General Wesley Craig is in charge of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He said if the Pentagon’s cuts take effect as many as 1,500 members of the Commonwealth’s National Guard would be let go. The general also said that the latest budget proposal would cut 250 full time jobs associated with the Pennsylvania National Guard. “These are primarily the people that provide command and control and administrative support for our units and also a very healthy slice of people that provide maintenance to our equipment” said General Craig.
That could effect local businesses like Hornungs Ace Hardware in Linglestown. They get roughly 10% of their business from people associated with the National Guard. Jerry Aldridge works at Hornungs. He said “they do shop here and it would impact everybody in the area because they spend money the same as everyone else and if they were to lose their job they’re just going to have to tighten up everything.”
It’s not just the hit that small businesses could take that worries General Craig. He thinks it could be more expensive to shrink the National Guard instead of cutting active duty members. “When you look at the price tag involved the active component costs three to four times as much as the reserve component, the guard or the reserves” said General Craig.
General Craig also said that most of the Pennsylvania National Guardsman rely on healthcare and pensions from their private employers and not the military as opposed to active duty members. All 50 Governors in the United States have signed a letter asking the president to maintain the current size of the National Guard. Ultimately the decision falls on Congress. You can voice your own opinion by contacting your local senator or representative.