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Courtney Welcomes Governor Lamont’s Support of House NDAA’s C-130 Fleet Protections Ahead of NDAA Conference Committee Negotiations

October 29, 2020
Press Release
The House’s NDAA includes Chairman Courtney and Seapower Subcommittee’s language supporting C-130 program

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, welcomed the support of Governor Ned Lamont in the effort to protect the Air National Guard’s C-130 aircraft fleet.

In July, the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a provision authored by Chairman Courtney to prohibit previously proposed retirements of C-130 aircraft and require a minimum of 292 aircraft across the entire Tactical Airlift fleet.  The Trump Administration’s budget proposed reducing the fleet to 255 aircraft, a level that would fall well below national security airlift requirements and threaten states like Connecticut, which hosts an eight-aircraft flying mission at the Air National Guard Base at Bradley Airport.

Last Friday, Governor Lamont joined a bipartisan coalition of thirteen other governors in writing to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees in support of Courtney’s provision.

“As chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I have made investment in our C-130 airlift fleet and our Air National Guard one of my top priorities,” said Chairman Courtney. “The men and women of Connecticut’s Flying Yankees out of Bradley Airport, and our Air National Guard around the country, play a critical role in the support of our states and in defense of our nation. Cutting critical aircraft like the C-130 fleet is a shortsighted proposal that puts our domestic response to natural disasters and other emergencies at serious risk. I’m proud to have the support of Governor Lamont and his colleagues across the nation in sending a powerful signal to the Administration and to the Senate as we continue negotiations on a final NDAA.”

“I thank Congressman Courtney for his enduring support of the men and women of the Connecticut Air National Guard’s 103rd Airlift Wing as they conduct vital operations here in Connecticut and prepare to deploy in support of global operations,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “My fellow governors and I recognize the critical value of C-130 airlift capability in supporting emergency response operations after a disaster, and we applaud Congressman Courtney’s leadership in Congress and on the Armed Services Committee to ensure that states and combatant commanders continue to have the necessary airlift resources.”

In his letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Governor Lamont and his fellow Governors noted that reducing the C-130 fleet would put governor’s ability to adequately and appropriately respond to domestic emergencies and disasters at great risk:

“Governors have articulated numerous times over the years the detrimental impact of reducing our airlift capacity. This reduction would make it difficult - if not impossible - for the Air National Guard to support routine training missions, as well as domestic operations to respond to emergencies and disasters. Furthermore, the C-130 fleet is instrumental in sustaining the training and operations readiness of Army Airborne units in the active Army.

“As the Congress contemplates TAI in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House of Representatives proposes a C-130 TAI of 292. We are supportive of this number, as we believe it would allow the Air National Guard across the country to continue to support the National Defense Strategy (NDS), as well as domestic missions in response to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other emergencies. In fact, the 2018 Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study (MCRS), which was directed by the FY2018 NDAA, indicates 300 as the number of C-130s required to meet combatant commander mobility requirements to support the NDS wartime missions through 2023, let alone domestic operations that are critical to the safety and security of the nation.”

Governor Lamont was joined in sending the letter by Governors Tim Walz (MN), J.B. Pritzker (IL), Gavin Newsom (CA), Mike Parson (MO), Steve Bullock (MT), John Carney (DE), Steve Sisolak (NV), Brian Kemp (GA), Mike DeWine (OH), Gina Raimondo (RI), Greg Abbott (TX), Jim Justice (WV), and Mark Gordon (WY). Click here to read the full letter.