MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM A. NAVAS, JR
The Army National Guard is in the process of enacting sweeping changes in force structure and employment policies since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Like the Active Army and the US Army Reserve, the Army National Guard has endeavored to meet the new challenges that the world presents. We have worked hard with our active and reserve counterparts to help shape the force to best serve America's interests in this decade and beyond.
The Army National Guard has undergone dramatic changes since 1989. We have reduced our end strength from 457,000 to 367,000 Including Division Redesign, the Guard has or will inactivate or otherwise convert a total of 24 brigades, thereby reducing maneuver brigades from 54 in 1989 to 30. The Army Guard has absorbed most of the USAR combat and combat support units and has turned over selected combat service support units to the USAR as part of the 1993 'AC/RC Leader's Off-Site" process. The Army Guard today is a much more balanced force than it was even 10 years ago.
The Army Guard has much to be proud of during this period as well. The quality of recruits in the Army Guard is currently very high. Category IV enlistments are only 77% of all non-prior service (NPS) recruits, below the goal of 2%. Nearly 83% of NPS prior service (NPS) recruits, below the goal of 2% Nearly 83% of NPS recruits are traditional high school graduates. The rest are all high school equivalent. The Army Guard is not currently enlisting any non-high school graduates. 50% of our enlisted personnel have 2 or more years of active duty experience. Our endstrength and accession figures have increased and our attrition rate has decreased.
The Army Guard has 4228 soldiers deployed in 32 countries around the world today participating in joint operations, nation building, peacekeeping, training with allies, and in the Partnership for Peace program with the former Soviet Republics. The Guard has participated in more deployments since the end of the cold war than during any other period of its 361 year history. This PERSTEMPO is sustainable in large pad due to our ability to leverage the capabilities resident in the combat divisions. For example, if forces remain in Bosnia for a full two years, all 8 divisional Target Acquisition Batteries in the Army National Guard will have rotated through that theater. As peacetime operations and deployments increase, the need for adequate numbers in the reserve component structure (ARNG and USAR) also increases. We are no longer the "force in reserve" of the Cold War, but "a repository of capabilities" to meet the new challenges and alleviate the active component PERSTEMPO. We need to have the right ratios so as not to "go to the well" too often.
The reason I point out these facts is to illustrate that the Guard is more relevant today than ever. Moreover, it is performing missions as part of the Total Force. The Guard is performing real world missions in Bosnia, the Sinai, and Central and South America among others. Without the Guard, these missions would further drain an ready strained active component. The world is still a dangerous and uncertain place. Today's Army Guard forces are able to mobilize and respond to any conflict that arises in the world. In fact, the Army Guard experience has been that all of our recent mobilizations have taken less time, with less notification and better results, than required by the CINCs The 49th Armored Division from Texas recently mobilized 200 soldiers for peacekeeping support to Bosnia in only four weeks from the time of notification In some cases we are deploying direct from home station.
The Army Guard's divisional structure, like the active component, is the doctrinally based framework that supports an affordable repository of capabilities to provide Military Support to Civil Authorities; to counter asymmetrical threats to our homeland from the use of weapons of mass destruction to manning a National Missile Defense system; to augment the Army's baseline engagement force; and to provide the nation the ability to rapidly expand it's combat land forces. As the Army invests modernization dollars into transitioning to a force that leverages technology as part of the Revolution in Military Affairs, the Guard offers the nation an insurance policy against conventional threats that manifest themselves across the spectrum of conflict from Smaller Scale Contingencies to protracted Major Theater Wars. The reserve components can act as a kind of shield or insurance program to allow the active component to transition.
The Quadrennial Defense Review was intended to provide a blueprint for a strategy-based, balanced, and affordable defense program. The Army National Guard was a willing partner in this strategy driven QDR process. We eagerly participated in the Army's "Task Forces" by providing action officers to each. We also had a representative on the Army's Strategic Synchronization Cell (SSC) to both help the Cell and keep the ARNG leadership abreast of emerging developments throughout the QDR process. The key to our participation was to help facilitate the intended "strategy-based" final product.
During the QDR, we offered many suggestions on how to garner efficiencies in the Total Army. We responded to all vignettes with impact statements. We further defined the "Fort State" concept that leverages State assets to provide more efficient support on a state and regional basis to any Army unit, regardless of component within the region. In many functional areas, these efficiencies could have been applied on a national basis. We worked with our active and reserve counterparts to determine a viable force to meet current and future threats to the US and it's interests. In short, we participated in good faith and in keeping with the charter and intent of the QDR.
We were notified just before the release of the final ODR that it would include cuts in end strength to pay for modernization. The announcement on the end strength reductions and the reaction of the states led to the necessity for the Off-Site conducted 2 - 4 June1997.
The intent of the Off-Site was to address the concerns regarding end strength reductions, the methodology used to determine those reductions, and the process to be used for future decisions. Most importantly, the Off-Site was intended to demonstrate that the Total Army had moved beyond the rationale of using proportionality as a method of applying reductions. By and large, these goals for the meeting were met. At the end of the Off-Site, the participants had agreed to several solutions in implementing QDR actions.
The specific agreements on end strength reductions were that the Active Army would be reduced by 15,000 soldiers in 5,000 soldier increments from FY97 to FY99. The USAR would be reduced 3,000 soldiers in FY 00 and the ARNG would be reduced by 5,000 soldiers in FY 98 and FY 99 and by 7,000 soldiers in FY 00. The remaining 25,000 soldier reduction in FY 01 through FY 02 would be determined through a process to begin this year that would include the results of the Total Army Analysis 2007 to be conducted in the fall of 1999.
The National Guard proposed that the process would be guided by a set of eleven principles. These guiding principles are:
(1) All Army Guard forces will be resourced at a baseline of C-S (combat ready); Enhanced brigades and Force Support Package units are to be funded at C-I (fully combat ready);
(2) The uniqueness of the Army Guard will be recognized, with adequate forces provided for domestic emergency responsibilities;
(3) Army Guard forces will be fully missioned and relevant with their lineage, heritage and flags preserved;
(4) Army Guard structure will mirror the active Army;
(5) Army Guard modernization will mirror active Army modernization;
(6) The process will include the Adjutants General Force Structure Committee and General Officer Steering Committee, and mirror the National Guard Division redesign plan;
(7) The civilian Army Secretariat will oversee the entire force reexamination process;
(8) Division redesign & integration will be fully implemented;
(9) Readiness will be basis for force assignments;
(10) The Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee and Reserve Components Coordination Committee process will be revitalized; and we will
(11) "Speak with one voice"
Additionally, the Off-Site participants agreed to reinvest $850 million in the Army National Guard Division Redesign to accelerate the conversion timetable from FY 03 to FY 07. The group also decided to increase MCNG $50 million each year through FY O3.
The Army Guard divisions, which are at the heart of the debate, have many reasons for being retained in the force structure for the foreseeable future. The primary reason for the Guard divisions, and indeed the Guard in general, is that the National Guard is the historical baseline of National Defense. Traditionally, the Guard has held at a relatively stable number while the other components have risen and fallen in size as threats have emerged and disappeared. This is how the founding fathers envisioned the Guard and is also the most cost effective way to provide for the common defense of the country and its interests. If a peer or near peer competitor were to take an active interest in world or regional dominance, the Active Army would need to expand at a rate sufficient to deter and, if necessary, defeat. The Army National Guard provides that capability.
The history of the ARNG divisions has shown that they have repeatedly been rated as ready to go to war in a time frame that makes them relevant to the warfight, The ARNG is in the process of reshaping the combat divisions. The Division Redesign Initiative was specifically developed, with the consent and approval of the active component, to address these issues. The resources to fund this program are what are needed to energize the program. The $850 million agreed to at the Off-Site is a big step in the right direction.
The Army 21 Advanced Warfighting Exercise design is still an evolving, ongoing process. The ARNG is eager to be a part of that process. It is one of the 11 principles from the Off-Site; to mirror active component force structure.
We are committed to the Total Army policy. However, there are issues that need thoughtful consideration by the leaders of all three components in order to resolve. It is not prudent to be hasty in determining reductions that will have long-lasting effects on the Army as a whole. All three components are still coming to grips with the agreements recently made at the Off-Site. We need time to develop sensible alternatives to the problems we face. We have a plan to deal with the immediate budget issues. Give the Leadership and the systems in place an opportunity to work. The Army National Guard is committed to honoring the agreements made at the Off-Site and working with the Army and Army Reserve Leadership to come to a supportable, viable, realistic agreement for the future defense needs of the Nation.