Grass: Budget Uncertainty Threatens Force

NGAUS Washington Report

(Feb. 5, 2013) The chief of the National Guard Bureau told Army National Guard leaders recently that uncertainty over the budget is the greatest threat facing the Guard.

Speaking in North Little Rock, Ark., at the Army National Guard Senior Leaders Conference, Grass said Lt. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the vice chief of the Guard bureau, will lead an effort to develop a plan in case the government operates under a year-long continuing resolution, which maintains funding at 2012 levels.

His primary concern, he said, is the readiness of the force, according to a story from the Arkansas National Guard.

“We still have an obligation to fulfill our state and federal missions,” he said.

Grass also told more than 100 generals and other senior leaders that he now represents the Council of Governors in Defense Department discussions on budgets, resourcing and cuts. He will meet quarterly with the governors and DoD leadership in that role.

“The Council of Governors is [an extremely strong supporter] of every Air and Army Guardsman out there,” he said. “And they have got the attention of very senior levels within the [DoD].”

Grass fears Guardsmen will lose their edge once deployments drop off and suggested a return to the days of training missions to Central America would be good for the force.

“I think that gives our traditional Guardsmen opportunities to continue to keep their edge,” he said.