Heads Up!

In the (e)mail bag:

The Issue: Proposed National Guard Force Reductions
Immediate Action Required: Contact your Senators and ask them to support and sign the Senate Guard Caucus letter to Secretary Rumsfeld

Force Reduction:
Recent reports have indicated that the Department of Defense is planning to ask Congress to cut the size of the National Guard in its Fiscal Year 2007 budget request. The cuts would shrink the Army National Guard by 17,000 and reduce the Air National Guard by an unspecified number. The National Guard Association of the United States strongly opposes this action.

The Pentagon's proposal would undermine the Guard's ability to fulfill its diverse mission. We urge you to contact your Senators and ask them to sign Senators Bond and Leahy's "Dear Colleague" letter that asks Secretary Rumsfeld to reconsider these proposed cuts.
A complete summary of documents pertinent to the proposed action is available on the NGAUS home page www.ngaus.org - Click "DoD Considers Guard Cuts"
PLEASE TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTION: By using WRITE TO CONGRESS that can be accessed from the NGAUS web page www.ngaus.org you can contact your Congressional Members via e-mail and send a pre written message immediately by entering your zip code in the available space provided or you can write your own.
Contact friends and family and urge them to support the Guard Family as well

This completely befuddles me. At this time in American history, we need way more ground maneuver brigades (the next century’s legions) not less! Plus the Guard’s dual mission allows it the flexibility to respond to local disasters like flood and hurricane duty. Decreasing the Guard numbers makes absolutely no sense –transforming them does. Make FA and ADA units into Infantry, relocate some armories, but don’t freaking cut entire units. Let’s see what else the magical Google machine can dredge up:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. state governors called on the Pentagon on Thursday not to make cuts in the National Guard, calling such a move "inconceivable" considering the role played by Guard troops in Iraq, disaster relief and homeland defense.
"We need more Guard troops at this time, not less," the National Governors Association wrote to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a letter signed by Govs. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho and Michael Easley of North Carolina.
The National Guard's part-time troops come under the command of state governors for use in natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and other domestic emergencies, and also can be mobilized by the Pentagon for overseas duty. The Pentagon has relied heavily on Guard soldiers for combat duty in Iraq.

Army Secretary Francis Harvey said on Wednesday the Army had decided to fund the Army National Guard at its current level of 333,000 soldiers rather than the congressionally authorized level of 350,000. But Harvey argued that "there's no cut in force structure of the Guard at all."
Huh? If the Guard is at 350,000, and you’re only going to fund 333,000, THAT’S a CUT! More from the WaPo:

Army to Slow Growth and Cut 6 National Guard Combat Brigades
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 19, 2006; A03

The Army announced yesterday that it will cut six National Guard combat brigades -- or up to 24,000 infantry and other combat troops -- as part of an effort to ease budgetary pressures and shift manpower into homeland defense missions.
In addition to scaling back the guard's combat brigades to 28 from 34, the active-duty Army will add one fewer combat brigade than it had planned, ending up with 42 instead of 43, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey told a Pentagon news briefing yesterday. As a result, the Army in coming years will grow to 70 instead of the anticipated 77 active-duty and National Guard combat brigades to respond to overseas and domestic contingencies, Harvey said. In 2003, the Army had 67 combat brigades, Army officials said.
"This force structure we think is appropriate to the threat," Harvey said, explaining that the change resulted from a broad review of Pentagon strategy and resources that will bemade public next month with the new defense budget.
The changes suggest that budgetary pressures are exerting limits on the expensive manpower increases that the Army initiated in recent years in its struggle to meet demands in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also reflect recruiting difficulties, as well as a greater National Guard emphasis on homeland missions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The six National Guard combat brigades -- 3,500-to-4,000-troop infantry and armor units at the core of the Army's war- fighting force -- will be replaced by brigades made up of engineers, military police, civil affairs soldiers, and other support troops "very appropriate for homeland defense missions," Harvey said.

Look, when you’ve got the Guard and Reserve component hovering around 50% of the combat-deployed troops, cutting doesn’t solve the problem. I’m writing my Congressmen on this after I check some more things out on this. Snipers in the audience, feel free to let a few rounds go in the comments if I missed anything on this.


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