Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Guard Readiness 
A new congressional report says that the Guard is short of equipment.

Yep. But that's not a direct result of the war so much as the cumulative result of decades of neglect, with Guard units making do with Active component hand-me-downs. Then when guardsmen do go to war, they have to climb a steep learning curve as they get hands on new equipment for the first time.

My own unit deployed with trucks hopelessly unsuited to the task. While the rest of the Army had double axel deuces, five tons, and HEMM-Ts and LMTVs, we were using ancient, decrepid M35A3s, so fragile that they couldn't be sandbagged to protect troops without damaging the suspensions, and so old that we couldn't even get parts for them in theater. The Army didn't carry them on their system. The trucks were incompatible with the Army logistical system.

That wasn't the war. That was just bad or cheap procurement over the years, over both Republican and Democrat administrations, both at the state and federal level.

In the long run, you get what you pay for. And we didn't get much.

When a whole Brigade deploys, of course they're going to take their equipment with them. But if the troops are gone, you don't need so much equipment, do you?

You would think we could fix this by having a standard brigade civil defense gear plus-up that goes to whatever state is mobilizing a Guard brigade. This includes a basic, abbreviated package of communications gear, C3 stuff, including radio-compatible command hummvees, some bare bones troop transport capabilities, a couple of wreckers, and some engineer equipment...bulldozers, ACEs -- whatever they typically need for disaster support.

This is a national reserve that moves around as brigades deploy. States have months to plan the shortage and coordinate receipt.

Doesn't seem like a huge deal to me, if the NGB had the congressional support it deserves.

Splash, out


OK, Jason, I usually agree with you but I'll call you on this one. Here's the lede:

Congressional investigators have found that the Defense Department does not adequately track National Guard equipment needs for domestic missions, raising questions about whether the state-run units have adequate supplies to respond to disasters and emergencies on U.S. soil

You're mixing apples and oranges. While what you say about equipping some NG units' TOEs is true, the article is about domestic missions. Not DoD's lane as much as the states'. DoD provides equipment for their tactical missions. If that doesn't provide assets for domestic missions, states should augment. DoD shouldn't provide NG units with zodiacs for those in flood-prone zones for example. At least not routinely. If congress earmarks funds for such an augmentation, then that's an added burden on the federal budget mandated by congress that DoD then has to use "Defense" spending to fulfill. Yes, NG units should have equipment designed to local disasters, but those packages should be configured and paid for by state because it's the states that know better what's needed in their respective areas, and it's the states that derive the benefit. In those cases where a guard unit has a national disaster response mission like the DoD consequence management teams, then, yes, the feds should pay for the gear.
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