March 07, 2024

Van Hollen, Cardin, Ruppersberger Statement on Changed Maryland Air National Guard Mission

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (all D-Md.) today released the following joint statement on the U.S. Air Force decision to expand the cyber mission of the Maryland Air National Guard.  

“The expansion of Maryland Air National Guard’s cyber mission is an important investment in and recognition of the critical work that our National Guardsmen and women are doing to support our national security. Maryland is the home of our nation’s premier cyber capabilities and the men and women of the 175th Wing are uniquely positioned to further expand our state’s partnership with U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency to defend, deter and defeat our adversaries. This increased mission and growth in the cyber domain will result in additional high-tech jobs for our citizen-soldiers. We will be working with the Air Force and U.S. Cyber Command to ensure that this expansion is adequately resourced.

“That being said, we are disappointed that, despite our repeated objections, the Air Force will move forward with retiring the A-10 presence at Martin State without immediately assigning the 175th a replacement flying mission. We understand this is a nationwide directive. But the Air Force is facing a shortage of over 1,900 pilots and we will continue to work aggressively with the White House, the Pentagon and the Governor’s office to ensure a follow-on flying mission for our Air Guardsmen. The dedicated pilots and maintenance personnel of the 104th Fighter Squadron have bravely served our nation both at home and abroad. These professionals will continue to operate the venerable A-10 Warthog until it is retired next year.”