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Reservists a bargain

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Letter to the Editor
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 8:58 p.m.

Last month, the Reserve Forces Policy Board issued a report to the secretary of Defense on the cost of military personnel. It's the first official report from a Defense entity that makes it clear that the cost of a National Guard/Reserve member is much less than that of an active-component member.

The report shows that in fiscal year 2013, the annual cost to the federal government for a reserve-component member is $123,351, while the cost of an active-component member is $384,622.

I highlight this because as part of the president's 2013 Defense budget, the Air Force proposes to reduce the size and capability of its most efficient and cost-effective forces — the reserve component. More specifically, it plans to close the Air Force Reserve's 911th Airlift Wing based in Pittsburgh this year.

Gov. Corbett and I support a 2013 budget that honors national security yet promotes fiscal responsibility. But based on the Defense Department's own report, it would make the most sense to take a small cut in the active component in order to maintain or expand Defense capabilities by shifting forces to the reserve component. It's a 3-to-1 cost savings that the Air Force must seriously consider.

Maj. Gen. Wesley

E. Craig

Fort Indiantown Gap

The writer is the adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

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