ANNUAL ADDRESS: Guard Dodges Bullet
The leader of the Iowa National Guard told state lawmakers first fears won’t be nearly as bad for the 132nd Fighter Wing based in Des Moines. The military eliminated one of the main missions of the unit when it decided to discontinue the F-16 fighter jets. But Major General Timothy Orr, the guard’s Adjutant General, told lawmakers in the annual condition of the guard address Thursday, that almost all of the jobs of the nearly 1,000 men and women in the unit will remain. Orr said just 32 positions will leave and those will come from retirements, attrition and transfers. Orr commended Governor Terry Branstad, who along with Iowa’s congressional delegation, fought to preserve the unit. Orr said, “We were successful at minimizing the proposed mission and personnel cuts to the 132nd.
Orr said the existing force will change focus to drone missions, intelligence and cyber security. But Orr warned lawmakers to remember the possibility of future budgetary cuts from Washington, D.C. as leaders worry about the massive nearly $16.5 trillion national debt. Orr said, “Budget constraints and shifting priorities will impact how we operate, how we are organized and what we are asked to do in the years ahead. But despite these changes, the Iowa National Guard will remain mission-focused and warrior ready.”