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Murphy Sees Hope for 911th in National Guard Negotiations

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) is hoping that a system-wide restoration of funds originally cut from the Air National Guard budget could open the door for the 911th Airlift Wing to be saved. According to Murphy, the Air Force is restoring about $400 million to the Air National Guard because it made cuts without input from various governors.

Murphy said because some governors were able to successfully plead their case, the Air Force might be open to more talks.

"By getting the Air Force to sit down and review the numbers, they can come up with a different decision," said Murphy. "So we see this as a positive that the Air Force can have some flexibility to change their mind when they see data. But more importantly, it is an acknowledgement of the Pentagon that they may have some flaws in their initial recommendations."

The Air Force is planning to shut down the 911th Airlift Wing by September of next year as part of a proposal to trim overall costs by $8.7 billion. As part of those cuts operations at other bases will be decreased, but the 911th is the only base set to close.

Murphy said, when the Air Force made its decision to close the base, it did no cost comparison with other bases.

"What the Air Force did is they simply tried to do whatever is the quickest solution to cut funding and cut spending without a thorough analysis of, 'Did this make sense in the long run?'" Murphy said.

He said the base is costing the Air Force less money than other facilities because it is staffed by Reservists and is charged very little by Allegheny County for use of its security and fire safety staff, and control tower.

Murphy said he is currently working with the House Armed Services Committee Chairman and its Ranking Member to send a petition to the Air Force demanding a cost comparison.