The Army National Guard is a modern operational force ready to respond to homeland emergencies as well as combat and peacekeeping needs abroad.
Since 9/11, the Army National Guard has transitioned from a Cold War-era strategic reserve to a modern, accessible and battle-proven operational force.
The Army National Guard is made up of:
- 8 division headquarters
- More than 2,500 readiness centers (armories) in nearly every zip code in the country
- More than 100 maneuver brigades, including:
- 28 Brigade Combat Teams (infantry, heavy and stryker)
- 49 multi-functional brigades (combat aviation, surveillance and sustainment brigades)
- 50 functional brigades and groups (military police and chemical)
Administered by the National Guard Bureau (a joint bureau of the departments of the Army and Air Force), the Army National Guard has both federal and state responsibilities.
The President of the United States can call up the National Guard to participate in federal missions. The Army National Guard is a partner with the Active Army and the Army Reserves in fulfilling the country's military needs. Guard units integrate into the active Army, bolstering crucial combat, combat support, combat service support, peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions.
In each state, the Governor, through the State Adjutant General, commands the state Guard forces. The Governor can call the Army National Guard into action during local or statewide emergencies – such as hurricanes, floods, drought and civil disturbances – and can activate them for counter-drug and airport and border security missions.
Soldiers in the Army National Guard typically train one weekend each month with one two-week training period each year. But there has been an increased call up of the National Guard since 9/11. Nearly 40 percent of all U.S. combat troops have come from National Guard units, and more than half of the Guard soldiers have been deployed to combat overseas.
The Army National Guard is comprised of 350,200 citizen soldiers from of 54 separate organized state entities: the 50 states, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Army National Guard specialties include infantry, artillery, aviation, air defense, engineering, chemical, agribusiness, intelligence, maintenance, transportation and many others. The Army National Guard has a federal obligation to maintain properly trained and equipped units, available for prompt mobilization for war, national emergency, or as otherwise needed.
In recent years, worldwide deployments have included Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Guantanamo Bay, Djibouti and the Sinai.
History of the Army National Guard
The Army National Guard is the oldest military force and predates the founding of the nation and a standing national military by almost 150 years. America’s first permanent militia regiments, among the oldest still-serving units in the world, were organized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. Since that time, the Army National Guard has participated in every major conflict from the Pequot War of 1637 to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan today.
As the Army National Guard continues to support the war fight and safeguard the homeland, leaders and citizens alike can be assured that the Army National Guard remains committed to being always ready and always there.