Congress must recognize the service and commitment of every member of the National Guard by ensuring an equal voice in Department of Defense policy, planning and budgetary deliberations.
The National Guard has always stood ready to support and be part of any challenge faced within the Department of Defense (DoD), but old ways die hard. Despite gaining a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bureaucracy within the DoD still clings to old ways of doing business, not even thinking to include Guard members in all the deliberations and studies that will shape our military into the future.
What's At Stake?
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Over the years, the examples are many where DoD has made decisions without input or regard for the role of the National Guard. This was was made evident recently when the Department of the Air Force disregarded the responsibilities of its entire Total Force, calling into question its decision making process. When you call out the National Guard, you call on America to be part of national security policy. This validation should be embraced because it enhances the Total Force. It enhances national security. The National Guard has always stood ready to support and be part of any challenge faced within the DoD, but old ways die hard.
Department of Defense Review and Studies
There are many reviews, both new and annual that would benefit from Guard participation from inception to recommendation. In March 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered a groundbreaking DoD wide study called “Strategic Choices and Management Review.” NGAUS supports this effort and will work to ensure that the National Guard is given equal opportunity to participate and share its unique views. The Department of the Army is conducting an “Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment Study”, and the Department of the Air Force, the “Air Force Reserve Component 2020 Study.” The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) requires more input from the National Guard during to help create a document that truly reflects a way forward for America’s defense. With another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round coming up, deliberations should recognize that the location of over 2,800 National Guard ARNG readiness centers and ANG wings is the foundation of immediate emergency response to disasters, and protecting American lives and property. Certainly, National Guard input should be a priority and Congress should ensure National Guard representation comes before, not after findings are presented to them.
The Essential Three
It is essential that National Guard Bureau leaders, the State Adjutants General, and Council of Governors be involved in key processes within the Pentagon, reviewing the roles, missions and force structure of the National Guard. Without active participating as key stakeholders in the processes that will form recommendations effecting national security for years to come, the National Guard and America would bear the consequences of recommendations borne of myth and traditional assumptions that too often emerge from the closed rooms in the Pentagon. The National Guard Bureau must continue to mold its organization to conduct the new responsibilities and authorities gained through law and cemented in its new charter. NGAUS supports changes in law, policy, manning or organization that promotes better representation of the National Guard within the Department of Defense.
- The participation of the NGB, the State Adjutants General and the Council of Governors in the Department of Defense Strategic Choices and Management Review and all future force structure, AC/RC mix, and Base Realignment and Closure reviews
- The increased participation of the National Guard in all DoD strategic reviews including the Quadrennial Defense, the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, the Nuclear Posture Review and the Space Posture Review
- Urging Congress to ensure that National Guard representation comes before, not after findings are presented in any Department of Army or Department of Air Force study or review.
- BRAC recommendations that recognize that the location of over 2,800 National Guard ARNG readiness centers and ANG wings is the foundation of immediate emergency response to disasters, and protecting American lives and property
- Changes in law, policy, manning or organization of the National Guard Bureau that promotes better representation of the National Guard within the Department of Defense