Effort to Bring Army, National Guard Closer May Result in Redesign | Military.com

An effort to mend fences between the Army and the National Guard could lead to a radical redesign of both, a retired general heading a congressionally-appointed panel on the future of the service said.Gen. Carter Ham brought members of the National Commission of the Future of the Army to Colorado Springs on a fact-finding tour last week as part of the group’s charter to recommend ways to restructure the Army, Army Reserve and Army Guard. The commission was formed after a protracted battle over resources between the Guard and the Army became a public fight before House and Senate committees earlier this year.Ham’s job: Make the Army’s three components work better together.”Fractures between the three components of the Army are unhealthy,” Ham said. “It is the total force of the Army that has to work in concert.”The commission won’t issue a report until February, but early indications point to a bigger role for part time troops as the Army cuts its active-duty force to 450,000 soldiers.Ham, for instance, envisioned “reserve component units able to respond more quickly than our current models.”

Source: Effort to Bring Army, National Guard Closer May Result in Redesign | Military.com

Every decade or so, the active Army and the Guard fight a political battle over force structure and organization. And each side has very powerful political allies.

And every time, the argument comes down to “reserve component units able to respond more quickly than our current models.”

The problem is, you simply cannot achieve the levels of readiness and training in a part time unit that you can in an active one. And should you achieve an ability to quickly generate ready Guard units, you bump into the problem that part time soldiers have full time jobs in the civilian sector. Repeated call ups to active duty (in addition to the times they’re called to state service) forces people to chose between their civilian commitments and their military service. And more often than not, they’ll chose the civilian route- thus robbing the Guard units of their readiness.

While I teased the Nasty Girls while on active duty (I’m pretty sure there’s a section of AR 600-200 that mandates that) I’ll also acknowledge that many Guardsmen served with great distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. That they did so often involved a greater sacrifice in terms of putting aside their home life to an extent greater than many active duty troops.


9 thoughts on “Effort to Bring Army, National Guard Closer May Result in Redesign | Military.com”


    Please keep an eye on this issue. As a former member of the CalARNG, I am interested and you are my best line on these sorts of things.


  2. Some differences can never go away based on many factors, training time being first and foremost. That said, since the Vietnam War the skill gap has continued to close more and more. In some units soldiers after having served AD in Afganistan/Iraq etc. come into the RC (both Guard and Reserve) and know people. It’s as if a PCS only was involved. Until the 50 kingdoms each with their own King (Governor), are brought into line with a truly integrated command (as opposed to AD in the Pentagon and the ARNG in Falls Church, VA) nothing will probably change but a paradigm shift is sorely needed.

  3. I clicked to read the whole article…the picture is my old unit with one soldier I recognize. All the rest in the picture are too young for me to know or recognize but then that’s the way it is. Great article, true on many though not all points.

  4. At the very end of my tour as an aviation advisor, we started training AF Reserve C-130 guys to be advisors. Although they were all older than the usual O-3s and E-5s we usually had through our pipeline, they did a great job. Since being an advisor depends on experience, judgement and authority, using older, more seasoned aircrew made a lot of sense to me.

    I know the Army had talked a lot about using their NG guys in more advisor roles. Has anyone heard anything recent about that trend?

    1. Pave Low, it’s been actually a good 10 years or so but within a certain mixing of AD/RC personnel and in part for the reasons you articulate. I’m professionally glad to know you had a rewarding experience. After my AD first tour (68-71), I ended up in the NG and not entirely impressed with the caliber of soldiers outside of the 36th Airborne Brigade which I joined. Those days have gone for quite the most part. APFT standards are unilateral as the standard is the same across the AD/NG/RC line(s). It’ll continue to improve I believe as a matter of ongoing conflict globally. I personally favor the Navy/Marine system of full time personnel in RC units being AD assignments or billets. In ARNG (and ANG) those personnel are selected from within with mixed results. Just one man’s opinion.

  5. When I was in the TNARNG I kept hearing the NG was more prepared for war than the AD units. I never bought that.

    The NG won a political battle years ago and became the primary reserve component for the Army (don’t know about the AF), but still wanted to call the shots in their own realm. That’s something that needs to be brought to a screeching halt if they really want to be what they say they are. The men that came from Redstone to conduct inspections at AT and the FTXs at Campbell didn’t have too high an opinion of the NG, but they knew they were stuck with the system and did their best, as did we.

    My observation is the major problem is the state admins that own the units. The Govs see them as their personal Army at their beck and call for what ever reason, and the State Adjutants play the political game to maintain a status they want on paper, but don’t really do that well at.

    I’m not surprised NG troops do well when sent to combat zones. They can shake down and learn what they need to learn. They can be good troops, even if the state leadership is mediocre, which is all to often the case.

  6. “I’ll also acknowledge that many Guardsmen served with great distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. ”

    True, but oh so very very wrong.

    I suppose its just an opinion, but in mine, you call up your reserves when Hannibal is at the gates, or possibly when you’re at his.

  7. One point all are up against is US CODE Title 10 vice TITLE 32. A Titie 32 National Guardsman (i.e., non-mobilized), BY LAW, cannot do any work during the 40 hour work week which entails Title 10 (i.e., active duty) work.

    That si why during disasters getting the declaration of federal disaster area is key…many additional resource avenues open up. Prior to that point the costs come out of state coffers.

    MON-FRI almost all the personnel you see across the country in the ARNG are military technicians. They are GS employees. They handle the personnel, resource management and sustainment operations of their State equipment and troops. EVeryone of them are also drilling National Guard soldiers…and belong to troop units on weekends.

    I know an infantry battalion XO in the VA ARNG who during the work week is a budget analyst in the State Resource Management office as a GS-11.

    And I write this in the breakroom of the JFHQ building of the RI ARNG as I am fielding a new Army Sustainemnt and finance system to the RI ARNG.

    Everyone here is a Title 32 technician.

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