COUNCIL BLUFFS — This week's decision by the Air Force to cut hundreds of positions at the Des Moines-based Air National Guard unit could not have been more misguided, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin said Thursday.
"The Pentagon needs to reduce its spending, but we need to reshape our force in a way to reduce spending while maintaining as much of the current capability and professionalism as possible," Harkin said during his weekly telephone press conference. "Air National Guard units are far more cost-effective and often more experienced than our active duty Air Force units."
In a criticism similar to that of his GOP counterpart, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, Harkin said that he has been unable to get adequate answers from high-ranking Air Force officials about their reasoning for reducing the size of the 132nd Fighter Wing unit that flies F-16 combat jets.
Harkin plans to continue seeking the reasons for this reduction, he said. He also offered a ray of hope for those who could be impacted.
"It's Congress, not the Pentagon, who will have the final say on the fate of our Guard and Reserves," Harkin said.