COCHRAN, WICKER TOUT MISS. NATIONAL GUARD AS ARMY COMMISSION MEETS AT CAMP SHELBY

Force Structure Commission Field Hearing on Future of U.S. Army, National Guard

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today welcomed the National Commission on the Future of the Army to Mississippi by promoting the state’s Army National Guard.

The Mississippi Senators, in Washington on Senate business, offered support for the state’s National Guard as the commission conducts a field hearing at Camp Shelby. The commission is an independent, congressionally mandated panel directed to assess President Obama’s recommendations for restructuring the Army’s active-duty and reserve component force structures. The commission hearing coincides with a massive annual field training exercise at Camp Shelby, which this year involves active duty, reserve and National Guard units.

“Mississippi welcomes the commission to see firsthand that Mississippi’s National Guard units, including the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, are some of the most modernized and well-trained units across the entire National Guard. We’re proud of our Guard, this base and its long history of helping to ensure that our servicemen and women are well trained and prepared to meet new and evolving threats to our national security,” Cochran said.

“Our state’s National Guard units are counted among the best in the nation,” Wicker said. “In times of crises or prolonged conflict, there is no substitute for the Guard’s high-quality training or the caliber of character displayed by our citizen soldiers. In an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world, it is vital that we maintain the National Guard’s role as a ready, capable, and on-demand combat force for our combatant commanders.”

Cochran is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense. Wicker is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Cochran and Wicker, along with other congressional and state leaders, have registered their opposition to any Army National Guard reduction-in-force plan that targets the Tupelo-based 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, which is one of two armored brigade combat teams that have been identified for divestment.

The independent commission, created in the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act, is conducting field hearings as part of its mission to studying restructuring the Army and its guard and reserve components to meet future needs and declining budgets. Under the current Army total force reduction, the Army National Guard is expected to draw down its level of soldiers from 355,000 in 2015 to 335,000 by 2017. Those personnel levels could drop to an estimated 315,000 if sequestration funding levels are upheld.

Joint Press Release
8/4/15