I am really going to piss some people off with my comments today; so be it!
It appears that Congress has knuckled under to the most ruthless lobbying organization in our nation, the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and are going to approve a provision that the Chief of the National Guard Bureau become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A lesser known provision calls for the Army and Air Force to appoint National Guard Officers as the Commander of Army North and Air Force North; both of which are currently commanded by a Lieutenant General. In the last decade NGAUS has succeeded in:
- Having the Chief of the National Guard Bureau elevated to General from Lieutenant General,
- Having the Deputy Commander or Commander position filled by a National Guard Officer; currently a Lieutenant General Deputy Commander,
- Making the Chief of NGB as General and adding a Deputy Chief of NGB as a Lieutenant General,
- Insisting that the Commanders of Army and Air Force North be a National Guard Officer.
For those keeping count here are the change in General Officers:
- General 0 to 1 (Chief of National Guard Bureau)
- Lieutenant General 3 to 7 (Chief of National Guard Bureau, Directors of the Army and Air National Guard to Deputy Chief of NGB, Directors of the Army and Air National Guard, Deputy Commander NORTHCOM, Commanders Army and Air Force North.)
It would seem that the National Guard has never ending appetite for creating new opportunities to be a high ranking General Officer. How long before they demand the Chief of the National Guard be the equivalent to a General of the Army?
So why is all of this bad you ask?
Let me highlight some areas:
- The Chief of the National Guard Bureau has no service Title 10 responsibilities.
- 10 USC § 10502 defines the role and responsibilities of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau; to wit,
- “c) Advisor on National Guard Matters.—The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is—
- (1) a principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense, through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on matters involving non-federalized National Guard forces and on other matters as determined by the Secretary of Defense; and
- (2) the principal adviser to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army, and to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, on matters relating to the National Guard, the Army National Guard of the United States, and the Air National Guard of the United States.”
- “c) Advisor on National Guard Matters.—The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is—
The National Guard Bureau as specified in is responsible for the following: 10 USC §10503. Functions of National Guard Bureau: charter
- “The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of the Army, and the Secretary of the Air Force, shall develop and prescribe a charter for the National Guard Bureau. The charter shall reflect the full scope of the duties and activities of the Bureau, including the following matters:
- (1) Allocating unit structure, strength authorizations, and other resources to the Army National Guard of the United States and the Air National Guard of the United States.
- (2) The role of the National Guard Bureau in support of the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force.
- (3) Prescribing the training discipline and training requirements for the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard and the allocation of Federal funds for the training of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.
- (4) Ensuring that units and members of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are trained by the States in accordance with approved programs and policies of, and guidance from, the Chief, the Secretary of the Army, and the Secretary of the Air Force.
- (5) Monitoring and assisting the States in the organization, maintenance, and operation of National Guard units so as to provide well-trained and well-equipped units capable of augmenting the active forces in time of war or national emergency.
- (6) Planning and administering the budget for the Army National Guard of the United States and the Air National Guard of the United States.
- (7) Supervising the acquisition and supply of, and accountability of the States for, Federal property issued to the National Guard through the property and fiscal officers designated, detailed, or appointed under section 708 of title 32.
- (8) Granting and withdrawing, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, Federal recognition of (A) National Guard units, and (B) officers of the National Guard.
- (9) Establishing policies and programs for the employment and use of National Guard technicians under section 709 of title 32.
- (10) Supervising and administering the Active Guard and Reserve program as it pertains to the National Guard.
- (11) Issuing directives, regulations, and publications consistent with approved policies of the Army and Air Force, as appropriate.
- (12) Facilitating and supporting the training of members and units of the National Guard to meet State requirements.
- (13)(A) Assisting the Secretary of Defense in facilitating and coordinating with the entities listed in subparagraph (B) the use of National Guard personnel and resources for operations conducted under title 32, or in support of State missions.
- (B) The entities listed in this subparagraph for purposes of subparagraph (A) are the following:
- (i) Other Federal agencies.
- (ii) The Adjutants General of the States.
- (iii) The United States Joint Forces Command.
- (iv) The combatant command the geographic area of responsibility of which includes the United States.
- (14) Such other functions as the Secretary of Defense may prescribe”
Despite what NGAUS and others might think; the Chief National Guard Bureau functions do not equate with those of the Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Air Force. What the Guard is concerned about is that the Army and Air Force might reduce the size of the Guard or not ensure they get the newest equipment. Not sure why they are worried, they will simply do what they always do, just like they did to get a seat, turn to their friends in Congress who will force the services to up procurement exclusively for the National Guard.
Even more outrageous is Congress telling the Army and Air Force that the Commanders of Army and Air Force North have to be National Guard Officers. Of course the services could have the last laugh; while both of those positions are Lieutenant General Positions currently, the respective services could decide to downgrade the Commanding General’s position to Major General or Brigadier General.
If NGAUS truly wants to be the equal of the Regular Army here some steps they can take, and then maybe they can ask for more:
- Get rid of the bogus State OCS programs—they are a joke
- Quit promoting people through the use of “Position Vacancy” promotion boards
- Make members of the NG meet the same educational standards as the regular Army and Air Force; quit accepting bogus degrees from online colleges
- Quit protecting toxic leaders, everyone knew a recently relieved Guard Colonel in Iraq was a toxic leader when he was a Captain, yet no one did anything.
- Meet the standards. If you want to know how bad it is here is an article out of the Atlanta Journal Constitution where a retired Brigadier General claims that the then Adjutant General fired him as an act of reprisal for reporting ethical violation to the Department of the Army Inspector General. (Having lived in Georgia and having served as a Department of Army Inspector General I have no doubt that the claim by the General is correct.)
But I also have a piece of advice both the Army and Air Force regulars; quit disparaging the service of the Army and Air National Guardsman. Maybe they don’t know as much as the lifers, but then again, particularly the Army would not had the ability to rotate forces in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan if it was not for the Army Guard and Army Reserves.
I finally got around to reading the new Army ADP 3.0 (FM 3.0) Unified Land Operations. Every Chief of Staff sees the need to update FM 3.0 not sure that is necessary. A couple of thoughts:
- It is short, sweet, and simple 28 pages; however there is no depth of understanding.
- The specified Role of the Army reads like a press release;
- “3. The United States Army is America’s sons and daughters, men and women of courage and character, and leaders of consequence—bonded together in a profession of Arms—organized, trained, and equipped to be the most decisive land force in the world. We are a clear symbol of national resolve and commitment. From start to finish, in the lead or in support, we remain ready to shape, influence, engage, deter, and prevail.”
- I highlighted the phrase that gets to the heart; unfortunately we are focusing on big operations, not what the Army has historically done. Every General wants to be Napoleon or Patton; the reality is we are more likely to be doing missions that look very similar to what we did on the American frontier.
- Still not sure what unified action is; what are we getting at.
- Figure 1. Unified land operations underlying logic leads one to believe that the military will be in the lead; don’t think this is the case particularly in the case of support to Civil Authorities. There are cases where the military could be subordinate to Department of Homeland Security or even the Department of State.
- There are some aspects of the Unified Land Operations that are good, but on the whole I think it needs more work.