Maryland Guard Leaders Determined To Do Right For Members As Budget Situation Evolves

  • Published
  • By Capt. Wayde Minami
  • MDANG Public Affairs
"You can't just say 'it's nothing personal' and go on as if it's business as usual," Brig. Gen. Allyson Solomon, Assistant Adjutant General-Air of Maryland, said in a recent discussion of proposed changes to the Maryland Air National Guard contained in the Air Force's fiscal year 2013 budget request. "There may be no malicious intent, but these decisions affect people's lives, and so to them it's very personal. We need to approach it accordingly."

The Maryland Air National Guard's top officer made it clear that the Guard must do right by its people as it prepares for what may be major changes to the force structure in Maryland. While Solomon noted that the reality dictated by whatever budget Congress ultimately passes would be the driving force, she emphasized that within those constraints the MDANG will do everything possible to cushion any negative impacts to Maryland Guardsmen.

Although Maryland has formed a team to plan for the mission and organizational changes contained in the proposed budget, no final decisions have been made, Solomon said. She added that planning for the changes contained in the budget request was only prudent, but underscored that the organization would "take no irrevocable actions" until it had solid information on which to act.

The proposed budget has called for the cancellation of the C-27J Spartan program and the establishment of a new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance group in Maryland, but these recommendations have yet to be approved by Congress.

Solomon said that she thought it was still early enough in the process that it would be premature for MDANG members to make irrevocable decisions of their own, but also noted that "people have to decide for themselves, based on their individual comfort level. We can't make those decisions for them, but we can - and we will - support them in whatever they decide to do."

Chief Master Sgt. Glenn Hart, Maryland Air National Guard state command chief, said he understood people's frustration.

"All the states are in the same situation," Hart said. "Until Congress passes a budget - which may not be until after the election - nothing is final. The best we can do is share what information we have."

Both Solomon and Hart were clear that state leadership is determined to share as much information with the troops as it can, as soon as it can.

"The problem is that things are still up in the air, not just for us but for the whole ANG. We've shared everything we know so far," Hart said. "It's all out there on the Y: drive. We haven't held anything back. Anyone can go and look."