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Michigan congressman raises concerns about defense spending

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The budget President Obama delivers to Congress this week will spend about 8 billion dollars less on the Defense Department.  That's going to directly affect two Michigan Air National Guard Bases.

Battle Creek and Selfridge Air National Guard Base officials learned earlier this month that the president’s proposed defense cuts would affect them.  Selfridge would lose specialized fighter aircraft and Battle Creek will not become the home of some cargo planes.

Republican Tim Walberg’s southern Michigan district includes Battle Creek.   He’s worried about the proposed changes in the Pentagon budget.

“Why in the world are we cutting almost 600 military personnel?  Why are we doing away with a very satisfactory assignment A-10’s (fighter aircraft) that were in Battle Creek and are now in Selfridge?" asks, Walberg,  "Now that’s certainly up to military officials to make those decisions.   But I think these are questions that members of Congress ought to be asking.’  

Battle Creek and Selfridge are getting new jobs in the Defense Department realignment.  Battle Creek would play a role in managing the nation’s drone aircraft and Selfridge will get several additional refueling aircraft.

Still, Walberg says if the president wants to trim Defense department spending he should cut the Pentagon’s civilian workforce and reduce red tape for military contractors.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.