Congressman Tim Bishop - December 2, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, U.S. Representatives Timothy Bishop (D-NY) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) convened the inaugural meeting of the New York Defense Working Group, welcoming guest speaker Major General Patrick A. Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York and commander of the New York Army and Air National Guard.
Maj. Gen. Murphy updated members of the Working Group on the component units of New York's National Guard force and their diverse array of missions. He highlighted the upcoming deployment of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Syracuse, to Kuwait on a force protection mission and the ongoing work of the 109th Airlift Wing to supply the National Science Foundation's South Pole Station in Antarctica.
Maj. Gen. Murphy also discussed the likelihood of upcoming cuts to the Department of Defense budget, which could total more than $1 trillion over the next ten years. In response to a question from Bishop, he advised members to support ongoing maintenance and upgrades of facilities and support the transfer of weapons and equipment from the Army and Air Force as strategies to protect New York's military assets from the fallout of severe budget cuts.
As a result of looming reductions in spending, the defense community is expecting new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) processes as early as 2015. In response, Bishop and Hanna formed the bipartisan New York Defense Working Group last month to promote and protect military facilities and assets throughout New York state, including the 106th Air Rescue Wing based at Westhampton Air Base in Congressman Bishop's Congressional District.
“We need to work together as a delegation to ensure that New York’s military assets are not unduly and negatively impacted,” said Congressman Hanna, whose district includes several entities in Rome, N.Y. at the former Griffiss Air Force Base. “I’m working to ensure the operations in Rome and elsewhere in New York are not only preserved but bolstered and strengthened. Today’s meeting was just the beginning of a long-term, proactive effort.”
“General Murphy gave a compelling presentation on the value of the New York National Guard and Air National Guard both to America’s defense readiness and our local communities,” said Congressman Bishop. “As a result, the New York Defense Working Group is now better prepared to dig in and fight on behalf of New York’s military installations and the brave men and women who serve our state and nation.”
The National Guard is a sizable presence in New York State, incorporating 16,000 members of the New York Army and Air National Guard and almost 3,500 members of the New York Naval Militia and New York Guard, a state volunteer force. The Guard's local economic impact is also substantial: 880 members of the Army and Air Force National Guard live in Suffolk County, and the Westhampton Base is among the largest employers on the East End, employing nearly 1,275 people and contributing an estimated $100 million of economic activity annually.
Bishop said the Working Group's first meeting showed that New York's Congressional Delegation is committed to defending the value of the state's defense assets. Bishop he would continue his partnership with the Friends of the 106th Air Rescue Wing and other local groups that share his goal of preserving and enhancing the Air National Guard presence at Westhampton.
Bishop said he expects the New York Defense Working Group to hold its next meeting when Congress reconvenes in the New Year.
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The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.