Military Leaders Discuss Defense Cuts and Record Deployment In D - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Military Leaders Discuss Defense Cuts and Record Deployment In Dover

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DOVER, Del. - Nearly 30 percent of the Delaware National Guard will be deployed around the world, including in Afghanistan. It's the largest deployment in 11 years.

Brigadier General Carol Timmons, of the Air National Guard, says it's a major challenge.

"It's much easier to deploy 10 percent versus 30 percent. Quite a few full timers are going to leave, so do we have an opportunity to bring someone in to backfill them or is there job just going to sit there not being filled until they come back," said Timmons.

Timmons says every 17 months, the Air National Guard is called for a major unit deployment. This deployment just happens to fall within the same time frame as the Army National Guard's deployment.

Another challenge facing the Delaware National Guard, as well as all military, is looming budget cuts. According to Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, proposed cuts to the Department of Defense budget would equal about one billion dollars a week.

Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard, said that is his biggest fear.

"Since 9-11 we've had a fully operational force. Many veterans are well trained and well equipped right now. If we start to lose resourcing, we'll start to erode our readiness and that's my biggest fear," said Vavala.

Senator Chris Coons says it's time for tough decisions.

"One of our real challenges is helping the American people understand that our balance sheet is wildly out of whack. We've got record deficits that we can't continue to sustain. One of the key pieces to solving that is going to mean cutting spending on programs in both non-defense, domestic and overseas. The challenge is to do it in a smart way," said Coons.

Coons says the two biggest drivers of federal spending are entitlement programs - Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security - and national defense.

"Most of us don't want to see us trim spending in either of these two areas. We focused most of our effort in the last two years on cutting everything else. But frankly they're not a big enough part of the budget to make a lasting difference in our deficit," said Coons.

Coons says his hope is that Republicans and Democrats will recognize that the time has come to make those hard decisions, and help make a lasting and positive difference in the countries deficit and national security.

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