The National Guard's ability to provide critical response to Americans at a moment’s notice relies on planning and dedicated funding.
Every day, the National Guard responds to requests from civilian authorities during emergencies within our country. Saving lives and protecting property is a duty the Guard provides faithfully and without question. Whether responding within their state or across state borders, the Guard does what it takes to help Americans during times of crisis.
Located in over 3,000 communities, the National Guard is immediately available and its soldiers and airmen are the most experienced of military first responders. In times of natural disasters, wildfires or special events like the Presidential Inauguration, the National Guard composes 96 percent of all military support to civilian authorities. The National Guard is also the only military force fully accessible and available to both state and federal leadership. Citizens count on the National Guard to help them during emergencies. Utilizing long standing Emergency Assistance Compacts between states, the National Guard is immediately available to help and is the most experienced of military responders. With thousands of Guard Joint Force Headquarters, readiness centers and wings spread across the United States, being there on the front lines with personnel, supplies and equipment, protecting and enhancing Guard facilities anchors an immediate domestic response.
What's At Stake?
Requirements and Budget Accountability Challenges
The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is now a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and serves as the most senior military advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for domestic operations. Despite this, the National Guard has little opportunity to weigh in its expansive knowledge of requirements for domestic response operations as priorities for funding into the President’s planning and budget processes. Currently, the National Guard is equipped through two service budgets and the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA). Relying on training funds and Title 10 “dual-use” equipment decided in Army and Air Force budget-processes, which are focused on the overseas warfight, while hoping NGREA will cover equipment vital for domestic response promotes inefficiencies and uncertainty.
Protecting American Lives and Property Remains the #1 Priority
As our government confronts the hard choices that need to be made during these times of fiscal uncertainty, decision-makers need to understand that cuts to Guard personnel and force structure means degradation to domestic response. Separating the Guard’s crucial domestic mission from wartime budgets and across the board cuts in personnel is the only way to make sure we are not endangering American lives. Saving American lives and property should not be classified as a "training" operation for the National Guard under Title 32, Chapter 5. It is time that the Department of Defense treats this mission as "operational" and as important as its overseas responsibilities.
- Improving accountability and stewardship of federal resources dedicated to National Guard support to civilian authorities and ensuring that equipment and training needed for domestic operations and emergency response to disasters, both catastrophic and common, are not lost in the draw-down of dual-use Title 10 equipment
- Codification of the agreement between the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Defense Department that allows “whole of nation” planning, programming and budgeting for domestic operations and homeland defense
- The National Guard Bureau collecting and establishing requirements for National Guard support to civilian authorities based on civilian capabilities and shortfalls, regional and FEMA Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (THIRA); and in coordination with governors, adjutants general, and Defense, Homeland Security, Army and Air Force departments
- The creation of a dedicated, reliable Defense Department joint fund within the President’s Budget for National Guard support of civilian authorities