Hold on Guard Deployment Raises Concerns

NGAUS Washington Report

(April 2, 2013) Pulling the plug on a deployment of Indiana Army National Guardsmen last month does not signal a change in how the Army intends to use the Guard, an Army official says.

But some view with foreboding the late cancellation of deployments in June by four Indiana units to the Sinai and the Horn of Africa in favor of active-component units.

An Army Times report this week quotes Gen. John Campbell, the Army vice chief of staff, as saying concerns that the service does not view the Guard as an operational force are “absolutely ridiculous.”

But others think the writing may be on the wall now that the Army has called the move a cost-cutting effort.

“The message that will be heard is, ‘Now you don’t need us,’” John Goheen, the NGAUS communications director, told the publication.

Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, the Delaware adjutant general and the immediate past chairman of NGAUS, told the publication, “I think, based on what we’re seeing now, we’re gonna see this more and more.”

Many of the soldiers had already made plans for long separations from families and jobs. Families had been put on TRICARE health policies and soldiers had delayed school plans. The cancellation is a major disruption to their lives as much as the deployments.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., wrote a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh and Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, questioning the announced savings of $93 million. He says his office had been told previously that the savings would be $59 million.

He accuses the Army of rushing into the decision without fully considering its impact.

Campbell told Army Times that his service is committed to the Total Force, but added, “We can’t afford readiness that we’re not going to use.”