Active, Reserve Relationship Forever Changed, Panetta Says

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The rela­tion­ship between the active duty and the reserve com­po­nents has fun­da­men­tal­ly changed in the past 10 years, Defense Sec­re­tary Leon Panet­ta said here today.

“All told, more than 370,000 Guards­men have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001, many of them mul­ti­ple times,” he said to the Nation­al Guard’s Joint Senior Lead­ers Con­ven­tion. “It’s a sim­ple, and wide­ly rec­og­nized, real­i­ty that we could not have sus­tained this war effort with­out the ser­vice and con­tri­bu­tions of our Guards­men � more than 670 of whom have paid the ulti­mate price for their ser­vice.”

The Guard and oth­er reserve com­po­nents are inte­gral parts of the finest mil­i­tary in the world, the sec­re­tary said, and Guard mem­bers and their fam­i­lies have borne a heavy bur­den.

“These men and women have writ­ten a new chap­ter in this institution’s sto­ried lega­cy, and firm­ly estab­lished the Guard as a vital oper­a­tional arm of our mil­i­tary � a force far dif­fer­ent from the strate­gic reserve many envi­sioned dur­ing the Cold War,” he said.

The Air Nation­al Guard pro­vid­ed 50 per­cent of the tanker capa­bil­i­ty for U.S., NATO and allied air­craft oper­at­ing over Libya, the sec­re­tary said. “Hav­ing respond­ed to the call at a moment’s notice, Air Nation­al Guard tanker assets from 10 states were in place and ready to oper­ate the same day that the U.N. Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil passed the autho­riz­ing res­o­lu­tion,” he said.

And the Nation­al Guard also has a large state­side mis­sion. “When Hur­ri­cane Irene hit the east­ern seaboard this year, near­ly 8,000 Guard mem­bers from 18 states deployed, with equip­ment pre-posi­tioned to ensure it was avail­able for use,” he said.

The storm marked the first time the mil­i­tary des­ig­nat­ed dual-sta­tus com­man­ders in response to an emer­gency, Panet­ta not­ed. “As sec­re­tary of defense, I was proud to be able to par­tic­i­pate in this new approach to fos­ter­ing greater coop­er­a­tion between fed­er­al and state author­i­ties.”

The sec­re­tary tout­ed the move toward bol­ster­ing the Guard’s capa­bil­i­ty to respond to the hor­rif­ic pos­si­bil­i­ty of a chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, radi­o­log­i­cal or nuclear inci­dent. The Guard has stood up 10 home­land response forces pre­pared to deploy with­in hours to save lives and pro­vide essen­tial com­mand and con­trol and secu­ri­ty capa­bil­i­ties.

“Whether engaged in these domes­tic sup­port mis­sions or serv­ing on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, the men and women of today’s Nation­al Guard have proven them­selves to be an extreme­ly effec­tive oper­a­tional force over a decade of great demand,” Panet­ta said.

The Guard’s equip­ment is often the same or even ahead of their active-duty coun­ter­parts, the sec­re­tary said, and the qual­i­ty of per­son­nel has sky­rock­et­ed. “The Guard and reserve are increas­ing­ly indis­tin­guish­able from the active com­po­nent,” he said. And active and reserve com­po­nent per­son­nel of all ser­vices have worked togeth­er close­ly for a decade. That expe­ri­ence “of fight­ing along­side each oth­er,” has built trust and respect across the force, he said.

All U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year, and in Afghanistan, Afghan secu­ri­ty forces will take over all secu­ri­ty there by the end of 2014, Panet­ta not­ed.

“While this will pro­vide Guard mem­bers and their fam­i­lies with much-need­ed respite and a more bal­anced mobi­liza­tion sched­ule, we need to be all the more thought­ful and care­ful in how we man­age the reserve com­po­nents going for­ward � par­tic­u­lar­ly because it coin­cides with a time of grow­ing fis­cal con­straint at home that will require tough deci­sions about force size and capa­bil­i­ties based on clear strate­gic pri­or­i­ties,” he said.

This does not mean that the active and reserve com­po­nents can or should go back to the old rela­tion­ship. The mil­i­tary must not for­get the lessons learned about the Nation­al Guard’s cen­tral role and rel­e­vance in the mil­i­tary of the 21st cen­tu­ry, Panet­ta said.

“A decade of war has honed the Guard into an effec­tive, lethal, fight­ing force, and it would be a tremen­dous mis­take, in my view, to put that capa­bil­i­ty back on the shelf,” he said.

Panet­ta asked the Nation­al Guard lead­ers to take back word to their troops that just as they have fought the wars the nation asked them to fight, he will fight the bat­tles in Wash­ing­ton to ensure they get what they need and deserve.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →