Army Hyperbole Short on Facts

NGAUS Washington Report

(July 30, 2013) The Army National Guard was the victim of another round of hyperbole from Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president.

"Yesterday, during a seminar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., the chief compared the active-component Army and Army National Guard to two football teams.

"'The difference between the National Guard and Reserve and the active component,' he said, 'is the active component can practice every single day. The Guard gets to practice 39, 40 days out of the year. So do you want a football team that can do one practice a month and have two weeks spring training versus a force that can practice every single day?'"

"The problem with the general's analogy is, no Army unit at home station trains collectively 365 days a year. Active-component troops are paid 365 days a year, but they do not train 365 days a year. Not with 30 days of annual leave and weekends off and federal holidays and training holidays and equipment maintenance.

"And as any Army Guard officer or NCO will tell you, Guard service today involves a lot more than serving one weekend a month and two weeks a year. It is, technically, a part-time job, but it comes with a full-time commitment.

"These two teams are much closer than the general suggests. And the Army Guard's performance alongside their active-component counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan proves it.   

"His comment yesterday comes just three months after he implied to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that it would take two years to prepare Army National Guard formations for a war on the Korean peninsula.

"Army Guard units are given two years notice for rotational missions to prepare families and employers, but for a short-notice conflict, even the most complex Army Guard unit can be readied in just a few weeks."