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The National Guard: Balanced And Flexible Or Excess Baggage

The National Guard: Balanced And Flexible Or Excess Baggage?

 

AUTHOR Major B. K. Murray, USMC

 

CSC 1993

 

SUBJECT AREA - General

 

 

 

The National Guard: Balanced and Flexible or Baggage?

 

 

OUTLINE

 

 

Thesis: The Congress should disestablish the National Guard instead of cutting additional active

component forces in order to meet additional defense spending reductions proposed by President

Clinton.

 

 

I. Reasons for cutting the military

A. Soviet demise

B. Budget deficit

 

II. Options to save money

A. Cut active component

B. Cut reserve component

C. Cut both

 

III. History of reserve component

A. WW I

B. WW II

C. Korea

D. Vietnam

E. Gulf War

1. Mobilization

2. Deployment

3. Capabilities

4. Performance

 

IV. Composition of National Guard

A. Officer

B. Enlisted

 

V. Cost of National Guard

A. Personnel

B. Equipment

 

VI. Force of the future

A. Versatile

B. Deployable

C. Combat-ready

 

The National Guard: Balanced and Flexible or Excess Baggage?

 

by Major Bryan K. Murray, United States Marine Corps

 

 

Now that the Cold War is over, Congress and the Administration are restructuring the military

 

to meet the fundamental strategic changes that occur very infrequently in the formulation of

 

defense policy. This restructuring of the military has been given an added sense of urgency

 

because Bill Clinton was elected President based upon an economic platform. This platform

 

focused on cutting the federal deficit by 50% within four years. The defense spending reduction

 

portion of this plan equates to at least $100 billion over the next five years. This reduction in

 

defense spending is more than $60 billion above what President Bush proposed.

 

 

In order to meet the spending reductions he established, President Bush had proposed that the

 

active component (AC) sustain approximately a 25% cut in forces while the reserve component

 

(RC) sustain approximately a 23% cut by 1997. This ratio would allow a base force of 1.6 million

 

AC servicemembers and 920,000 RC servicemembers to support or augment the base force. (1:3)

 

Clearly, President Clinton will have to make deeper cuts in force structure to meet his additional

 

$60 billion reduction in defense spending. What force structure cuts can be made by President

 

Clinton to meet his campaign promises without creating a "hollow force"? He should disestablish

 

the National Guard element of the RC.

 

 

President Clinton has not given any formal details on how he plans to save the additional $60

 

billion in defense spending. He has indicated that he will increase the AC personnel cuts an

 

additional 200,000 servicemembers by 1997. This would increase the 25% personnel cut

 

proposed by President Bush to 30%. The result would be a base force of 1.4 million AC

 

servicemembers. However, he has left his options open to make further cuts in AC structure by

 

placing more reliance on the RC and increasing their numbers in the future.

 

 

The U.S. has a history of cutting the AC after periods of war and placing strong reliance on the

 

RC. Figures 1 and 2 show how the U.S. Army has changed its force structure during periods

 

of war and peace since 1918. (14:D-7)

 

In 1916, the total Army manpower was 489,737. This amount included 375,545 personnel in

 

the National Guard, 6,551 personnel in the Ready Reserve, and 107,641 personnel in the AC. In

 

1917, after German U-boats sank many American ships, the U.S. was dragged into the war in

 

Europe. Americans had the intent of sending troops to Europe and brining the war to a swift

 

end. Because the Army consisted primarily of 300,000 infantry armed with Springfield rifles,

 

General Pershing never reached his goal of 52 divisions in France by the end of 1918. With

 

industrial mobilization, the U.S. managed to deploy 43 divisions overseas. The manpower to

 

support the war was raised mainly by conscription under the Selective Service Act of 1917. After

 

the war ended, the major issues before Congress and the War Department were the economy and

 

trying to determine the proper size of a peacetime Army. Isolationism returned to the U.S.. With

 

the war in Europe ended and Germany defeated, the U.S. felt that there would be no major land

 

war for years to come. (13:6-4)

 

Click here to view image

 

The military learned a few lessons from World War I and started preparing for war in 1939

 

with a limited mobilization of troops and industrial preparation. In 1940, conscription was

 

initiated to provide the manpower to support the buildup in the military. When Japan attacked

 

Pearl Harbor, the U.S. had an army of 1.6 million troops in 37 divisions. The technological

 

advances of the airplane played a major role in the expansion of the Army Air Corps which grew

 

to 2.4 million men in early 1944. By 1945, the Army consisted of 8.3 million men in

 

the AC. World War II caused a marked expansion within the Army in noncombatant specialists

 

who maintained increasingly complex weapons. The ground army had 2.1 million men assigned to

 

supporting every three fighting men. (13:6-6)

 

 

The U.S. did not return to isolationism after World War II. Advances in aviation and weapons

 

technology had made the protection offered by great distances over water less formidable. This

 

presented a dilemma for President Truman. He was determined to balance the national debt and

 

he reduced the military budget drastically. His plan to accomplish this included deducting all other

 

expenditures from revenues before recommending a military appropriation. The Air Force became

 

a separate service and the War Department and Navy Department merged into the Department of

 

Defense. The Army dropped in manpower to 576,514 soldiers by 1948. The U.S. created plans

 

for mobilization only in the event of war, air power and the atomic bomb became the foundations

 

of military power. The atomic advantage was short-lived; in 1949 the Soviet Union detonated

 

their first atomic bomb. The Cold War had begun. (13:6-10)

 

*Source: (14:D-7)

 

 

When North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, the AC had suffered from defense

 

manpower cuts. The Army rushed to send ill-prepared occupation troops from Japan to South

 

Korea under United Nations sanction. These troops suffered significant losses and were barely

 

able to hold on to the port city of Pusan. An amphibious landing at Inchon relieved the pressure

 

on Pusan and allowed the U.S. to launch a counteroffensive.

 

 

During the first year of the war, the U.S. scrambled to increase the size of the Army by

 

mobilizing the RC. Some replacements received only twelve days of training after a three day

 

warning to report. They then deployed to combat. (9:31) Troops arrived in Korea so poorly

 

conditioned that many couldn't be used. (9:32) After a brief lapse following World War II, the

 

Selective Service System had been revived in 1948. In June of 1953, 57.5% of Army forces in

 

Korea were draftees. The remainder of Army forces consisted of 45% Regular Army and 1.5%

 

Reserve Army. (10:210)

 

 

By the time the Korean Conflict had ended, the U.S. had tripled the size of the military and

 

quadrupled the defense budget. The U.S. had fought its first limited war while trying counter a

 

communist threat throughout the world. Military policy became that of deterrence against the

 

spread of communism. Because of Korea, the U.S. learned that limited wars could require swift

 

deployment of troops worldwide in a combat-ready state of training. In 1950, there were 485

 

Army personnel assigned to Korea. Between 1955 and 1988, the soldiers assigned to Korea

 

slowly diminished from 67,000 in 1955 to 33,000 in 1988. Even more marked was the buildup of

 

the Army in Germany. In 1950, there were 79,545 soldiers in Germany. In 1988, this number

 

had increased to 206,999. (14:D-13) Forward deployment as part of collective security

 

agreements became a key part of our military policy. (13:6-6)

 

 

Vietnam signaled the U.S. entrance into another limited war in the early 1960s. This conflict

 

was characterized by a lack of defined front lines, difficult to identify enemy, and unclear national

 

military strategy. (13:6-7) The U.S. practiced a policy of gradual escalation of military power

 

throughout the conflict. The news media brought the horror of war to American homes via

 

television and a growing anti-war movement contributed to a change in national security policy by

 

1969. Virtually all U.S. military personnel had been withdrawn from Vietnam by 1973.

 

 

This conflict exemplified the importance of support by the American people in order to

 

successfully prosecute and sustain military operations against a foreign power. This national will

 

was never developed and the result was significant for the military. Because the RC played a

 

minor role in Vietnam, the military relied upon conscription to provide the manpower to source the

 

increased requirements of the AC. Congress, responding to public outcry, reduced the military

 

budget by 37%, ended the draft, and created the all-volunteer military. (14:6-7)

 

 

The Total Force Policy was adopted in 1973 to more effectively integrate the AC and RC into

 

the war planning process. This policy linked the RC of each service more directly with the host

 

service for more effective employment in combat. It also included the enhanced integration of the

 

Army National Guard (ARNG) and Air National Guard (ANG) with the active Army and Air

 

Force. The Total Force Policy also created a linkage with the American public by integrating the

 

RC to such a degree that any combat deployment of forces outside the U.S. would require RC

 

participation. This would give a greater feeling of involvement to the American public by having

 

local citizen-soliders participating in the operation. This was never effectively accomplished

 

during the Vietnam Conflict and directly contributed to the unsuccessful outcome of that war.

 

 

A significant contributing factor to the adoption of the Total Force Policy was the

 

discontinuance of the Selective Service System in 1973. Every major conflict that the United

 

States had participated in during the twentieth century relied upon the draft to supply the pool of

 

manpower to meet military requirements. When the military was forced to adopt the all-volunteer

 

force, they could not count on the draft to provide masses of additional manpower. The only

 

place the AC could look to for support in a future major conflict would be the RC. In 1980, as a

 

hedge against total reliance on the RC, Congress required young men to register for a possible

 

future draft. This action could be based upon the past utilization of the RC and the degree that

 

they were able to train and deploy for combat. The RC had never contributed to the degree that

 

would be required in the future under the Total Force Policy. This registration process retained

 

some way of identifying potential draftees should the RC not prove capable of meeting wartime

 

requirements or general mobilization was required.

 

 

The RC in World War II had taken, in some instances, two years to get an infantry division

 

ready for combat. The 41st Infantry Division of the ARNG was mobilized in September of 1940.

 

It was one of the first ARNG units to see combat in late 1942. This unit had spent two years and

 

three months in training to become a combat-ready division. (9:22) The U.S. would soon learn

 

that armed aggression could require rapid deployment of combat-ready troops and that this type of

 

training program would not get troops to the fight quickly enough.

 

 

The Korean Conflict created a situation that did not allow for the protracted training periods

 

required by the RC. Eight ARNG Divisions were mobilized for Korea. Of these eight divisions,

 

two went to Korea, two went to Germany, and four stayed in the U.S. as training divisions and

 

served as replacement bases for Korea. (9:32)

 

 

The RC was not mobilized to any large degree during the Vietnam Conflict due to political

 

considerations. The 29th Separate Infantry Brigade, Hawaii ARNG, was one of the RC units

 

mobilized during this war. After eight months of training after mobilization, the brigade was

 

declared combat-ready in January of 1969. During the first three months after being declared

 

ready for combat, the brigade was required to send 1,500 personnel to Vietnam as replacements.

 

(9:35) This lack of deployment of RC units as combat organizations made them a vehicle for

 

training individuals for combat rather than effective combat maneuver elements.

 

 

The Total Force Policy put emphasis on improving RC readiness in order to perform wartime

 

missions. From 1980 to 1990, the number of Selected Reservists grew by 35%. This equated to

 

an increase from approximately 850,000 personnel to more than 1,150,000 personnel. By late

 

1990, modernization efforts gave the RC the ability to field 84% (in dollar value) of equipment

 

required for war. (7:471-472)

 

 

During this period, the Total Force Policy was refined to include plans to employ elements of

 

the RC as unit organizations rather than as individuals or fillers. By 1990, this resulted in a

 

strategy that would employ the military integrating the use of all forces available: AC, RC, and

 

civilian Department of Defense employees. Figures 3 to 5 show the composition of this force in

 

relation to the Selected Reserve contribution.

 

Click here to view image

 

Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM called for the largest mobilization and

 

deployment of the RC since the Korean Conflict. During the Gulf War, 245,000 RC personnel

 

were mobilized and approximately 106,000 served in Southwest Asia. The Chairman of the Joint

 

Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, stated his opinion of the performance of the RC on 3

 

December 1990:

 

The success of the Guard and the Reserve participation in Desert Shield

has been a significant factor in affording us flexibility and balance, and

reinforces the policies and decisions made over the last 10 years to strengthen

the Total Force concept. (7:471)

 

General Powell should have reserved his opinion of the RC until after the Gulf War had been

 

concluded because a detailed analysis of the "flexibility and balance" provided by the RC might

 

lead one to a different conclusion. The contribution of the RC, in general, and specifically the Air

 

and Army National Guard, during the Gulf War does not justify the cost.

 

 

The total Army structure can be broken down into the three major categories: combat, combat

 

support, and combat services support. The total Air Force structure can be broken down into flying

 

and non-flying units. Tables I and II reflect the structure of the Army and the Air Force and show

 

the relative capabilities between the AC and RC of each service.

 

* Source: (5:147)

 

Click here to view image

 

 

Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM did point out some significant problems

 

in the ability of some Reserve forces, primarily ARNG, to respond quickly enough to deploy in a

 

combat-ready state. Because of the inability of the three roundout brigades of the ARNG to

 

deploy, three AC divisions were forced to be filled out with AC brigades. During the Gulf War,

 

no Army RC combat maneuver elements carried the fight to the Iraqis. This lack of ability to

 

deploy to war with their assigned parent divisions to execute their wartime missions raises serious

 

questions. The Army conducted an Inspector General Investigation into the roundout brigades'

 

shortcomings. The report stated that all three brigades were deficient in readiness and had

 

overstated their actual training readiness on Unit Readiness Reports. (15:15) The roundout

 

program has now been changed to a roundup program. This program will augment RC units to

 

AC units already formed with the required AC units to function.

 

 

Based upon the capabilities of the RC, one would expect that a great percentage of the support

 

for the Gulf War was provided by the Selected Reservists that were assigned to the various

 

components. Actually, the numbers of RC forces mobilized were a small percentage of the total

 

RC strength. Figures 6 and 7 put these numbers into perspective.

 

Click here to view image

 

 

It is readily apparent that the Marine Corps Reserve deployed a far greater percentage of their

 

personnel to Desert Storm than any other Selected Reserve element. Additionally, Marine Reserve

 

combat units did take the fight to the Iraqis. Company B, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine

 

Division, Yakima, WA trained on newly acquired M1A1 tanks and killed 59 Iraqi tanks. Marine

 

Reserve KC-130s landed in Southwest Asia five days after Kuwait was invaded and flew 1005

 

sorties during August to December 1990. (7:481)

 

The Marine Corps Reserve serves as a repository of like units that provide sustainability to the

 

active force when required. Marine Reserve forces maintain a close relationship with their active

 

counterparts by a system that employs active duty Marines to work with the Marine Reserve to

 

ensure integration and efficiency upon mobilization. This system is significantly different from the

 

current program the ARNG and ANG use that relies almost completely upon Active

 

Guard/Reserve (AGR) personnel to provide a similar type of assistance. It is of interest that the

 

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 contained a provision to integrate AC

 

soldiers into the RC AGR program. This Act calls for 7,860 AC personnel to be assigned to the

 

RC by 1997. This will be accompanied by a compensatory reduction in the AGR force.

 

* Source: (7:485)

 

 

The Marine Corps concept of augmenting and reinforcing active units with Reserve units of

 

battalion/squadron size or smaller proved successful during the Gulf War. The key to the Marine

 

Corps success was the fact that the RC fills out existing AC structure. The Marine RC does not

 

add structure. This is critical to success because it allows RC units to train at a level that can be

 

accommodated during 48 drill periods and 15 days of active duty annually. The ARNG

 

demonstrated the difficulty of training a brigade sized unit to a degree of proficiency that was

 

deemed combat-ready within three months. They were unsuccessful.

 

 

Now that the Cold War is over, Congress must accept the fact that maintaining the National

 

Guard is a drain upon the shrinking defense budget. Their demonstrated utility during the Gulf

 

War indicated that American taxpayers were not getting an efficient return on their investment.

 

The ARNG mobilized 13% of their authorized manpower during the Gulf War; The ANG

 

mobilized nine percent of their authorized strength. With National Defense Policy focusing upon

 

regional conflicts, the requirement for deployable, trained, and combat-ready troops is greater than

 

ever. The additional cost of maintaining the National Guard forces at eight times the level of their

 

actual employment during the Gulf War is wasteful. We may not have the good fortune of such a

 

well established infrastructure as we had in Saudi Arabia in our next conflict. Even more

 

important, we may not have the luxury of six months to buildup forces prior to ground

 

engagement.

 

 

A detailed analysis of the composition of the ARNG and ANG leads to some significant

 

observations. The National Guard includes Military Technicians that work for the ARNG and ANG

 

on a daily basis in administration, training, and maintenance areas. As a condition of civilian

 

employment, they are required to be members of the National Guard and hold a military rank or

 

grade and serve in a speciality structured to their position. This program is expensive to operate

 

compared to the AC where many of these tasks are performed by much lower paid enlisted

 

soldiers. This group of personnel, both officer and enlisted, tends to be older and have more years

 

of service than any other element of the National Guard. Figures 8 and 9 show the average ages

 

and years of service of all personnel within the National Guard. (6:A7-8)

 

 

The National Guard is an aged organization across the spectrum of the force. As a general

 

rule, the ARNG is a younger force than the ANG. Because the ARNG contains 46% of the

 

combat structure of the U.S. Army, you would expect this to be the case.

 

 

As of the third quarter of 1991, the average age of the enlisted ARNG soldier was 30.5 years

 

with 9.0 years of service. This included 289 soldiers 60 years of age or older between the ranks of

 

E-4 and E-9. The average age of an E-6 was 38.8 years. There were 44,969 personnel with

 

twenty years or more of service. This amount included 363 soldiers with 40 or more years of

 

service that ranged from E-4 to E-9. The ARNG had 11.35% of the total enlisted force eligible

 

for retirement. The ARNG AGR enlisted average age was 37 years with 14.9 years of service.

 

There were eight personnel 60 years of age or older and 31 soldiers with 40 or more years of

 

service between the ranks of E-6 and E-9. This element had 24.8% of assigned soldiers with 20 or

 

more years of service. It also included an E-3 with 25 years of service. Military Technicians

 

within the ARNG that held enlisted positons averaged 38.5 years of age with 16.7 years of

 

service. There were 2,588 enlisted technicians aged 50 or older; included within this amount were

 

52 soldiers aged 60 or above between the ranks of E-5 and E-9.

 

 

The officer corps of the ARNG included 30.7% of warrant officers and 23.64% of all other

 

officers with 20 years or more of service. There were 297 officers with 40 years or more of

 

service. Every officer grade contained personnel with 23 years or more of service. The ARNG

 

AGR officer corps average age was 40.1 years. These officers averaged 18.9 years of service with

 

49.4% of assigned soldiers having 20 or more years of service. This included 18 officers with 40

 

or more years of service and five officers that were 60 years of age or older. ARNG officer

 

Military Technicians averaged 43.9 years of age with 23.2 years of service. This element of the ARNG

 

had 28.2 % of assigned manpower aged 50 or older. Figure 10 shows the comparison of all

 

ARNG officers 41 years of age or older to officers on active duty in the Marine Corps.

 

Click here to view image

 

 

It is readily apparent that the National Guard is a very mature force. The many years of

 

experience that these soldiers possess may serve them well in certain tasks. However, given the

 

physical demands of combat, how well could they perform their mission? One must also question

 

the validity of retaining large numbers of soldiers well past 20 years of service at certain ranks

 

while paying them more money to perform tasks that could be performed by younger soldiers

 

more cheaply. This ultimately costs the U. S. more money in entitlement payments upon these

 

individuals drawing retirement pay. The Military Technician Program is extremely expensive. The

 

AC is currently discharging thousands of personnel with many of the skills that technicians are

 

being paid to perform as civilians and as members of a unit. The AGR Program is also populated

 

by many personnel that could be replaced by members of the AC at less cost. This infusion of

 

highly qualified soldiers and airmen fresh from AC units would bring the latest doctrine and

 

training techniques to units to which they are assigned.

 

 

These AC personnel should not be assigned to the National Guard. They should be assigned to

 

the Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve to replace the technicians and AGR personnel currently

 

in those elements of the RC. These soldiers and airmen would become the nucleus of a newly

 

revitalized Army and Air Force Reserve. These components would develop the required

 

* Source: (11:25)

 

capabilities to bring the Total Force into the 21st century. Given the U.S. economic situation and

 

taking into consideration the demise of the Soviet Union, we cannot afford and do not need the

 

National Guard. The ARNG is formed into units that perform 38 different capabilities. Of these

 

capabilities, all but eight are resident within the Army Reserve. The ANG is organized into flying

 

and non-flying units that perform 21 different capabilities. Of these capabilities, all but ten are also

 

resident in the Air Force Reserve. (8:17) This redundancy is unnecessary and expensive.

 

 

The cost of maintaining the National Guard is difficult to compute. The Department of

 

Defense estimates that a National Guard mechanized division costs about 38.9% as much as an

 

active mechanized division over the long term. (8:64) A comparison between an active Air Force

 

F-16C/D squadron to a like ANG squadron shows that the ANG squadron costs 75.3% as much

 

to operate over the long term. The only difference between the squadrons is that the active

 

squadron flies 8,134 hours per year while the ANG squadron flies 5,064 hours per year. (8:79)

 

 

The National Guard budget authority for 1986 was $7.963 billion dollars. This amount was

 

appropriated for personnel, military construction, and operations and maintenance. (3:38) The

 

additional costs related to base security, medical expenses, upkeep of facilities, and many other

 

services do not get factored into the annual National Guard budget. By disestablishing the entire

 

National Guard, the Department of Defense will save billions of dollars annually. More important,

 

the AC/RC force mix will be capable of responding to future appliation of military force more

 

efficiently and effectively than ever before.

 

 

President Clinton can cut the defense budget by $100 billion over the next five years and end

 

up with a leaner and meaner force of the future. By using discretion in cutting the AC structure,

 

coupled with a complete overhaul of the RC; he can structure the military based upon the required

 

capabilities that future application of force will require. The successful military of the future will

 

consist of balanced and flexible forces that are not encumbered by the excess baggage costs

 

associated with maintaining the National Guard.

 

 

Bibliography

 

1. Defense 92. Pamphlet published by Department of Defense. Washington, DC: May 1992.

 

2. Defense 92. Pamphlet published by Department of Defense. Washington, DC: September

1992.

 

3. Department of Defense. Annual Report of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Fiscal Year

1985. Washington, DC: 1986.

 

4. Department of Defense. Annual Report to the President and the Congress. Washington,

DC: February 1992.

 

5. Department of Defense. Annual Report to the President and the Congress. Washington,

DC: January 1993.

 

6. Department of Defense. Official Guard and Reserve Manpower Strengths and Statistics.

Washington, DC: June 1991.

 

7. Department of Defense. Title V Report to the Congress on Military Operations During the

Gulf War. Washington, DC: 1992.

 

8. Department of Defense. Total Force Policy Report to the Congress. Supplement.

Washington, DC: May 1991.

 

9. Gandy, Raymond E. Jr. COL, USAR. Are the "Minute Men" Fast Enough? Study

Project. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, April 1991.

 

10. Mahon, John K. History of the Militia and the National Guard. New York, NY:

Macmillian Publishing Company, 1983.

 

11. Marines Almanac. Pamphlet published by Marines Magazine. Washington, DC:

December 1992.

 

12. Powell, Colin L. GEN, USA. Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Washington, DC: 3 December 1990.

 

13. United States Army Concepts Analysis Agency. Evolution of U. S. Army Force Structure,

Volume I. Bethesda, MD: July 1989.

 

14. United States Army Concepts Analysis Agency. Evolution of U. S. Army Force Structure,

Volume II. Bethesda, MD: July 1989.

 

15. U. S. Department of the Army Inspector General. "Special Assessment of Mobilization--

Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM." Washington, DC: May 1992.

 



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