Posted on Mar 19, 2015
CPT Training Officer / Assistant S3
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The post about merging the USMC and USA brought this to mind again. This is something my peers in the RC, both Guard and Reserve, have discussed on multiple occasions. With the impending draw down and budget cuts, does it really make sense to have a National Guard and Reserve in the Reserve Component?

The current system seems to have an immense amount of redundancies, ranging from specific capabilities such as medical and CBRN troops to geographic specific higher headquarters. With the Reserve being reorganized into deployable commands, it seems to me as though it's role of augmenting the regular force at a small unit level has ended.

Merging the Reserve force structure into the National Guard is the solution I would propose. The resulting combined formation, I believe, would increase the strength of our formations while allowing us to reduce some of the overhead bureaucracy, training facilities, and higher headquarters we currently have. This ultimately would save us on personnel and equipment costs while increasing the Reserve Component's ability to generate combat power.

The reasons for integrating the Reserve into the Guard instead of vice-versa are relatively straightforward. The dual Title 10/Title 32 status of the National Guard allows it far greater flexibility in deploying and provides Governors with a pool of resources to draw upon the Reserve does not. Furthermore, the National Guard has both Combat and Support formations, providing greater flexibility in the case of Federal mobilization. Finally, the National Guard typically has a much larger infrastructure available to its units, fostering both training and readiness. The few capabilities that the National Guard currently does not have, such as Civil Affairs or Drill sergeants, would not be that difficult to integrate into say a SFG's force structure or RTI respectively. While I've been looking at this largely from an Army perspective, I can't see why the benefits would be any different on the Air side of the house.

With all of that being said, I've spent the entirety of my 8 years at the Company level. There are likely some reasons at the strategic and operational level that I do not have visibility of. What are your thoughts?
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COL Charles Williams
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I don't think that could be done. The Army Reserve belongs to DOD under title 10 USC... the reserve for the Active Duty Army. The Army National Guard belongs to their states under title 32 USC, unless federally mobilized... I guess we could figure it out, but good luck... The Guard (for some strange political reason) now has a 4 star seat on the JCS...
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SGM Mikel Dawson
SGM Mikel Dawson
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COL Charles Williams, this knowledge came from being in the Reserve in Europe and being the 7th ARCOM G3 SGM for some time.
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Cpl Helicopter Mechanic, CH-46
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I say leave the 2 as they are
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MSG Paul DePrimo
MSG Paul DePrimo
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I say Increase the active duty troop levels! The only reason the Guard has all the training facilities is because of the amount of troops that the state AG's deployed, thus generating funds from the big Army. As a retired Guardsman, I feel like the AG's job is a regional salesman/women of the states troop assets. Guardsmen were created to protect the home front not to continuously deploy or be attached to active duty units. If I wanted to deploy ALL the time I would have joined the Active duty Army! So why not just eliminate the National guard all together, see what would happen to troop strength and see how many boots you can actually fill! If it were not for the Guard, active troops would NEVER have a life other than rotating from fight to fight! So the fix (of course in my mind) is to INCREASE the active duty numbers!!!
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SGT Uh 60 Crewchief
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MSG Paul DePrimo - Pretty sure Governors would not want to lose the asset that they have with the National Guard. I'd hate to imagine how long it would take a Governor to get approval to use Active Duty troops in a state emergency.
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LTC Strategic Plans and Policy
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While you are correct that these two elements have redundancies, your logic doesn't support a merge of Reserve into Guard.

1) Overhead. You note that the NG has a "much larger infrastructure available to its units." That's because there are 54 HQ/infrastructure duplications -- one for each Guard element.
- The Reserve provides regional support, streamlining admin and training support, and reducing duplication.

2) Deployment. The NG is more difficult to mobilize/deploy.
a. To mobilize the NG, not only does the NGB have to concur, but so does the JFHQ in each state, and the Governor. If you want a whole unit at the BCT level, you have to get concurrence from more than one state -- since only in TX does a single state man an entire BCT.
b. As a result of this, we have over-mobilized NG units for the last decade plus, as the NGB, et al. does not support providing the forces that are required for the mission, but rather whole, intact units. While this is nice for unit esprit de corps, it also means that some NG Soldiers deployed without a mission requirement, and either twiddled their thumbs or got re-tasked into something that was actually viable, work-wise.
- The Reserve, as a federal entity, is required to report and execute their mission, in the manner in which they are required, much like their AC counterparts.

3) Organization. DOTMLPF does not support integrating CA into SFGs or DS into RTI. Also, its not just DS which are part of the Army's Reserve Institutional Training capability set -- and you're not going to integrate Instructors who cover ILE, AIT, CPX, etc. into RTI. Those are much bigger than the RTI mission.

4) Flexibility. Sure, the governors have their own little force. But Title 10 12304a authorizes the use of federal reserve forces CONUS, in a way that previously was not possible. However, we can't send the Guard OCONUS (as noted elsewhere in the comments). Additionally, since we have to use multiple funding streams to support the NG, we are forced to have more administrative regulation and "tail" to take folks from M-Day to T32 to T10 orders, etc.

5) Old news. The 1992/3 Off-site agreement is what developed the Guard and Reserve into what they are today. The Guard gambled that the way to remain relevant and required would be to focus on combat & combat service elements. They tacked on some CSS so they could have women in their formations and not eliminate 1/2 the enlistment pool. In reality, we see today that these formations are difficult and expensive to maintain on the limited training days available to reserve component forces. Meanwhile, the Reserve focused on the CS and CSS elements, which have inverted career paths (your options only get better as you gain rank, as opposed to combat arms, where there are not positions for "miscellaneous infantry officer" on staff) and which Congress has consistently off-ramped from the AC formations.

As a result, the critical requirement is the Reserve, not the Guard.
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CPT Training Officer / Assistant S3
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Ma'am,

1. I can see both sides of this point. Having RSCs certainly reduces the number redundant headquarters required. Most State NGs have 3-4 General Officer billets, which means the NG is far more "top heavy" than the Reserve. However, the RSC formation also means that your upper echelons are states away. My RSC as a Reserve Soldier was in an adjacent state, which is at least somewhat manageable. A friend of mine's RSC is several states away. Her BDE level leadership is in a completely different state again, hundreds of miles away from the RSC. It seems to me like this would make it difficult at best for leadership above the BN level to have a good level of visibility or influence over their subordinate units. At least with the NG's organization BDE and DIV Commanders are collocated for the most part with their formations. Given the two options I would prefer the NG's formation.

2. a. Title 10 USC, 12301
"(a) In time of war or of national emergency declared by Congress, or when otherwise authorized by law, an authority designated by the Secretary concerned may, without the consent of the persons affected, order any unit, and any member not assigned to a unit organized to serve as a unit, of a reserve component under the jurisdiction of that Secretary to active duty for the duration of the war or emergency and for six months thereafter. However a member on an inactive status list or in a retired status may not be ordered to active duty under this subsection unless the Secretary concerned, with the approval of the Secretary of Defense in the case of the Secretary of a military department, determines that there are not enough qualified Reserves in an active status or in the inactive National Guard in the required category who are readily available."

I'm admittedly not an expert on U.S. Code, but doesn't this clause allow for federal mobilizations of NG troops regardless of the Governor's or JFHQ's blessing? Every recent federal mobilization of the NG I'm aware of has been either during a state of emergency (Hurricane Katrina relief) or war. ( the GWOT)

b. I have personal experience that conflicts with this point. I deployed with the 1st BDE, 34th ID in 2011. Our formation was manned entirely by our state, much like our 2nd BDE in Iowa. I would have to research how many states have fully manned BDEs, but it is certainly more than just Texas. Furthermore, when we deployed we left one of our maneuver Battalions behind due to lacking a mission requirement. I don't know if this is the norm, but it happened. I do agree on the point that mobilizing larger formations than necessary is wasteful and unnecessary. It's my understanding that this is a reaction to prevent what happened earlier during the GWOT, where Soldiers were mobilized piecemeal. I had NCOs in one my past units who mobilized as individuals and fell under USMC leadership at a Company level. While I'm all for efficiency, I don't know that that is the right answer either.

3. If integrating these units at a state level doesn't make sense, couldn't they be assigned directly to NGB? The NG Marksmanship Training Unit, for example, is a training unit that is organized in this way.

4. I agree with you on this point as well, there certainly would need to be some adjustments made to the USC and funding streams to make this viable.

5. It's hard to dispute the costs involved with maintaining combat arms formations. As a former Tanker, our Annual Training Gunnery Cycles were extremely cost and maintenance intensive. I would argue that my current light Infantry formation is likely on par cost wise with maintaining a Combat Engineer unit in the Reserve. My question on the CSS formations is this: Do the Reserve CSS formations fill a role that NG CSS formations cannot? What makes one more effective than the other outside of the already mentioned mobilization issues? While states may like to mobilize as BCTs, mobilizations at the BN, CO, and even PLT level certainly happen.

I appreciate your comments on this Ma'am. One of the reasons I posted this was to gain some insight into the upper echelons of the Reserve Component. You brought up several points I had not considered and identified some areas I need to do more research.
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COL Strategic Plans and Policy
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NGB has no directive authority over the 54 States and Territories. NGB is not a command, and not an operational headquarters. There is no "concurrence" role for NGB when seeking access to National Guard forces for federal missions, whether it is CONUS or OCONUS. Most of the federal missions are under Combatant Command control. If not, then they are under Service control. Also, a Governor cannot withhold consent with regard to active duty for overseas missions involving National Guard forces. This law has been in place since 1987 and was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1990 (Perpich v. Department of Defense). Laws governing access to the reserve components are identical for the National Guard and federal reserves. By law (10 USC 10501-10508), NGB is a channel of communication between non-federalized National Guard forces and DoD. NGB's role is to facilitate training, track unit readiness (especially for domestic missions), and therefore assist the Army and Air Force in coordinating service sourcing options for federal missions. Once National Guard units are mobilized, they fall under Service chain of command (not NGB) until received by Combatant Commanders. Once received, they fall under Combatant Command control. The National Guard provides the preponderance of forces for homeland defense missions including ACA, BMD and NCR-IADS which are all executed under Combatant Command control. With these missions, there is also no concurrence role for NGB .
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Capt Walter Miller
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"What do you think of consolidating the Reserve and National Guard?"

Worst idea ever.

Walt
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