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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






The National Guard: Balanced and Flexible or Baggage?






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




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



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)


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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.


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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)


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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.


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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





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.


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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.





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



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.


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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.


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December 1992.


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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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