This past weekend, I participated in my final winter meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C. These meetings allow governors to come together to share ideas and discuss issues that our states face collectively. As you might expect, other governors approached me about the ground we have broken on health care in Arkansas, both with our Payment Improvement Initiative and with the Arkansas Private Option.
Those discussions, however, were one-on-one conversations. When the governors gather as a group, we usually discuss issues that most or all of us are dealing with as a group in each of our home states. And in my time as governor, I may never have seen an issue that has united state executives across the country more than the potential cuts confronting the Army National Guard.
Military cuts are definitely coming in the United States as part of the continued effort to reduce costs and slow the growth of our national debt. However, part of the U.S. Army’s latest budget request includes potential cuts to the Army National Guard. Governors understand that military cuts must be made. The argument we made to President Obama and others is that the National Guard has a record of being cost-effective and productive. Cutting back on our Guard strength in order to reduce military spending would be penny wise and pound foolish.
The role of