National Guard May 2011 : Page 56

LAST WORD Three Missions By Col. James M. Pfaff A In Federalist 46, James Madison explained that while the nation needed a central government and a military able RECENT ARTICLE ON the South Carolina militia to fight off invaders, the federal government would have ( “Southern Discomfort,” National Guard magazine, enough power to force the state governments to carry out March 2011 ) and events surrounding secession in the national will. 1861 are important to our National Guard today. Madison assumed that if the federal government tried to In the story, Guard historian Len Kondriatuk calls the overpower the states, the militia would bear arms against actions taken by the Southerners “treasonous.” this national army. As unlikely as this seems today, it was But if the Rebels were traitors, so too were many of the real to men who had fought to free themselves from Britain. founders of NGAUS, including the association’s first-elect-These men also remembered how a national legislature, ed vice president, former Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beaure-England’s Parliament, had overthrown King Charles. The gard, who led the attack on Fort Sumter, S.C. British army then took control of Parliament and beheaded The simple fact is the first allegiance of many of our ances-the king. Great Britain has a Royal Air Force and a Royal tors was to their states, not Uncle Sam. Navy, but it’s the British Army. Those In the 19th century, Americans royals have long memories. The perspectives of conceived of the United States as a union So, is the Guard primarily a reserve of states with a far greater degree of military force for a nation with global Southern militiamen independence from Washington than interests? Or simply a governor’s emer-150 years ago are we imagine today. Texans, for example, gency force? Or in some unimaginably might consider the Union as a covenant pertinent to today’s tragic future situation, are we still the between equally authoritative govern-counter to national tyranny? debates over Guard ments in Austin and Washington. How we answer this will determine People said, “The United States are the Guard’s fate and may affect the roles and missions. … .” It wasn’t until after the Civil War future of the nation. that they said, “The United States is … .” If we are simply a reserve military force, then why dupli-This grammatical construct is visible in the definition of cate the Army and Air Force Reserve? If we are primarily a treason in Article 3, Section 3, of the Constitution: “Treason governor’s emergency response force, then our force structure against the United States, shall consist only in levying war must radically change. And if we assert our state connections, against them.” we change a paradigm developed over many years. Clearly the author of that clause accepted this as a We must be all three. commonly understood structure of the nation. Until force The Guard holds a significant portion of the nation’s of arms settled this question in 1865, many Americans power to defend America. And we are first military respond-believed the states had joined a voluntary union. ers at home. Domestic disasters can strike anyplace. The Southerners saw themselves not as traitors, but as people reach and rapid response of our forces on Sept. 11 and after who wanted a divorce from federal authority. They consid-Hurricane Katrina revealed to others what we already knew: ered themselves no more treasonous to the United States Regular forces cannot be every place all the time, but the than we would think of George Washington as a traitor to Guard is there when the American people need it. England. They saw themselves as citizens of independent And political leaders must balance state and federal states, acting on their natural, inalienable right to liberty. power so that we never are faced with that last argument of These perspectives remain pertinent because of the con-the people against a distant power. tinuing debate over Guard roles and missions. Virtually every country except the United States has lost Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution says Congress freedom from within at some point. We are blessed with will use the militia to “execute the Laws of the Union, an ingenious system intended to prevent one faction from suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” That excerpt becoming too powerful. would encapsulate the Guard’s federal mission. As the only military members sworn to uphold both But is that the sole purpose of the militia? federal and state constitutions, we are uniquely defenders The Founding Fathers had vivid memories of the dangers of American liberty. presented by a distant central government. They saw the militia as another check and balance element of our complex, The author is vice commander of the Ohio Air National Guard’s 121st Air Refueling Wing. cautious system of shared power in a federal government. 56 | Na tional Guard

Last Word

Col. James M. Pfaff

Three Missions<br /> <br /> A RECENT ARTICLE ON the South Carolina militia ("Southern Discomfort," National Guard magazine, March 2011) and events surrounding secession in 1861 are important to our National Guard today.<br /> <br /> In the story, Guard historian Len Kondriatuk calls the actions taken by the Southerners "treasonous."<br /> <br /> But if the Rebels were traitors, so too were many of the founders of NGAUS, including the association's first-elected vice president, former Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, who led the attack on Fort Sumter, S.C.<br /> <br /> The simple fact is the first allegiance of many of our ancestors was to their states, not Uncle Sam.<br /> <br /> In the 19th century, Americans conceived of the United States as a union of states with a far greater degree of independence from Washington than we imagine today. Texans, for example, might consider the Union as a covenant between equally authoritative governments in Austin and Washington.<br /> <br /> People said, "The United States are . . . ." It wasn't until after the Civil War that they said, "The United States is . . . . ."<br /> <br /> This grammatical construct is visible in the definition of treason in Article 3, Section 3, of the Constitution: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them."<br /> <br /> Clearly the author of that clause accepted this as a commonly understood structure of the nation. Until force of arms settled this question in 1865, many Americans believed the states had joined a voluntary union.<br /> <br /> Southerners saw themselves not as traitors, but as people who wanted a divorce from federal authority. They considered themselves no more treasonous to the United States than we would think of George Washington as a traitor to England. They saw themselves as citizens of independent states, acting on their natural, inalienable right to liberty.<br /> <br /> These perspectives remain pertinent because of the continuing debate over Guard roles and missions.<br /> <br /> Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution says Congress will use the militia to "execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions." That excerpt would encapsulate the Guard's federal mission.<br /> <br /> But is that the sole purpose of the militia?<br /> <br /> The Founding Fathers had vivid memories of the dangers presented by a distant central government. They saw the militia as another check and balance element of our complex, cautious system of shared power in a federal government.<br /> <br /> In Federalist 46, James Madison explained that while the nation needed a central government and a military able to fight off invaders, the federal government would have enough power to force the state governments to carry out the national will.<br /> <br /> Madison assumed that if the federal government tried to overpower the states, the militia would bear arms against this national army. As unlikely as this seems today, it was real to men who had fought to free themselves from Britain.<br /> <br /> These men also remembered how a national legislature, England's Parliament, had overthrown King Charles. The British army then took control of Parliament and beheaded the king. Great Britain has a Royal Air Force and a Royal Navy, but it's the British Army. Those royals have long memories.<br /> <br /> So, is the Guard primarily a reserve military force for a nation with global interests? Or simply a governor's emergency force? Or in some unimaginably tragic future situation, are we still the counter to national tyranny?<br /> <br /> How we answer this will determine the Guard's fate and may affect the future of the nation.<br /> <br /> If we are simply a reserve military force, then why duplicate the Army and Air Force Reserve? If we are primarily a governor's emergency response force, then our force structure must radically change. And if we assert our state connections, we change a paradigm developed over many years.<br /> <br /> We must be all three.<br /> <br /> The Guard holds a significant portion of the nation's power to defend America. And we are first military responders at home. Domestic disasters can strike anyplace. The reach and rapid response of our forces on Sept. 11 and after Hurricane Katrina revealed to others what we already knew: Regular forces cannot be every place all the time, but the<br /> Guard is there when the American people need it.<br /> <br /> And political leaders must balance state and federal power so that we never are faced with that last argument of the people against a distant power.<br /> <br /> Virtually every country except the United States has lost freedom from within at some point. We are blessed with an ingenious system intended to prevent one faction from becoming too powerful.<br /> <br /> As the only military members sworn to uphold both federal and state constitutions, we are uniquely defenders of American liberty.<br /> <br /> The author is vice commander of the Ohio Air National Guard's 121st Air Refueling Wing.<br /> <br /> The perspectives of Southern militiamen 150 years ago are pertinent to today's debates over Guard roles and missions.

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