National Guard November 2011 : Page 12

CAPITAL VIEW Consult the States By Gov. Rick Scott We should not take risk by cutting our most cost-eff ective military organization and our primary homeland response force. S CONGRESS CONTINUES delibera-tion on debt and defi cit management, we must ensure that the debate is in-formed and that our domestic security and responsiveness are balanced with economic effi ciency. The “debt deal” that was reached more than two months ago mandated nearly $1 trillion in budget reductions, $350 billion of which will be cut from defense spend-ing. What remains unclear are the metrics for determining those cuts, and how lead-ers in the Defense Department will vet their recommendations to ensure measured and educated decisions. As governor of Florida, my foremost responsibility is to protect the lives and property of the citizens of my state. Our ability to meet challenges associated with domestic crises, specifi cally homeland de-fense and disaster response, is critical. The National Guard of all the states has inher-ent capabilities that are essential to support state and local emergency response and at a great value to our taxpayers. Through 10 years of confl ict, multiple overseas deployments and recurring engage-ments with partner nations, Guard units have achieved unprecedented levels of equip-ment and personnel readiness. Their parallel mission, with the same personnel and equip-ment, is to support our communities with a wide range of capabilities during crises, to include air traffi c control, civil engineer-ing, aviation, humanitarian relief, medical care and evacuation, fi refi ghting, search and rescue, crowd control and border security. During emergencies, they provide security to key infrastructure and neighborhoods, supplies of food and water, and aid to people who have been exposed to chemical/biologi-cal/nuclear contaminants. They routinely assist local authorities with illegal drug interdiction and support youth programs to reduce gang violence and substance abuse. All of these responsibilities, when properly resourced, clearly safeguard our communities. A Without a clear and collaborative strategy that considers the entire scope of security scenarios, we jeopardize the safety of our citizens. Though several news services have speculated on potential defense cuts, the offi cial cloak of secrecy surrounding the “debt deal” creates unease for those who must be ready to respond to an attack or disaster at our doorstep. An unfortunate, but typically foresee-able outcome is to reduce structure in the Guard—the consequences of which are signifi cant. The elimination of a single Guard fi ghter wing, airlift wing or aviation battalion would not just remove aircraft from a state; it would also purge vital support functions and equipment, such as refueling and fi re trucks, portable light carts, ambulances, explosive ordnance systems, command and control operations centers and highly trained personnel that provide these ser-vices during emergencies. Defense leaders have been dealt an unenviable task—to fi nd $350 billion in programs, systems and personnel that can be cut from our security framework. The process should be to determine what we need for our safety and security, what we have that can best and most af-fordably meet these needs, what are the shortcomings, and how the nation will mitigate these shortcomings. Regardless, service leaders should seek input from the states before recommend-ing broad and arbitrary cuts that may result in irreversible damage to our domestic response capabilities. The time for col-laboration with the states is now, before the president’s budget is unveiled in February. Speaking from one of many states whose citizens have frequently been devastated by natural disasters, I submit that we should not take risk by cutting our most cost-eff ective military organization and our primary home-land response force—our National Guard. The author, a Republican, was elected the 45th governor of Florida in 2010. 12 | Na tional Guard

Capital View

Gov. Rick Scott

Consult the States<br /> <br /> A S CONGRESS CONTINUES deliberation on debt and deficit management, we must ensure that the debate is informed and that our domestic security and responsiveness are balanced with economic efficiency.<br /> <br /> The “debt deal” that was reached more than two months ago mandated nearly $1 trillion in budget reductions, $350 billion of which will be cut from defense spending.What remains unclear are the metrics for determining those cuts, and how leaders in the Defense Department will vet their recommendations to ensure measured and educated decisions.<br /> <br /> As governor of Florida, my foremost responsibility is to protect the lives and property of the citizens of my state. Our ability to meet challenges associated with domestic crises, specifically homeland defense and disaster response, is critical. The National Guard of all the states has inherent capabilities that are essential to support state and local emergency response and at a great value to our taxpayers.<br /> <br /> Through 10 years of conflict, multiple overseas deployments and recurring engagements with partner nations, Guard units have achieved unprecedented levels of equipment and personnel readiness. Their parallel mission, with the same personnel and equipment, is to support our communities with a wide range of capabilities during crises, to include air traffic control, civil engineering, aviation, humanitarian relief, medical care and evacuation, firefighting, search and rescue, crowd control and border security.<br /> <br /> During emergencies, they provide security to key infrastructure and neighborhoods, supplies of food and water, and aid to people who have been exposed to chemical/biological/ nuclear contaminants. They routinely assist local authorities with illegal drug interdiction and support youth programs to reduce gang violence and substance a buse.All of these responsibilities, when properly resourced, clearly safeguard our communities.<br /> <br /> Without a clear and collaborative strategy that considers the entire scope of security scenarios, we jeopardize the safety of our citizens.<br /> <br /> Though several news services have speculated on potential defense cuts, the official cloak of secrecy surrounding the “debt deal” creates unease for those who must be ready to respond to an attack or disaster at our doorstep.<br /> <br /> An unfortunate, but typically foreseeable outcome is to reduce structure in the Guard—the consequences of which are significant.<br /> <br /> The elimination of a single Guard fighter wing, airlift wing or aviation battalion would not just remove aircraft from a state; it would also purge vital support functions and equipment, such as refueling and fire trucks, portable light carts, ambulances, explosive ordnance systems, command and control operations centers and highly trained personnel that provide these services during emergencies.<br /> <br /> Defense leaders have been dealt an unenviable task—to find $350 billion in programs, systems and personnel that can be cut from our security framework.<br /> <br /> The process should be to determine what we need for our safety and security, what we have that can best and most affordably meet these needs, what are the shortcomings, and how the nation will mitigate these shortcomings.<br /> <br /> Regardless, service leaders should seek input from the states before recommending broad and arbitrary cuts that may result in irreversible damage to our domestic response capabilities. The time for collaboration with the states is now, before the president’s budget is unveiled in February.<br /> <br /> Speaking from one of many states whose citizens have frequently been devastated by natural disasters, I submit that we should not take risk by cutting our most cost-effective military organization and our primary homeland response force—our National Guard.<br /> <br /> The author, a Republican, was elected the 45th governor of Florida in 2010.

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