04/11/13 Wednesday, Senator Joe Donnelly announced that due to the Army’s decision to off-ramp four Indiana National Guard Units, he is here to help. In late March, the Army reversed its decision to immediately off-ramp four Indiana National Guard units, instead delaying this action, which would have significantly impacted more than 1,000 Guard members and their families, cutting off healthcare and employment.
After hearing the Army’s plans to address sequestration cuts by replacing four Indiana National Guard units with active duty units for their deployments to the Horn of Africa and Sinai peninsula, Senator Donnelly sent a letter to the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army asking him to reconsider his decision. In late March, it was announced that the Army will be delaying the off-ramps, giving Guard members and their families additional time on payroll and with health benefits, allowing them the transition time they have earned.
“Indiana National Guard members and their families take many steps and make many sacrifices in order to prepare for their deployment,” Donnelly said. “These men and women have delayed their educations, asked their employers to find replacement workers, and canceled or changed their leases on cars and homes. The Army must make tough decisions when it comes to cutting spending under sequestration, but spending cuts should be done in common sense ways that do not abruptly disrupt the lives of Hoosier warfighters and their families. I’m pleased that the Army has taken this first step and reconsidered the timing of its off-ramping orders after I asked that they reverse this short-fuse decision. My office is here to help all of these families with any assistance they may need.”
In Senator Donnelly’s letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army Raymond Odierno, he wrote that by choosing to send Active Component units instead of Indiana Guard units, it appeared to undermine the commitment the Army made to Indiana soldiers and their families with its October 2012 mobilization order. Further, Senator Donnelly noted that his office had received three different cost-saving estimates from the Army, pointing to the possibility that the Army had not fully considered the impact of this decision.
Senator Donnelly will continue working to address specific concerns of families, such as healthcare, education, and housing. His Indianapolis office can be reached at 317-226-5555 or any of the affected Guard members or their family members can learn about how Senator Donnelly’s office can help with casework here. Read Senator Donnelly’s full letter to Secretary McHugh and Chief of Staff Odierno here.