Gates Says Guard, Reserve Roles Need Examining

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011 — The Defense Depart­ment is tak­ing a look at the roles of the Nation­al Guard and reserve com­po­nents, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.
Gates spoke to the men and women of Task Force Cur­ra­hee, a unit built around the 101st Air­borne Division’s 4th Brigade , and based in Pak­ti­ka province.

The sec­re­tary thanked the sol­diers for their ser­vice dur­ing a town hall meet­ing and took ques­tions. One sol­dier asked about the future of the reserve components. 

Gates said he has been con­cerned about the Guard and reserves since he took office in 2006. “One of my con­cerns when I took the job was my con­cern that after 9/11, we pulled a kind of bait and switch on the Nation­al Guard,” he said. 

Since World War II, the Nation­al Guard always had been a strate­gic reserve, and those sign­ing up for ser­vice gen­er­al­ly trained one week­end a month and two weeks in the sum­mer. They under­stood they would be called up for nation­al dis­as­ters or great nation­al crises. Instead, they “found them­selves ulti­mate­ly being deployed for 15 months in the field,” the sec­re­tary said. 

Since then, of course, the real­i­ty is that every­one who has joined the Guard and reserve has known they were going in to the fight, he said. 

But this is an issue for reservists. The depart­ment is ask­ing what are the right roles for the Guard and reserve going for­ward, Gates said. 

One sug­ges­tion is that the Guard be divid­ed into a strate­gic reserve and an oper­a­tional reserve, with each group trained, paid and equipped dif­fer­ent­ly, the sec­re­tary said. 

Anoth­er sug­ges­tion calls for mov­ing more of the Army’s heavy infantry brigade com­bat teams into the Nation­al Guard. 

“These are ques­tions we are look­ing at, but we need to do some hard think­ing,” he said, “because we could not have done what we did in Iraq and do what we’re doing here in Afghanistan with­out the oper­a­tional engage­ment of the Guard.” 

What­ev­er hap­pens, the Guard is going to con­tin­ue to have an oper­a­tional role, Gates said. “How much of the Guard that involves, and how we sit­u­ate the Guard and reserve going for­ward is still a ques­tion every­body is look­ing at,” he said. 

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

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

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

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →