Defense Subcommittee Hearing on the FY05 National Guard & Reserve Budget: Testimony of LTG Steven Blum, ARNG, Chief, National Guard Bureau
United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
Lieutenant General H Steven Blum, Chief National Guard Bureau
At no time in our history has America depended more on its Citizen-Soldiers. The strength of our National Guard, as always, is derived from the caliber of our Soldiers and Airmen. When we think about what our nation asks these young Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen to do for their communities, their states, and their nation, and how magnificently they have performed here at home and abroad, our hearts are filled with pride. Our priorities and our vision focuses on leveraging the talents, the abilities, the selfless commitment and the enthusiasm of these Soldiers and Airmen. As Chief of the National Guard Bureau, my mission is to ensure that they receive the latest training, complete and modern equipment, and an organizational and command structure worthy of their mission and their service.
The National Guard will remain, first and foremost, a provider of ready, trained, and equipped warfighting units to combatant commanders through the Army and the Air Force. Notably, the Guard has always been, throughout its history, a force that spanned the continuum of what we define today as "Homeland Security," "Homeland Defense," and "Warfighting." September 11, 2001 has refocused us on our fundamental responsibility to defend the homeland-the original mission of the militia-and revealed the present day efficacy that the founders understood so well-that a citizen-based militia is the best force to protect the citizenry from which it is drawn.
The Guard is uniquely suited, like no other entity in the Defense Department, or indeed in the entire nation, to carry out that mission. No other organization has our combination of size, skills, training and experience, dispersion across the nation, command and communications infrastructure, and the legal flexibility to support civil authorities at a moment's notice. In nearly 3,000 communities around the nation, the Guard stands ready today-as it has since Jamestown was settled nearly 400 years ago.
Support the War Fight
We, the Guard, must provide the kind of forces that America needs, when America needs them. One of Secretary Rumsfeld's key mandates to the Services is to find ways to make the National Guard more ready and accessible in its federal warfighting role. Working in conjunction with the Army and Joint Forces Command, our goal is to dramatically improve the current mobilization and demobilization process. Under current guidelines, it can take several weeks to months to prepare an Army National Guard unit to mobilize and deploy-compared to the Air Guard model where units deploy in a matter of hours or days. We need to study and adapt the Air Guard model where possible.
We are working with the Army to change its go-to-war protocols. It is no longer practical to follow cold war regimens of train, alert, mobilize, train, certify, deploy. We must move to train, alert, deploy. By updating home station facilities, taking advantage of new technologies, and funding units at a higher level of readiness, we hope to create a new 21st century minuteman. The Guard must and will continue to operate across the full spectrum of national security missions. But, new asymmetrical threats call for a different kind of warfighter and different mission systems. We need to be smarter, lighter, more agile, and more lethal.
The National Guard force structure does not stand alone unto itself, but rather represents a 38 percent slice of the total Army and approximately 34 percent of the total Air Force. As ongoing operations abroad reveal the need to rebalance the types of units in the Army and the Air Force, the Guard will be a leader in embracing this change. Likewise, if studies indicate that Army divisions or Air Force wings are no longer needed, it is our view that we, like the active component and reserves, must change. We are working closely with the Army as we move to a balanced, modular force. Similarly, through Vanguard, we are working with the Air Force to meet the aerospace needs of the future.
Here and Abroad for over 365 Years
We are this country's longest lasting, longest serving military organization; we predate our nation. Today, the National Guard is ready to write a brand new page in its long and heroic history, and get the mission accomplished. When you call out the National Guard, you call out America's joint home team.
The Guard was there when it was needed, demonstrating the flexible accessibility inherent in the unique multi-status roles of the Guard. Our Homeland Defense and Security roles mandate that we be capable of seamlessly operating in federal and state intergovernmental and interagency roles. September 11th and its aftermath are illustrative of the Guard's new operating environment and its unique flexibility to respond to our nation's needs. Within 24 hours of the attack on the World Trade Center, 8,500 New York Army and Air National Guardmembers were on the streets of New York in State Active Duty status. Within 72 hours of President Bush's request to the Governors, Guardmembers were assisting civil authorities in protecting U.S. airports (USC Title 32 status). As security of our skies became paramount after September 11th, the Air National Guard logged more than 30,000 incident free, fully armed combat air patrol missions (USC Title 10 status) over the United States.
Congress funded the formation of joint Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams within the National Guard beginning in 1999. These units were designed to provide direct assistance to civilian emergency responders in the event of a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological attack upon the homeland. Few in numbers and still in their operational infancy in 2001, nevertheless it was one of these units-New York's 2nd Civil Support Team-that became the first organized unit of any military service or component to arrive on Ground Zero on the morning of September 11th, sampling the air to ensure that no biological or chemical contaminants were present.
Since September 11th, National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams operate daily in communities throughout the nation. They are in a unique position to provide emergency community response with full communications capability to the local, state and federal levels. Moreover, they are actively involved in planning and integration of Guard assets in local and state emergency plans.
Currently, we have 32 fully certified Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams. Congress recognized the urgent need to expand that number, and 23 teams are scheduled to stand up in the next four years, beginning with 12 this year alone. The Guard has initiated several dramatic new programs that will further increase and improve our Homeland Defense capability, while at the same time enhancing our ability as warfighters.
We are actively pursuing the following initiatives:
. Organizing 12 Enhanced Response Force Packages. These forces will consist of a National Guard Civil Support Team, an enhanced division medical company with a 150-person per hour decontamination and treatment capability, an enhanced engineer company with specialized search and recovery equipment, and a task-trained combat unit capable of supporting law enforcement. These force packages will meet a previously identified Northern Command request for capabilities.
. Expanding National Guard involvement in Ground-based Mid-course Missile Defense, Cyber and Information Operations, Space, and Intelligence Operations for both the Army and Air Guard. One model we hope to emulate is the Guard's highly successful experience in manning Nike missile batteries in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, traditional and full-time Guardsmen served together in units under State control, with self-activating orders that automatically brought them into a Federal status when the enemy attacked.
. Creating National Guard Reaction Forces through dual missioning and training of existing units. These units will be immediately available to State and Federal governments and for Homeland Security purposes. They are already forward deployed throughout the United States. The units will retain full war fight and homeland security capabilities. These forces will also meet a previously identified Northern Command request for forces requirement.
We are expanding our interagency and intergovernmental efforts and look forward to increased cooperation between the National Guard, the states and the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. We are participating in exercises and planning at state and local levels, and we have shared our Automated Exercise and Assessment System with them. We are working with the national emergency responder and management associations as well.
The National Guard has a significant number of units capable of "dual-use"-that is to say, the combat skill sets in these units are directly applicable to peacetime domestic support operations. We have developed a force management model that will help us to ensure that sufficient appropriate forces, properly resourced are available to the Governors for State, Homeland Defense and support to Homeland Security missions.
We will leverage the units, training and resources in our existing war fight capabilities to expand and enhance the roles we can perform in homeland security. We will make smarter use of force structure and make minor modifications to mission essential task lists to geometrically increase capabilities. We will provide homeland defense capabilities in force packages, built from standardized warfighting units. By doing this in our role as a state military force, we will raise the threshold at which commitment of federal military resources to non-warfighting tasks becomes necessary.
Transformation for the 21st Century
Relevant, Reliable, Ready and Accessible
Transformation is a state of mind. It is about how we think, organize and approach the future. We are transforming our headquarters and our capabilities to shape our future. We reorganized the National Guard Bureau from three separate organizations into a joint organization effective July 1, 2003. We streamlined and flattened the organization, making it more efficient, capable, and aligned its staff functions and responsibilities with those of the Joint Staff and the combatant commanders.
We have undertaken aggressive employer and family programs. The three-legged stool of the Guard and Reserve-Service member, family, and employer-is only as sturdy as the weakest leg. We are talking with the nation's major employers and the states are aggressively doing the same with employers in their area. Our family program was the model on which the entire Department of Defense program was based, and we continue to work to address the information, emotional and support needs of our families. To that end, I have authorized a position in each state to specifically deal with employer support.
The State Adjutants General consolidated 162 State headquarters organizations into 54 doctrinally aligned Standing Joint Force Headquarters-creating, effective in October 2003, a single joint force headquarters in each state for all Army and Air Guard activities. This will ensure a rapid and coordinated response to any emergency, making the National Guard more versatile, relevant, and able to meet our national security challenges.
Our joint team will become seamless with the other five services-the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard-and their reserve components as well. It will be capable of meeting active component requirements and serving as an integrator for active component and reserve component consequence management operations. Together with our sister services, we will fight and win this war on terrorism both here at home and abroad.
Readiness is a product of resources and training. We must focus our training on the myriad missions we will be asked to perform, and we-the National Guard Bureau-must obtain the resources necessary for the Soldiers and Airmen to accomplish the mission.
Some of the changes contemplated will require the cooperation of Congress in amending existing law. Because of its increased relevance, the National Guard Bureau should be organized so that the senior officer of the Army and the Air National Guard of the United States on duty with the National Guard Bureau should become the Acting Chief if the office is vacant or if the Chief is absent or disabled. This change is necessary because of the elevation of the Directors of the Army and Air National Guard to Lieutenant General, without a concomitant promotion of the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Similarly, the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau should become the Director of the Joint Staff of the National Guard Bureau. This designation reflects the roles and functions of this individual within the National Guard Bureau's joint organization.
We are transforming the Guard in all domains-the way we fight, the way we do business, and the way we work with others-to provide the Guard America needs today and tomorrow. Training must produce enhanced readiness, immediate accessibility, and individual and unit capability to conduct operations at home and abroad.
We have approached our transformation in an open, collegial manner, talking with all affected stakeholders including the Governors and working as a team-Adjutants General, National Guard Bureau, Army, Air Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and others-to do what is right for America.
As we look forward to the new fiscal year, the National Guard is enthusiastically engaged in planning, programming, and executing the extraordinary changes that are ahead. We are evolving in ways that will allow us to accomplish our state and federal missions more efficiently than ever before, as we design mechanisms to seamlessly operate in the Defense Department, interagency, and intergovernmental environments. The National Guard will continue to defend our nation, both at home and abroad, in both its state and federal capacities, as it has for 367 years. It will continue to serve as the reserve component without peer in the world. This is our birthright-it is the legacy of the Minuteman.
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