National Guard March 2012 : Page 48

LAST WORD More for Less By Retired Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum S opened the dialogue on this idea recently in Defense News . To retain capability while saving money, he advocates returning to the constitutionally based militia construct, eldom has our nation confronted a national which calls for a small standing army and a large militia. security dilemma as sharply defined as the one that Today, america possesses a Guard and reserves unlike confronts us today. any that has come before. The performance of the reserve We face an ever-growing spectrum of threats ranging components since the 9/11 attacks has been nothing short from intercontinental nuclear missiles to crude, but effec-of stellar. These citizen-warriors have consistently met or tive improvised explosive devices, and from transnational exceeded all overseas mission requirements. terrorism to cyber attacks. and at home, the Guard’s magnificent response to hur-at the same time, we must reduce the defense budget as part of the painful and necessary effort to cut the cost of ricane Katrina, its support of the Border Patrol along our southwest border, and participation in hundreds of life-government and reduce the national debt. saving, disaster and national security responses is legendary. The two challenges drag policymakers in opposite The Guard’s demonstrated rapid responses, dependability, directions. agility and exceptional service and sacrifice argue forcefully military planners, just like leaders in every other sector for an expansion of its role in our national security strategy. of society, must learn how to more efficiently apply their It has been documented and proven time and again that resources. how can we achieve this? one way is to take a cue from business. many successful our nation’s citizen-soldiers and airmen are as well trained, disciplined, capable and effective as their regular active-corporations are now sizing their full-time staff to handle component counterparts. the lowest expected level of business activity while build-This does not imply that our nation ing a part-time workforce to handle the largest surge requirements. Military planners doesn’t need a strong, capable and commit-ted full-time military. It clearly does. With this strategy, these excellence-fo-should take a But fiscal constraints strongly suggest cused companies reduce personnel ex-penses and preserve more capital to invest force-structure cue that we should shift the paradigm and take a different path, one that provides a real in modernization, expansion, and research from business way to have more for less. and development. Placing more reliance on our Guard and This not only reduces direct labor costs, and the nation’s reserves is a more cost-effective model that but also trims the spiraling costs of benefits first responders . would permit a reduction in the size of our and entitlements. full-time, active-component military force similarly, our nation’s civilian first without dangerously shrinking the Total Force or jeopar-responders, who face no-notice dangerous assignments dizing military readiness. where lives hang in the balance, have long recognized the moreover, adopting this model would ensure we don’t value of such a strategy. only 20 percent of the nation’s squander the significant investments made in the Guard firefighters are full-time. The rest are well-trained, part-and reserves over the past decade. time volunteers. even more importantly, we should remember that when The communities they serve have chosen to conserve you call out the Guard, you call out america. The army and their financial resources by providing firefighters with the air Guard are the components of our armed forces with the equipment and training they need to do the job right. military’s strongest connection with the american people. our military leaders should learn from these models These community-based citizen-soldiers and airmen live and shift some missions and units from the active com-in nearly every ZIP code. In states with no active-duty mili-ponent to the National Guard and reserves. Why not opt tary bases, they are the only face for the nation’s military. for a strategy that provides taxpayers three or four reserve-If we wish to continue to rely on an all-volunteer, component members for the same cost as one active-com-professional military force, the relationships of our Guards-ponent member? men to their communities has value beyond measure. In other words, to meet the budget challenges within the defense department, and to fulfill the newly minted defense strategy rolled out in early January, we need to, The author was chief of the National Guard Bureau from April literally and figuratively, call out the Guard and reserves. 2003 to November 2008 and deputy commander of U.S. Northern Gen. ron Fogleman, a former air Force chief of staff, Command from November 2008 until his retirement in May 2010. 48 | Na tional Guard

Last Word

Retired Lt. Gen.

More for Less<br /> <br /> SEldom has our nation confronted a national security dilemma as sharply defined as the one that confronts us today.<br /> <br /> We face an ever-growing spectrum of threats ranging from intercontinental nuclear missiles to crude, but effective improvised explosive devices, and from transnational terrorism to cyber attacks.<br /> <br /> At the same time, we must reduce the defense budget as part of the painful and necessary effort to cut the cost of government and reduce the national debt.<br /> <br /> The two challenges drag policymakers in opposite directions.<br /> <br /> Military planners, just like leaders in every other sector of society, must learn how to more efficiently apply their resources. How can we achieve this?<br /> <br /> One way is to take a cue from business. Many successful corporations are now sizing their full-time staff to handle the lowest expected level of business activity while building a part-time workforce to handle the largest surge requirements.<br /> <br /> With this strategy, these excellence-focused companies reduce personnel expenses and preserve more capital to invest in modernization, expansion, and research and development.<br /> <br /> This not only reduces direct labor costs, but also trims the spiraling costs of benefits and entitlements.<br /> <br /> Similarly, our nation’s civilian first responders, who face no-notice dangerous assignments where lives hang in the balance, have long recognized the value of such a strategy. Only 20 percent of the nation’s firefighters are full-time. The rest are well-trained, parttime volunteers.<br /> <br /> The communities they serve have chosen to conserve their financial resources by providing firefighters with the equipment and training they need to do the job right.<br /> <br /> Our military leaders should learn from these models and shift some missions and units from the active component to the National Guard and reserves. Why not opt for a strategy that provides taxpayers three or four reservecomponent members for the same cost as one active-component member?<br /> <br /> In other words, to meet the budget challenges within the defense department, and to fulfill the newly minted defense strategy rolled out in early January, we need to, literally and figuratively, call out the Guard and reserves. <br /> <br /> Gen. Ron Fogleman, a former air Force chief of staff,Opened the dialogue on this idea recently in Defense News.<br /> <br /> To retain capability while saving money, he advocates returning to the constitutionally based militia construct, which calls for a small standing army and a large militia.<br /> <br /> Today, america possesses a Guard and reserves unlike any that has come before. The performance of the reserve components since the 9/11 attacks has been nothing short of stellar. These citizen-warriors have consistently met or exceeded all overseas mission requirements.<br /> <br /> And at home, the Guard’s magnificent response to hurricane Katrina, its support of the Border Patrol along our southwest border, and participation in hundreds of lifesaving, disaster and national security responses is legendary.<br /> <br /> The Guard’s demonstrated rapid responses, dependability, agility and exceptional service and sacrifice argue forcefully for an expansion of its role in our national security strategy.<br /> <br /> It has been documented and proven time and again that our nation’s citizen-soldiers and airmen are as well trained, disciplined, capable and effective as their regular activecomponent counterparts.<br /> <br /> This does not imply that our nation doesn’t need a strong, capable and committed full-time military. It clearly does.<br /> <br /> But fiscal constraints strongly suggest that we should shift the paradigm and take a different path, one that provides a real way to have more for less.<br /> <br /> Placing more reliance on our Guard and reserves is a more cost-effective model that would permit a reduction in the size of our full-time, active-component military force without dangerously shrinking the Total Force or jeopardizing military readiness.<br /> <br /> Moreover, adopting this model would ensure we don’t squander the significant investments made in the Guard and reserves over the past decade.<br /> <br /> Even more importantly, we should remember that when you call out the Guard, you call out america. The army and air Guard are the components of our armed forces with the military’s strongest connection with the american people.<br /> <br /> These community-based citizen-soldiers and airmen live in nearly every ZIP code. In states with no active-duty military bases, they are the only face for the nation’s military.<br /> <br /> If we wish to continue to rely on an all-volunteer, professional military force, the relationships of our Guardsmen to their communities has value beyond measure.<br /> <br /> The author was chief of the National Guard Bureau from April 2003 to November 2008 and deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command from November 2008 until his retirement in May 2010.

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