Bustos Meets with Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of the National Guard to Outline Defense Priorities for Illinois’ 17th District

CLICK HERE for a photo of Congresswoman Bustos and Secretary Wilson

CLICK HERE for a photo of Congresswoman Bustos, General Lengyel and National Guard Leadership

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) outlined defense priorities for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District in meetings with Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force and General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Earlier this year, Congresswoman Bustos was appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee – including its Defense subcommittee – which oversees all federal spending. In the meetings with Secretary Wilson and General Lengyel, she went to bat for our region’s critical defense priorities – including the Rock Island Arsenal, the Air National Guard in Peoria and the suppliers in Rockford and across our region.

“It was an honor to meet with Secretary Wilson and General Lengyel to outline our priorities and to articulate how much our region has to offer to our national defense,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “Whether it’s the Quad-Cities, Rockford, Peoria or the communities in between, our region has a proud tradition of service – and as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I’m committed to ensuring the men and women defending and serving our country have the resources they need.”

Read Congresswoman Bustos’ letter to Secretary Wilson HERE or below:

February 13th, 2019

Secretary Heather Wilson

U.S. Air Force

1690 Air Force Pentagon

Washington, DC 20330


Secretary Wilson,

As a new member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I am excited for the opportunity to work more closely with you and the Air Force to best prepare to meet national security threats and to support key assets and supply lines in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District that help achieve that goal.

Illinois’ 17th Congressional District is home to the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard.  The 182nd has an established track record of excellence – even among their high performing peers – consistently achieving the highest Mission Capable Rates in the Air National Guard.  In addition, it is home to a respected and decorated Air Support Operations group.  It is my belief that with appropriate support, the 182nd has the capacity to provide even more value to the Air Force, the Air National Guard and our country.  I hope that we can work together to support the effort to continue upgrading the C-130H aeronautics systems and ultimately transition the 182nd to the C-130J.

In addition, I believe the 182nd’s proven track record of excellence, their capabilities on site and ability to recruit trained medical personnel from the robust hospital and medical network in Peoria and the surrounding region make it a great potential home for the Air Force’s new Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron within the Reserve Force.  I encourage you to strongly consider the 182nd as you make your final determination as to where to locate this new Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

The 17th Congressional District is also home to a robust number of defense suppliers that build the parts and equipment that help our military men and women both achieve their mission and remain safe.  Rockford in particular is home to key aerospace research, development and manufacturing that has long been a key partner in developing Air Force technology and capabilities.  I also want to draw your attention to the Rock Island Arsenal and its Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC). JMTC is a key part of the Army’s organic industrial base and its artisans would be an asset to any Air Force program.  It will be important moving forward that we maintain an appropriate workload to ensure that the armed services are receiving the materials they need and that we are maintaining these key assets in the industrial base.

Finally, while not the District I represent, Scott Air Force base is an important installation in the state of Illinois.  Scott Air Force Base is the headquarters of Air Mobility Command (AMC), and is also the headquarters of the U.S. Transportation Command.  The base employs more than 12,000 people, including 5,500 active-duty Air Force, and an additional 2,400 Air National Guard and Reserve personnel.  It is my intent to work with you to ensure this installation receives the support necessary to achieve its mission.

Thank you again for meeting with me today to discuss these important priorities in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.  I look forward to working with you in my new role as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to meet the needs of the United States Air Force and the people I serve.



Cheri Bustos

Member of Congress