The National Guard and Reserves: Not ready

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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The simultaneous burdens of warfare and homeland defense have battered the National Guard and Reserves, leaving them thinly staffed, underequipped and on the verge of collapse, a blue-ribbon panel with strong ties to San Diego concluded yesterday in a report to Congress.

“They are at their lowest level of readiness in decades. They'll continue to be less and less ready,” said Arnold Punaro, chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves and an executive for Scientific Applications International Corp., a San Diego defense contractor. [continued]
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/military/20070302-9999-1m2guard.html [Broken]

As we anti-Bushers have said along, as we see with the southern US border, and as we saw with Katrina, which may as well have been a full scale terrorist attack, rather than doing his job and protecting the US, Bush has been off on a wild goose chase. And hitting close to home, if our Governer here in Oregon hadn't stood up to Rummy, they would have taken away our Nat Guard fighter jets. Sometimes it makes one wonder whose side they're on.

If he really wanted to fight war, then Bush should have called for a draft, but apparently he didn't really want to fight a war.

Consider also, Walter Reed...
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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...And the report concluded the "'operational reserve,' meaning the Guard and Reserves, is not sustainable over time." The final report of the commission will be presented to Congress and the secretary of defense early next year.

...JUDY WOODRUFF: And with me is retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro. He is chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves.[continued with text and video]
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june07/military_03-01.html [Broken]

I believe it to be imperative that as a highest priorety, we restore the strength and integrity of the guard and reserves.

Note that equipment taken to Iraq is not typically returned.
 
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  • #3
turbo
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http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june07/military_03-01.html [Broken]

I believe it to be imperative that as a highest priorety, we restore the strength and integrity of the guard and reserves.

Note that equipment taken to Iraq is not typically returned.
That may be very difficult after the way that they have been abused. I don't imagine that recruitment is an easy sell when radicals in the administration seem to want to use only military options instead of diplomatic ones. It's easy enough to replace gear - harder to get hearts and minds. It's funny that the military still wants to get rid of gays, but faced with recruitment shortfalls, they are now recruiting felons.
 
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  • #4
Astronuc
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Gates rejects emergency command proposal
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070509/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/national_guard_authority [Broken]

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has rejected a proposal to let governors command active duty troops responding to disasters, officials said Wednesday, though the Pentagon will grant National Guard leaders more authority to coordinate with other military and homeland security agencies.

Gates told Congress Wednesday he had approved 20 of the 23 changes recommended recently by an independent commission in an effort to improve Guard funding, equipment and coordination in emergencies.

His comments came just days after tornadoes in Kansas highlighted deficiencies with Guard equipment and gaps in planning that were exposed by the Gulf hurricanes more than 18 months ago.

Gates did not reveal which recommendations from the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves that he rejected. But two defense officials familiar with the matter told The Associated Press he didn't agree with the panel's suggestion that governors be allowed to direct active duty troops responding to emergencies in their states.
Déjà vu - the scratched record of the Bush administration.

So the Bush motto is - if it's broke, don't fix it?
 
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  • #5
Futobingoro
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2315076.html?page=1 [Broken] -an interesting read

I think a lot of the Katrina (and now Greensburg) hype is due to the media's obsession with frontline journalism. If you compare two identical disasters, the one with more helicopter overflights and impassioned commentary is the worse disaster. It is all too easy to watch aerial footage of the debris (filmed only hours after the event) and ask, "Where is the federal response?"

It will always be that way as long as journalists can travel more lightly than the rescue crews. I argue that the response is not becoming less effective. Rather, the media (with their satellite communications and helicopters) are becoming more capable of outpacing the recovery efforts, all in the name of chasing that story.
 
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  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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If we only have 40% of the equipment for rescues, we are 60% slower in responding. That is not hype, it is simple math. Of course the Bush admin tries to hide this by referring to the number of troops, but troops without equipment are all but useless.

There is no excuse for leaving this country vulnerable to fight a hyped war. And beyond a doubt that is where we find the hype.

I think it was the Governer of Kansas who complained about the loss of equipment to Iraq, this week, which impeded the response to the tornados.

Rummy tried to take our Nat Guard jets but our wonderful Governer stopped him.
 
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  • #7
russ_watters
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Important comment from the article:
MYTH: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime event."--New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, press conference, Aug. 28, 2005

REALITY: Though many accounts portray Katrina as a storm of unprecedented magnitude, it was in fact a large, but otherwise typical, hurricane.

NEXT TIME: According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the Atlantic is in a cycle of heightened hurricane activity due to higher sea-surface temperatures and other factors. The cycle could last 40 years, during which time the United States can expect to be hit by dozens of Katrina-size storms. Policymakers--and coastal residents--need to start seeing hurricanes as routine weather events, not once-in-a-lifetime anomalies.
People treat hurricanes as anomalies and don't prepare for them. Yet earthquake preparedness is built into the building codes - to absurd levels in areas like the northeastern US. Why?
 
  • #8
russ_watters
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I think it was the Governer of Kansas who complained about the loss of equipment to Iraq, this week, which impeded the response to the tornados.
Rediculous. Greensboro was a town of 1,400 people. The amount of equipment and personnel needed to respond to that disaster is miniscule and there was plenty (enough that the commanding general expressed that they had to be careful that they didn't send too much that it would get in the way). That's just a democratic governor looking for political capital at the expense of her constituents. It is disgusting how politicians have such low morality that they would use the deaths of their own people in a natural disaster for political capital.
“So I asked, privately and publicly, the adjutant general, do you have the equipment you need?” he said. “Because if you don’t, we’re going to hit Fort Riley and McConnell (Air Force Base) and other places to make sure we have all the equipment we need to respond to disasters. Everybody there said no, we have the equipment we needed.”

He added: “I think what we need to do is to focus on what we need here now, and not draw a broader political question in. We’ve got a disaster, and we need to all pull together to get everything we need from the state and the federal for the local need.”
http://stoptheaclu.com/

Here's the NPR report....which btw doesn't just contradict the governor, but it also contradicts its own title. So much for the myth of NPR's neutrality. :rolleyes: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10073323

Edit: ehh, she took it all back anyway. I guess she realized it could be seen as an admission that her state was weak - the blame game is dangerous when the primary responsibility is clearly your own:
About the same time, Sebelius was doing her own backpedal from across the country.

Her spokeswoman, Nicole Corcoran, said the governor didn't mean to imply that the state was ill-equipped to deal with this storm. Sebelius' comments about National Guard equipment were, instead, meant as a warning about the state's inability to handle additional disasters, such as another tornado or severe flooding, she said.

"We are doing absolutely fine right now," Corcoran said. "What the governor is talking about is down the road."
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BUSH_TORNADO?SITE=NCGRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-05-08-14-43-48 [Broken]

National Guard invoked for this disaster:
More than 300 members of the Kansas National Guard have been activated in response to a powerful tornado that almost destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kan., May 4.
That's 300 rescuers/recovery/security personnel for a storm with 100 casualties.

Actual national guard forces available to Kansas:
Currently, the Kansas National Guard has 88 percent of its forces available, 60 percent of its Army Guard dual-use equipment on hand, and more than 85 percent of its Air Guard equipment on hand, said Randal Noller, public affairs officer for the National Guard Bureau. Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a national partnership agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during governor or federally declared emergencies, Kansas has more than 400,000 Guardsmen available to it, he pointed out. However, Kansas has not yet requested assistance from other states. [emphasis added]
http://www.army.mil/-news/2007/05/08/3018-national-guard-responds-to-kansas-tornado/
 
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  • #9
russ_watters
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http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2315076.html?page=1 [Broken] -an interesting read
Good article. Yes, despite all the finger-pointing (yes, there were some botched efforts), the actual magnitude of the response was downright staggering.
Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.
And quite frankly, a lot of heads in the media should be rolling over the horrible misreporting of the Katrina disaster. A great deal of what people are upset over quite simply didn't happen:
Both public officials and the press passed along lurid tales of post-Katrina mayhem: shootouts in the Superdome, bodies stacked in a convention center freezer, snipers firing on rescue helicopters. And those accounts appear to have affected rescue efforts as first responders shifted resources from saving lives to protecting rescuers. In reality, although looting and other property crimes were widespread after the flooding on Monday, Aug. 29, almost none of the stories about violent crime turned out to be true. Col. Thomas Beron, the National Guard commander of Task Force Orleans, arrived at the Superdome on Aug. 29 and took command of 400 soldiers. He told PM that when the Dome's main power failed around 5 am, "it became a hot, humid, miserable place. There was some pushing, people were irritable. There was one attempted rape that the New Orleans police stopped."[emphasis added]
 
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