Griffin Supports Effort to Save Fort Smith’s 188th Fighter Wing

LITTLE ROCK – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, issued the following statement after joining the rest of the Arkansas delegation and House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes (VA-04) in holding a “Defending our Defenders Listening Session” in Fort Smith in support of the 188th Fighter Wing:

“The 188th Fighter Wing—which employs nearly 1,000 Arkansans in both full- and part-time capacities—is a critical part of the Fort Smith region.  Removing the A-10s from Fort Smith is simply not an efficient use of taxpayer money, and that’s why I fought in committee for a measure requiring the Obama Administration to produce a thorough economic analysis of its proposal to remove the A-10s.  I’m glad my amendment was successfully included in this year’s NDAA, and I was honored to join Chairman Forbes and the rest of my Arkansas colleagues in speaking at this important community forum.”

The Obama Administration proposed cutting the Air Guard’s budget by $400 million, eliminating about 2,900 personnel and removing the A-10 mission from the 188th Fighter Wing.

In April, all six members of the Arkansas delegation signed a joint letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting details about the Administration’s proposal to replace the 188th’s A-10 mission with one that would operate drones.

In the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2013 (H.R. 4310) that the House passed in May, Griffin successfully advocated for an amendment to prevent the transfer of the Air National Guard’s A-10 aircraft away from Fort Smith until an economic analysis is produced for Congress. 

Griffin also supported an amendment in the Armed Services Committee that would prohibit an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round from being proposed, planned for or executed during FY 2013.

In July, Griffin spoke in a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Air Force reductions in support of maintaining the 188th’s A-10 mission at Fort Smith. Video of that hearing can be viewed here.