National Guard to undergo major overhaul

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, head of the National Guard Bureau, announced Friday that the 466,000-member institution will soon begin a wide-ranging reorganization that will affect personnel in every state, territory and the District of Columbia.

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, one month into his tenure as the new chief of the National Guard Bureau, announced Friday that the 466,000-member institution will soon begin a wide-ranging reorganization that will affect personnel in every state, territory and the District of Columbia.

Under the plan, which Blum was to discuss with state adjutants general at a meeting in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, two-thirds of the Guard's state headquarters offices would be eliminated and hundreds of troops would likely be reassigned to new positions in units facing personnel shortfalls.

"We are no longer a Cold War strategic reserve," Blum told reporters Friday at a Pentagon briefing. "We have really got to adjust to the new modern realities."

The National Guard, which has a proud history that predates the Constitution, has both state and federal responsibilities. The Defense Department trains and equips Army and Air National Guard units across the country for military operations, but state governors maintain control over those troops when they are not serving in a federal capacity. Governors rely on National Guard troops to provide vital assistance during natural disasters and periods of civil unrest, and they have increasingly turned to the Guard for help in boosting security against terrorism. Those same troops are subject to federal call-up, however, which can complicate planning for both state and federal officials. Currently, about 150,000 Army and Air National Guard troops are deployed on military missions, primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Blum is particularly sensitive to the increased demands now being placed on the National Guard both at home and abroad. Before assuming the top position at the National Guard Bureau he served as chief of staff at Northern Command, the Defense Department's newly-established organization devoted to homeland defense.

"We need to change the way we think," Blum said. "It doesn't mean that we will walk away from our traditional war-fight role. We will leverage existing capabilities so that we are able to defend the homeland, whether we have to defend it as an away game, abroad, or whether we have to do it right here in our homeland."

The reorganization will begin by eliminating 108 headquarters offices across the country. Right now, each state essentially has three headquarters: a state office, an Army National Guard headquarters, and an Air National Guard headquarters. "That's too much bloat, and we can no longer tolerate that," Blum said. In the coming months those redundant headquarters will be consolidated, with each state maintaining a single, joint Army and Air Force headquarters.

In addition, the National Guard will improve its ability to respond to chemical and biological threats, Blum said. "By the end of this year we will have chem-bio capable units that can do mass decontamination, that can do urban search and rescue, that can identify agents, that can advise the incident commander and build on an incident command system and help them with their command and control, that can bridge communications between DoD communication systems and local first responders," he said.

This enhanced capability will grow from the 32 Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams the National Guard currently maintains to respond to such threats.

Officials in the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are studying further changes to the mix of skills and capabilities across the active and reserve component forces, which, in addition to the National Guard, include federal Reserve forces for each of the military services. The Reserve units differ from the National Guard in that they do not have state functions, but operate solely to support the active military force. Like National Guard troops, they are activated for military service by presidential call-up.

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and the end of the Cold War, Defense officials have debated the future role of the National Guard. Pentagon plans to significantly cut and realign the force in the mid-1990s were scaled back after the politically well-connected Guard fought the changes on Capitol Hill. But the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the resulting security requirements at home and abroad have altered the political climate.

Blum said he was confident that the adjutants general, whose support will be critical, would endorse the plan: "They are trained military professionals. They understand their Constitutional base. They will rise to the occasion, and we will do the right thing."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.