Defense pulling Scout support

Rep. David McKinley has learned the Department of Defense plans to pull its support for this year’s Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia amid the sequester of federal funds and mandated budget cuts to defense.

“The Defense Department is recommending a withdrawal of funding,” said Mike Hamilton, chief of staff for McKinley, R-Wheeling. “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has to make a yes or no decision. Right now, we are trying to figure what can be done to make them reconsider their recommendation.”

The National Guard provides troops for security for the Boy Scouts National Jamboree, slated for July 15-24 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.

McKinley has introduced a bill to prevent the Department of Defense from withdrawing its support for the Jamboree in West Virginia. The bill would prohibit the agency from pulling the National Guard from the event unless there is a matter of national security.

“This summer, the National Boy Scout Jamboree will bring more than 85,000 Scouts from across the country to West Virginia,” said McKinley. “Now, due to budget cuts the Department of Defense has announced that it would end its logistical and security support for the Jamboree. This action would negatively impact the thousands of Scouts attending the Jamboree as well as the entire region. It’s important to protect the Jamboree from misguided cuts that would damage a 30-year relationship between the National Guard and the Jamboree. The Department of Defense should keep its promise, and the bill I’ve introduced will ensure that,” added McKinley.

The cuts “don’t need to happen,” he continued.

“Instead, the Obama Administration could target the billions of dollars in waste and duplication that has already been identified by the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office,” McKinley said. “It’s simply a matter of priorities.”