disproportionately negative impact for high performing units