The Army is transferring Apaches from the National Guard to active duty units under the aviation restructure initiative (ARI), replacing them with Black Hawks under a plan to save about $12 billion.
But in the past five years, only 10 Apache pilots have transferred to the Guard, said NCFA Commissioner Robert Hale. â€œThey are struggling with funding for school seats to retrain their Apache folks into Black Hawks,â€ he said.
NCFA Commissioner Gen. Larry Ellis asked Debra Wada, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, if trained pilots in active service could be matched to vacancies in the reserve components and vice versa. Wada said such a comprehensive survey and relocation effort would â€œbe challenging at bestâ€ given current budgets.
Hale said the aviation subcommittee hopes to better understand ARIâ€™s effects on active and reserve soldiers, and that it was looking at â€œother optionsâ€ than the one proposed by Big Army in response to its need for a scout helicopter.
Congress has mandated that rotorcraft transfers prescribed by the ARI not be completed until after the commission has published its recommendations, which are due by Feb. 1.