September 8, 2014
The Issue: Modernize the Guard's Black Hawk fleet
Immediate Action Required: Ask your senators and representatives support the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense appropriations bill which includes funding for Army Guard Black Hawk helicopters
More Information: The Army National Guard's No. 1 priority for fiscal 2015 is the continuation of the UH-60 Black Hawk modernization program. The Army National Guard operates 849 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, and more than 400 of those are older UH-60A models. The A-model helicopters are an average of 24-years-old. Many in the National Guard's fleet are nearing the end of their useful life.
Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, is seeking support among his colleagues for a section of the fiscal 2015 Senate Armed Services Committee defense bill that would provide National Guardsmen with an easier path toward an earlier retirement. He is requesting that his colleagues sign a letter to Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., asking them to support the Senate bill's language when the chambers come together for the conference process. McKeon and Smith are the chairman and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.Read more: Lawmaker Seeks Backing for Retirement Plan
The new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs wants to reform his agency by the time Veterans Day arrives in November.
Robert McDonald, who has been on the job about a month, returned from a tour of VA facilities around the country determined to change the culture of his troubled department.
"We need to rebuild relationships with veterans and other stakeholders," he said during a press conference Monday in the nation's capital. "We're trying to reach out, establish relationships, learn about what's going wrong and figure out how to improve."