Thursday, January 23, 2014

Budget Fight: Creating Tension Between Active Army and Army National Guard

There is a little bit of tension developing between leaders of the active component of the Army and the Army National Guard. The tension, in part, stems from recent (Jan 14) statements made by the U.S. Army Chief General Ray Odierno about the National Guard not being able to take on some of the active-duty force's responsibilities. Odierno believes that as the active duty strength falls the Army National Guard strength should also fall.

A contrary line of thinking is that saving money could be the result of decreasing the size of the active component and increasing the size of the guard and reserve component. The reasoning is that the guard and reserves are less costly because the troops would receive part-time pay, require very little infrastructure support, and would live at home. A comparison of actual training days served between the reserve component and the active duty force would see that the cost benefit of the reserve component. Critics who say that the guard and reserve only train 39 days a month (two week annual training and monthly weekend drills) have not kept pace with the busy OPTEMPO of the reserve components over the past twelve years. Many reservists and guardsmen spend months on active duty every year participating in training events, exercises, and schools. In addition, the reserve components have sent units multiple times to deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. One constraint for additional training time for the guard and reserve is the limited amount of training and school funds provided by the active component - if this amount increases it would decrease the training gap considerably.

Read more in the news articles below:

"Air Force, Guard, Reserve: Can't They All Just Get Along", National Defense, January 10, 2014.

"Guard leaders stress readiness as budget war rages", Delaware Online, January 11, 2014.

"Trouble Brewing Between US Army's Active Duty and Guard Forces", Defense News, January 13, 2014.

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