South Dakota National Guard soldiers on duty in Afghanistan.

South Dakota National Guard soldiers on duty in Afghanistan.

The battle between the regular Army and the National Guard, which we all knew would blow up one of these days, has blown up. At 3:30 this afternoon, the spokesman of the 54 state and territorial Guard commanders, Kentucky Adjutant General Ed Tonini, raised the standard of revolt against the active-duty leadership who had, he said, “slammed their minds shut” on any compromise. Meanwhile, much more quietly, and with many caveats, the regulars have broken a 13-year taboo: In an exclusive interview with Breaking Defense, Army Quadrennial Defense Review director Maj. Gen. John Rossi questioned aspects of the Guard’s much-lauded combat performance since 9/11.

Army leaders from Chief of Staff Ray Odierno on down have long argued that troops who train part-time can’t mobilize fast enough for the short-notice, high-complexity conflicts expected in the future. But this is the first time a senior active-duty general has said, to my knowledge, that the proof of this argument is that Guard combat brigades were rarely assigned the most demanding missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What Rossi said is far more nuanced than the statement from Guard partisans. Maj. Gen. Tonini declared the Army leaders’ discussions with governors and Guard leaders “have been merely for show.”  Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, head of the independent National Guard Association of the US, has called Odierno’s remarks “disparag[ing], disrespectful and simply not true.” But with over 700 Guardsmen and women killed in the line of duty since 2001, putting any kind of asterisk next to the Guard’s wartime record is potentially inflammatory. It marks a major escalation in what Army leaders are willing to say. But they also have a point.

“We have to be careful that….we don’t walk away with the wrong lessons,” Rossi told me. “Work hand in hand? Yes. Work side by side? Yes. Interchangeable? The answer on that is no.

“Army National Guard BCTs [brigade combat teams] are in fact interchangeable. They were very deliberately designed to be,” countered the former director of the National Guard Bureau, retired Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, when I summarized Rossi’s arguments for him in an email. “Drawing distinctions between the components, during times of constrained resources, only serves to damage all of our total force Army components and tarnish a proud institution.”

Rossi took pains to emphasize he wasn’t casting aspersions on the service of any individual Guard soldier. “Regular, Reserve, and Guard are all professionals,” Rossi told me. “This is not about individuals[:] This is about team practice.”

All three components train to the same standards for individuals and small units, Rossi said. But the part-time nature of Guard service and the scattered locations of Guard units make it much harder for them to train together as full brigades, he said: “These are big teams — 4,000, 5,000 person teams —  that require, as a necessity, a lot of team practice.”

So in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guard and for that matter Army Reserve forces were typically used in smaller units such as companies (roughly 100-200 strong) under the command of active-duty headquarters. When Guard troops were used as full brigades, Rossi went on, they were typically given missions requiring less complex brigade-level coordination and planning. They secured roads and bases against attack, they advised and trained local forces, but they rarely conducted full-scale counterinsurgency operations combining intelligence gathering, combat, and hearts-and-minds campaigns in specific populated areas they “owned.”

These missions are “all important, all very dangerous,” Rossi said, “but some [are] more complex than others.” And a future fight against a better-armed, better-organized, and faster-maneuvering enemy will be more complex.

“You know, I just think you’re being hypocritical when you use those things against us when we did what we were asked to do,” said NGAUS chief Gus Hargett, a former Tennessee National Guard commander (aka “adjutant general”).In fact, Hargett told me this in an exclusive interview in February, back when the regulars were still keeping their questions about Guard performance off the record.

It’s true that most Guard brigades did advise-and-train or “security force” missions, not counterinsurgency missions in all their complexity — although a leaked slide shows a third of Guard combat brigades did do COIN, mostly towards the beginning of the war:

Most Army National Guard brigades deployed for less tactically complex (but still dangerous) missions such as route security and training Afghan forces (Task Force Phoenix), not full-scale counterinsurgency.

Most Army National Guard brigades deployed for less tactically complex — but still dangerous — missions such as convoy security and training Afghan forces (e.g. “Task Force Phoenix”), not full-scale counterinsurgency.

But, as former Guard Bureau chief Blum noted, “units do not get to select their mission assignments.”

Indeed, at least some Guard commanders wanted the most demanding missions. “At the time, I had a discussion with Gen. [David] Petraeus,” NGAUS’s Hargett recalled. “I said to him then, I don’t like the SECFOR [security force mission]. Brigades should be given space to manage, and I said this will one day be used against us.'”

Rossi acknowledged that it’s by no means impossible to train a Guard brigade to the same standard as an active-duty one: It just takes time — time the Army may not have in a future crisis.

“This is not looking at redoing OIF and OEF on the predictable ARFORGEN [Army force generation,” Rossi told me. “What would it take from a no-notice cold start?”

The current National Guard Bureau director, Gen. Frank Grass, has said that the time to get Guard brigades trained up for Afghanistan and Iraq dropped to 100-150 days, though if his training budget weren’t being cut he could get it down to 50 to 80 days.

But that’s for counterinsurgency missions. “[If] you set a goal of combined arms maneuver proficiency for a brigade,” said Rossi, “it has to take longer because… there’s additional training steps to give you the practice to get to that level of proficiency.”

Even regular army units are still struggling to relearn those “combined arms maneuver” skills — what most of us would recognize as conventional war — after years of operating from fixed bases against lightly armed guerrillas. In fact, Rossi admitted, budget cuts mean that for the next few years most regular troops won’t get to train in full-brigade operations, either.

“In the near term, we have some readiness challenges, up until ’19,” Rossi said. “But I want to get out past ’19, because that’s what we’re talking about, is the future…when the size of the force matches the money you have to train it.” At that hoped-for point, every remaining active-duty combat brigade will be going to a Combat Training Center for full-brigade wargames every other year. Guard brigades will be funded to reach company-level readiness one year in every five.

Of course, that is the Army’s plan. Guard advocates would argue the nation can get a lot more readiness out of citizen-soldiers for an affordable price. And, in Maj. Gen. Tonini’s words, “the fiscal 2015 Pentagon budget process has now officially shifted to where the Army National Guard value and proven capabilities can finally get a fair hearing – the Halls of Congress.” Regular Army advocates would suggest the Hill is outright tilted against them.

Just like the last time we had this fight, during the bitterly debated drawdown of the 1990s, the right balance between the active-duty Army and the Guard is now a matter for Congress to decide — and for the next war to pass bloody judgment on our decisions.


  • CharleyA

    Discrimination against reserve forces have had a long tradition. The British Royal Navy in WWII made their reserve officers wear different insignia than the regular force. Instead of straight bars on epaulets, the bars were “wavy,” thus spawning the “Wavy Navy.” The American navy tended to replace regular navy staff officers with reserve officers, freeing them to be assigned to combat commands.

    • Elihu Root

      Tell me more about this discrimination. Are the active forces not absorbing a much greater share of defense cuts?

      • Jrggrop

        After the cuts are all said and done, active forces will still outnumber the Guard. Historically, it’s usually been the other way around.

        • Elihu Root

          What budget are you looking at? The Army National Guard and Army Reserve outnumbers the active Army today. Even with proposed cuts, they will outnumber the active Army.

          Contrast that to the Marine Corps, whose reserves make up only 20% of their total force. Would the Marine Corps be just as capable as it is today if half of all Marines were reservists?

          • Bagonia

            yes, the Marines would, because once you are a Marine, you will always be a Marine. Having a son who is one, I know for a fact that the Reserve Marine Corps will be there for their brethren.

      • bmc2000

        The Guard is being cut drastically. Active component may in fact be losing a much greater share which is no doubt unfortunate for both active and guard. As you stated earlier the guard was assigned less demanding missions, but of those less demanding missions the Guard can do and has done it successfully and at a much cheaper rate on the taxpayer dollars which has been the Guard’s argument. The Guard successfully completed missions and continue to do so in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact at one point and for sometime over the course of this war the Guard comprised @ 40% of the deployment cycle in OIF an OEF for OCONUS ops. As I said earlier in a previous post we didn’t and will never get the lead element type missions because its controlled by the active component. Active component will NEVER give up battle space nor would the Guard if the situation were reversed. Same can be said for the missions in Iraq that I served in where the Marines and the Army continually fought for who would take what mission and who would own what battle space. Both sides complained bitched and moaned that the other could do it better. Its a simple cronyism type A personality and culture of every service branch. We can all do it better than the other. The sad truth at the end of the day is its all about saving face, self preservation, and keeping dollars in the particular organization that you happen to serve in the every lasting fight for federal dollars.

        • Elihu Root

          The Guard is scheduled to lose 15,000 soldiers. That’s hardly drastic.
          You’re right that this is unfortunate for both the active and Guard.

          • Zabilde

            As the reserves should grow when we cut active forces it is drastic.

          • Gary Church

            Yes, I agree. The reserves should grow when the active forces are cut and the opposite is a very bad sign.

        • gittere

          bmc2000, if you’re the ops guy making up the task organization for the battle space commander, wouldn’t you assign your best units to the most critical – and often most complex – missions because that’s the right thing to do? I worked only from battalion down, but when I linked tasks to units, I really didn’t worry about anything except bottom line readiness and capabilities. Who cared about AC/RC origins? The assignment of AC units to the most complex missions most of the time may only be an reflection of careful USR study before mission sets are assigned, don’t you think? And in some cases, as the slide indicates, RC units were selected for the most complex (COIN) missions. Perhaps they were estimated to have better readiness and capability numbers than available similar AC units at the time the DEF list was produced?

      • Ranger

        That’s not the relevant question. This is not a kindergarten playground where everyone has to share equally. The big question is: what is the best thing to do for our nation? The answer to that question almost certainly won’t result in “equal shares”.

  • Elihu Root

    Our Nation is 17.5 trillion dollars in debt. All of DoD is taking a cut. The Guard’s proposed share? Zero. Not one cent.

    Now, after touting the deaths of their active component comrades to show the Guard’s supposed competence (see the Apache debate), the Guard Bureau leaks slides. In my recollection, “FOUO” is for official use only, which this forum certainly isn’t.
    But even then, don’t take their word for it. Which Guard BCTs did COIN in Afghanistan?
    And no surprise, the Guard mobilized faster over time…because they were assigned less demanding security force missions with less demanding training requirements. The Guard simultaneously celebrates its ability to mobilize faster yet complains it was given less demanding missions. You can’t have it both ways.

    The Guard made its case before OSD. The Guard lost. Now it will appeal for Congressional largess, which got us here in the first place.

    • bmc2000

      Are you kidding me? The Guard share is zero????? You are sadly mistaken and misinformed or lying to support your rant above. As for the rest of your rant, of course the Guard was assigned for the most part, less demanding missions simply due to the fact that all Guard units fall under the command and control of the active component to include federal appropriated funding which all come from “big army dollars.” Guard commands are OPCON/ADCON to the active component when mobilized. What active component commander will give up being the tip of the spear or the lead dog in the fight for any combat mission especially when the Division Commanders OWN the battle field. They will assign their internal combat assets to the main effort ALWAYS as would any good commander. All other less demanding missions as you deemed it would be assigned with the commanders available slice elements and sister BN’s, Company’s etc. Plug and play concept. Otherwise the perception would be that the active component commanders didn’t want to fight and turned the main effort over to the Guard. Its fully understandable from the active component but what I stated above explains the full truth in the argument you presented and failed to add or consider.

    • Grove

      Sorry but I was with 56 SBCT PAARNG and we did FSO. Not our problem that the COCOM set a short timeline in theater for us. We could have trained up in half the time with no loss in capabilities. You dont take into account that Guardsmen and women are older and generally have bene serving longer (and together). Hmmm 200 days of training per year X 3 years = 600 (being generous to the AD) and 60 days of training per year by 10 years = 600 days. Mayeb a smaller more capable force for stopgap until the larger force trains and arrives might be the best method to save money and retain capabilites. This is a struggle for resources.

      • garcia96099

        Actually we serve much more than 60 days a year. We’ve done a study of the RPAS Statements of 800 Soldiers in our state – randomly selected from different units and different pay grades, different MOS’s. They’ve served an average of 121 days a year. That doesn’t include training meetings, conference calls, “required” distance learning (SSD, etc.), self study, volunteer time at the Armory, etc. The Soldiers who do the most time? Averaging over 180 days a year: E7’s and E8’s, O3’s and O4’s.

    • Zabilde

      The Guard’s share should be zero or it should even grow. A Guard BCT can be maintained and fielded with equal competency to an Active BCT for a third of the cost. So it makes fiscal sense to move a couple Active BCT’s to the Guard and Reserve, keeping the assets available at a fraction of the cost.

  • Creed45

    Funny you should ask Elihu, the 45th IBCT was the first NG IBCT to own and operate within their own battle space, Laghman and Western Nuristan while simultaneously conducting COIN along 5 distinct LOEs in 2011. Who better to establish Rule of Law than police officers, lawyers and judges? Who better to establish schools than teachers, administrators and counselors. Who better to establish agribusinesses than ranchers and farmers, who better to stand up local governments than local, city and state leadership? Oh wait unless you think active duty 21 year old high schools graduates, that have known nothing but being an 11B? Or maybe their commanders, who have LITTERALY done nothing else except serve in the army. You send a NG IBCT, you send 3500 COIN enablers!

    • bmc2000

      Thank you Creed45! Well said and the truth that the active component will never submit to acknowledging. I find it hilarious the close minds and cronyism of the active component on the Guards success in theatre. Our Guard soldiers bring a hell of a lot to the table with the diversity of the skill sets you stated above which the active component doesn’t have. This is a different war than we have ever fought, its not a historical linear battle with a known and visible enemy. It required much more than pulling the trigger, doing a few cordon and searches, patrols, and intel gathering on an enemy force that has no air or ground combat vehicle assets to include not much more than small arms and rockets, arty rounds, etc.

      • JohnT

        The National Guard does many things well. I was in Army North. DSCA is something that they do great in fact. However, we can’t fight the last war. Let’s fight the next war. We need to focus again on Decisive Action type engagements. As a National Guardsmen when you pick any kind of other professional: lawyer, doctor, accountant, hell even house cleaner, do you pick the guy that does it a few weeks a year or the person that does it every day. The short answer is that active duty does it daily. I personally want the guy who does it every day to be in the lead. If you listen to MG Tonini, the Guard does it as good or better than active duty troops. That simply isn’t true for most mission sets. I was replaced by a guard unit on all three of my rotations in Iraq. They all had more turbulence, more casualties, and were less effective during the period immediately following RIP/TOA because they didn’t have the practice that the active duty guys did. Stop looking at Iraq and Afghanistan and using COIN. Nobody cares anymore. That was the last fight. Look at DA types of fights and determine who can do it best with the current skill sets and training opportunities.

        • Mark

          Funny that you should say that. 45th IBCT’s 1-179 IN relieved 2-34th’s 1-133 IN. Another guard unit. In 2010-2011, 2nd BCT, 34th ID owned Parwan, Laghman, and several other provinces. When relieved by 45th IBCT, the battlespace was redrawn to only have those two provinces.

        • MSG P

          The quality of the organization comes from the combined quality of the individuals that make up that organization and it’s really this simple; Active Duty Soldiers serve because that’s all they can do, and Guard and Reserve Soldiers serve because it’s just one of a spectrum of things they can do. Having served on both Active Duty and in the National Guard in more than one state, the intellectual caliber of the individual Soldiers on Active Duty doesn’t come close to that of Soldiers in the National Guard, and with training, there is no mission that the National Guard will not do as well as if not better than the Active Component. The notion that “Active Duty Soldiers do their mission daily” is erroneous at best. Most time spent on active duty is doing PMCS in the motorpool on vehicles and equipment, post details, and PT and road marches between 3 and 4 day weekends. Not a slam, just a fact. Are Active Duty Soldiers more physically fit? Probably. But more capable? Not in my experience. I served with very good Soldiers on Active Duty, most of whom ETS’d or as officers fulfilled their obligation, then joined the National Guard to attend college or some other post secondary institution. I don’t say any of this out of spite, bitterness, or vindictiveness. I say it because having served, deployed, and trained with both Active Duty units and National Guard units, I’ve seen it and experienced it, and it’s just a fact. The Active Component does have the advantage over the Guard and Reserves in their ability to rapidly respond and deploy to trouble spots and conflicts, and they will always have that advantage, but does that make them more able to deal with “complex” missions than the Guard and Reserves? The simple answer is, no.

          • Madison

            MSG, thank you for your thorough debate. The internal fiscal fight at home between active and reserve component needs to stop. The guard does just as valuable and proficient of a job as the active components. The truth is, when in need the national guard reserve component can and will readily be prepared and “skilled” to be sent to missions on short notice. As a matter of fact, National Guard’s reserve member who are often professionals and specialist (lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc.) can contribute much more intellectual value to any given operation.
            Overall, it goes without saying that both the Guard and the Army members are of immense value to this nation and their efforts are priceless.

          • Guard Veteran

            I agree and have also spoken with prior active. They confirm the same thing as you. When not training they chill but still get paid for it. We are all brothers under the uniform.

          • Medic

            Yeah same goes for the guard- been both active and reserve component, getting paid to do nothing happens on both sides of the fence… Only difference is active can afford to waste a couple days, guard can’t.

        • wc41

          Funny thing is when my regimentgot in country we had one day off and then started doing left seat right seat ride on convoy security. Active duty was supposed to run them but didn’t want to. We ran it and ran it well. My company ran convoys for 16 months. Only supposed to be 12 but was fortunate to be part of the 40000 surge into Baghdad. The regament lost 2 soldiers from convoy security. We were based out of anaconda and ran 90 miles north to spicher and down into Baghdad and a few runs further south. When in fire fights that we got in and when blown up we still kicked ass and took names. When we handed off to a active duty unit that was a trans unit they didn’t want our help and the hot spots we knew about till 3 weeks later and 5 soldiers dead that they came to us 2 days before we left to ask for help because they had stuck theire foot in the mouth and knew it all. We had no training on convoy security because we were to kick in doors. Oh yea we trained on that everyday during mobilization. 1 week before entering country they tell us we are on convoy security. Adapt and over come.

    • Elihu Root

      So your argument is that the Guard brought rule of law, education, governance, and modern agriculture to Afghanistan? Maybe it was fixed when you left…but I’ve got bad news for you.

      That’s more a critique of our national strategy, but let’s be honest…a person can only be great at so many things. There are plenty of 21 year olds in the Guard, along with plenty of AGRs (full-time professionals). Surely you can admit that the active component is better at something, right?

      Or maybe your argument is we should get rid of all NG BCTs and turn them into COIN enabler brigades. That’d be great for the DSCA mission!

      • Creed45

        Actually there was an article in the small wars journal suggesting that very thing. The AC army EXCELS at security, best in the world! And as I am sure you know, security is a LOE of COIN. Some argue the most important.

        • BOB

          Legitimacy is just as important important. There is is no “most important” rule in conducting COIN. When soldiers make that claim, they make it obvious that the shouldn’t be making decisions regarding COIN. You can have the security in the world, but if the population isn’t behind it won’t matter. They are meant to be interlocking for a reason. You provide security and legitimacy, you win a COIN fight.

      • Michael Thomas
    • jimley

      I thought the 2/34th was there before the 45th…..

    • Dukes

      I thought this debate was settled 2,500 years ago:

      Relax. If you can’t laugh at yourself, everyone else will.

      • Gary Church

        Funny. But unfortunately our dumbed down U.S. public thinks it is real history. Spartans were in fact homosexual thugs whose society was based on slavery and terrorizing those slaves into submission with periodic murder sprees. And our average citizen also has about the same level of accuracy understanding their own military.

    • dackl701

      And then split off 1 BN (1-279) to go live under 1st ID, who basically treated us like crap because ‘Guard guys are just playing Soldier’, et-al…

    • Medic

      City and state leadership are in the guard? Ha. Haha. Hahahahahaha!!!

  • Don Maximus

    The guard “militia” won us our independence and has kicked ass in every war to date. A rifleman that is a professional lawyer or psychologist etc will always be a step ahead of some grunt that only knows how to squeeze a trigger. PERIOD!

    • Brian Anderson

      If I recall correctly..Chamberlin was a school teacher!

      • bdandy1969

        COL Joshua Chamberlain… Gettysburg, National Guard Officer, Medal of Honor, School Teacher.

    • Elihu Root

      Um…not quite. The reason the Continental Army was formed was because the militia, while valiant, wasn’t sufficient to take on the British regulars. The militia system was such a disaster that by the late 19th century it had to rebrand itself as the “National Guard.”
      The regular and militia combination has served us well…but in the right balance.

      …and not sure that the rifleman you know who are “professional lawyers” or psychologists represent the average Guard infantryman, but I could be wrong. But if it is, I would want to go to war with a different infantry company.

      • Don Maximus

        Actually, I think you need to brush up on your history. The militiamen were responsible for the turning point of the war. Coupled with guerilla tactics taught to them by the natives, many of the engagements with the militia are what broke the morale of the British regulars. The American and British regulars were still standing in ranks shooting each other like morons. The National Guard has long rich history of kicking ass in war. Regulars are the units with a rich history of fratricide, war crimes, blunders etc. real world education and experience coupled with hard combat training will always trump the latter alone.

        • Elihu Root

          Very scholarly. You’ve convinced me.

          • Don Maximus

            I don’t need to give you a collegiate lecture… The information is at your fingertips. Look up Paul Revere smart guy. *shaking my head*

      • Don Maximus

        Look up Minutemen. The militia were among the first to enter battle hence their name. They were crack troops that were instrumental in our independence. So show some respect. I think the regular army brass fear what the DEA fear with the legalization of marijuana. Budget Cuts! The guard can do the job with less money and better. It stands to reason they will shit talk the Guard and Reserve.

        • Five-minuteman

          I thought the minutemen were called that because they never lasted more than a minute in a fight?

          • 91B PISSED OFF


      • Don Maximus

        I have served with police officers, teachers, lawyers, construction workers, engineers… All guard riflemen

      • garcia96099

        The best Riflemen in the Army are in the National Guard. Man for man we can outshoot and out PT regular units any day of the week – we’ve done it for record. Take a look at who was the U.S. Army Small Arms Champions the last two years in a row? And who has been the best individual shooter more often than not? It’s not an active component Soldier. I’ll put my team against yours any day of the week.
        Team California.
        California Army National Guard.
        U.S. Army All Army Small Arms Champs, 2013, 2014.

        • Gary Church

          Infantry have to be able to shoot and live like animals in the rough for extended periods; that is certainly a key to all of this IMO. Sailors have to work a ship like galley slaves when necessary and get along with their mates, Airmen have to be technically excellent with zero errors turning wrenches (or things like half a billion dollar bombers fall into the ocean). All of these “critical” things have to do with enlisted people- not officers. The PROBLEM is too many damn officers and too many expensive useless toys. That is where the money is going instead of where it should be spent. That is what people should be ranting about on this forum.

      • Jason

        That’s a size and equipment issue we never did well against those marching in column tactics against the British, militia or Continental Army. When the militia developed guerilla tactics we then began to attain success. So your welcome again Little Brother Army. And your Continental army was just a bunch of militia who learned some drill and ceremony from Von Steuben and got a nice coat and a musket.
        And how many units in the Civil War were volunteers vs. regulars. Maybe you should look that up before you analyze the quality of militia with absent metrics over the course of an entire century.

  • Jake

    Big Army gave the secondary (less glorious) security and training jobs to the guard. They wouldn’t give the choice missions to those they thought less of! Classic circular reasoning: we didn’t give them a job that they couldn’t do, because they couldn’t do it, or they would get that job.

  • SN

    The Guard set itself up for failure. They lobbied for a Homeland Security mission vice the go to war mission when the surge was in full swing. They planted the seeds that DA is now harvesting.

    • garcia96099

      Ignorant wretch (aka SN) the Guard has the homeland security mission because the active component cannot have the homeland security mission… Try reading the U.S. Constitution sometime.

  • Brutus

    My TAG in CA posted this in response to your article.
    It is the responsibility of the Active Army to resource, train, and prepare the Guard. Guard units achieve the level of readiness that the Active Component leadership allows them to achieve. If the Guard can’t achieve readiness at the level organized (i.e. BCTs), then that is the AC’s fault and it is their fault by choice. It is interesting that MG Rossi fails to mention that the Air Force and Marine Corps have no trouble getting their Guard and Reserve combat formations ready and into the fight. And Air Guard combat units are required to be able to deploy in less than 72 hours. The reason that they do and the Army refuses to is simple. What terrifies Senior Army Leaders most in the past decades and today isn’t a resurgent Soviet/Russian Threat or The Dreaded Chinese. It is the very real risk that if the Congress figures out that the 80-Day or Less Major Conflict never has and never will happen and that Guard units can be ready to deploy for full spectrum combat ops by the time strategic lift is available, then there is no need for a large Active Component. Taken to a logical, budget driven conclusion, we could easily defend the nation with the Navy, Marine Corps, and the National Guard, with a very small active component Army and Air Force. The Marines can be forward deployed and handle all the forced entry stuff. They would buy time for a better resourced Army Guard and Reserve to mobilize, train and deploy. This is especially true if the Army would wake up and embrace Guard combat formations. They need to join us as a true Total Army and integrate with our formations, take ownership of our readiness, and stop lying about our potential, instead of defending an anachronistic Cold War construct of an expensive, large standing Army. (Don’t get me started about the disengenious narrative that Guard units never took on any tough jobs overseas. Who assigned those missions?.) The greatest threat to our National Security in the near and mid-term is economic, not military. The strength of our nation isn’t the (Active) Army. It is our economic might. That economic strength is eroded when we can’t transform institutions that are defended by entrenched bureaucracies and leaders that can’t escape the chains of institutional bias and truly innovate. Having said all that, the public fight isn’t healthy for all of us in ACUs. I challenge the leaders of the Total Army to abandon this inter mural firefight. That must begin, however, with the Active Component leadership listening to what Guard and Reserve leaders are saying instead of dismissing us out of hand.

    • Ken Ohlson

      Let’s call it what it really is… please don’t fool yourself in thinking some false doctrine. The reserve component regularly mobilizes to support and operate with AC on a regular basis. But let’s do the math …an E-2 has served in the active duty 240 days of work and training their first year…. where as an e6 could have the same amount of days served and trained in 6 years… in combat mos jobs that proficiency is a life saver… so if you were to compare that to the reserves….. there are no combat mos jobs in the reserves…. so your argument is lost because we are talking about coin…. this isn’t a pissing contest…. I have been in the guard and the active component…. there is a huge difference… and yes other branches have similar issues… but when you have a marine active component that is less than half the standing active army force… you compare apples to oranges.
      How many divisional operations are being run on that’s side of the fence

      • Retired 1SG

        Mr. Ohlson shows you exactly what the Guard is up against; ignorant soldiers that claim they realize the Guard’s capabilities but really do not. The statement that there are no combat jobs in the Guard is plain wrong. The US Army Reserves do not have combat MOSs or units, but the Guard is flooded with both. Many Armor and Infantry Divisions are solely in single Guard states, and many states make up divisions collectively. The enhanced Brigades (which by the way were rapidly deployable), ICBTs and round out units were all combat units strictly in the Guard. Furthermore, there are so many combat experienced soldiers in the Guard it from all branches of services it is impressive. I spent more time in units across this country that had magnificant combinations of leaders who had served with their former units that brought this knowledge to increase the combat multipliers of their new National Guard unit.

    • Rick N

      well said…

  • Michael

    Just 2 months after the 3rd Infantry had taken control of Fallujah from the 3rd Cavalry, the entire 3rd Infantry Division was redeployed home. The 3d Cavalry was once again put in control of Fallujah, and again was only able to devote one squadron to Fallujah. Attached to that Squadron was the 115th MP Company from Rhode Island. Unarmored and ill-equipped the 115th MPs kept order with routine patrols and frequent house raids searching for insurgents and weapons caches. In September 2003, the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne was deployed to replace the 3d Cavalry in Ramadi and Fallujah. The 3rd Cavalry was then left to control all of the al-Anbar province except for these two cities.
    THE 115TH MPCO IS NATIONAL GUARD…THIS TOOK PLACE JUNE 03. 6 months later the marines lost fallujia and had to fight to regain it. THIS IS IN WIKIPEDIA

    • Bill Ferguson

      2003 Bco 3/124 Infantry Ran Sector 17N in Baghdad for 13 months no armor, no fancy guns little food and water given to 3rd ID then pimped to Dempsey and 1AD. Both gave us minimal support. We owned the sector we slept little had no equipment or vehicles really to speak of. I cant speak about after that with the Guard but they pulled their own weight in Baghdad in 2003 and the begining of 2004….

  • Anjain

    There comes a time for a real revolution in military affairs, in America that time is now. I was happy to read that an active duty General Officer finally said, out in public, what most Reserve personnel already knew, that the AC thinks very little of RC forces and in some cases hold us in contempt. While in the past we may have been invited to dinner with our AC brothers and sisters however; we couldn’t sit at the table reserved for the adults (AC). Well guess what, we’ve grown up over the past thirteen years. We won’t settle for the kiddy table any more.
    Brutus is correct only the AC is to blame if the RC is not prepare. For to long they just talked the talk about One Army and the Total Army. Those words were only meant to placate Congress and the press. They never believed it or had any intentions to treat us as equals.
    What MG Rossi said should go along way in having an honest and open debate on the structure of our Army. It may be ugly and bloody but it is need. We’ve been dancing around this subject for far to long, so let the fisticuffs begin.

    • Gary Church

      Honest and open is easy; this nation started with a very strong dislike of standing armies for very good reasons. If you look at how much of the budget is used by the military it seems like they knew something back then that has been lost over the last couple centuries. Yathink?
      Reservists and National Guard- a fancy name for militia- were the answer then and the answer now. We have police and emergency services people, pilots and medical people, heavy equipment operators and truck drivers- all close to what the military uses. Merchant ships and jumbo jets that can be loaded with missiles on short notice- and a dozen other examples that parallel the circumstances of the framers. We do not need this vast monstrous military industrial political complex; it is killing us. We can do better and expanding the reserves while acquiring weapons that are not corporate welfare junk-for-votes is how to start.

      • paulrevere01

        Well said…the Department of War got a cloaking device handle now called Department of Defense which has turned into a true Department of War and the only Quantum Physics Black Hole with any sure reality.

        Face it folks, all this brouhaha is there for perpetuation of CubeRat-ville and MIC fleecing of WETHEPEOPLE’s treasury…love that revolving door to the big bucks…all a tempest in a teapot as America is not nor has been under so much outside threat as to actually NEED a trillion a year in armour, bombs, tech and invasion of our civilian populace’s very bedrooms.

        We’ve been sold fear and paranoia like kids being pitched smartphones…can’t be rational about any of it as long as we are thinking and deciding from our fear soaked guts.

        The Guard is needed to lend some degree of civilian mentality to the war machine…kinda like draftees temper the notion of needless invading and killing of every backwoods population that is harboring some mineral the corpses are lusting over.

        • Gary Church

          Roger that Paul

        • goldushapple

          >>harboring some mineral the corpses are lusting over.

          You drank the other Kool-Aid.

  • Butch Meisner

    [“Work hand in hand? Yes. Work side by side? Yes. Interchangeable? The answer on that is no.]

    If you disagree with that statement, you see the world through RC-tinted glasses. You can blame it on lack of training resources provided to the RC by the AC…you can blame it on RC units not being given challenging missions to develop their competence…or you can blame it on something else but it is the plain truth. It is illogical to think a NG BCT that trains one weekend a month and two-weeks during the summer is going to be as mission capable as an AC BCT that trains year round.

    • 1strepublic14thstar

      I know of no AC BCT that trains year round.

      They might be getting paid for 24/7/365, but they’re not deployed or in the field all the time.

      They’re sending individuals to officer and NCO schools, letting individuals take leave, conducting required administrative and personnel management activities similar to a National Guard unit’s full time staff, having individuals in process and out process…

      The idea that you could call out an active Army brigade today and have them turn out in an hour or a day is not plausible. It would take them just as long as a Guard unit to round up everyone and redirect their activities. Like any organization, an active Army brigade can’t stop on a dime and change direction. It takes time to re-orient.

  • Guest

    since both wars have been abject strategic failures, I’m suprise either side is trying to use them for bragging rights, i.e. I was better at failing than you… Perhaps all sides need more training, but, it is illogical to think that a unit that trains 28-45 days a year will be able to provide the same quality of service out of the gate as a unit that trains 250 days a year…I would know I’ve been in both, and have served in war with both

    • Zabilde

      Both wars were not failures, not until the politicians stepped in and tied the hands of all of us with ridiculous ROE that got soliders killed needlessly. Everytime I’ve been deployed we RIPped an active unit and every time we’ve been recognised for far outperforming the active units.

      • Gary Church

        Not that old worn out “we didn’t lose the war, the politicians did.” Puh-leez. That was Hitler’s excuse. Complaining about rules of engagement does not cut it either; if you want to kill everyone just drop neutron bombs. All excuses for failure. I remember vividly almost being punched in the face by a Vietnam war veteran many years ago for saying we lost that war during a casual conversation. He was positive we did not so I had to remind him of reality- and he went nuts. It is about “we”; our country. If you want to be an other-blamer that is fine, but don’t confuse the issue being discussed. Personally, my favorite scapegoat is the officer corps. When officers start resigning and complaining to the press then things change for the better- unfortunately none of them seem to be able to take their responsibilities that seriously.

  • 1strepublic14thstar

    The Guard and Reserve leadership have been telling subordinates not to talk out of turn, to work hand in hand with the Army on the budget and force structure reduction processes, to present a united front — one team, one fight.

    We now see what that has gotten us.

    In historical terms, the Army has never liked the Guard and Reserve, has always tried to minimize them and reduce their abilities, and has even tried to eliminate them. And now they’re doing it again.

    The anti-Guard and Reserve claims General Rossi is making, that General Magnum made at the recent Aviation conference, etc. could have been taken almost word for word from the post-World War I “eliminate the Guard” arguments that surrounded the National Defense Act of 1920 and other similar historical events.

    What the Army is doing is clear — their desired end state of the Army Chief of Staff and his staff is to preserve active Army force structure at all costs — imagine General Odierno with his arms around a pile of active Brigades yelling “MINE!”

    Because the goal is to preserve active component force structure, all of their arguments are “reverse engineered” to arrive at that conclusion.

    Because the Army has decided to slight the Guard and Reserve AGAIN, they shouldn’t be surprised at the public outcry or the intervention of Congress.

  • 2bnfl


    • Zabilde

      Yes a small number of AC personnel are used to train up Guard and Reserve units prior to deployment, but that does not offset the substantial savings this nation gets from Guard and Reserve units that cost a third of what an AC unit does. Those Guard and Reserve units bring far greater experience and a much wider range of skills to the field than do the AC soldiers. The average actice duty soldier is 4 years and out, the average Guard soldier is 8 to 10 years, often including 4 on active duty. And Guard work better with our sister services because we have members who’ve spent time in the other services. In my squad alone I have a ranger tab, two marines, a former coastie and airforce. Decades of experience that you will never find in any active unit.

      • 2bnfl

        really they cant even make the standards – we say they did and off they go

  • SorS

    Why are you publishing a chart in open forum that is clearly marked as FOUO? You aren’t much different that Snowden.

    • Zabilde

      Because FOUO is NOT a classification level and there are no crminal penalties for letting it slip outside official channels. And that slide while marked FOUO actually contains no information which qualifies it for such a marking. It contains no PII, no unit specific operations or planning information. It contains only historical information and thus should not have been marked FOUO.

      • Colin Clark

        FOUO is what DoD uses to protect competitive information, sensitive unit and combat information AND a whole lot of stuff they just don’t want folks to know because it might make news. Honest people are willing to share most FOUO stuff because they know how stupidly it is used. We won’t even discuss how often things are classified at a low level to stop discussion about the issues involved.
        Colin Clark
        Breaking Defense

  • mouse0327

    19th and 20th Group ran quite effective and complex operations.

  • DutyHonorCountry

    As I sit here in uniform I notice that above my heart it reads: “US ARMY”, not National Guard. I deployed, fought, and successfully accomplished my mission end states in both Afghanistan and Iraq by employing the training I received in Active Duty status. When I left I the combat theater I do not recall anyone telling me that transporting casualties and mission critical supplies in direct support of my fellow Soldoers via aircraft under poor visibility and enemy fire was a “second string” mission.

    As a US Army Officer I can perform my duties every bit as well as my Active Component peers. With one difference; I’m cheaper to keep in the “Dwell”; and I am dedicated member of my community; always ready to serve my Nation regardless of what is asked of me, or the sacrifice I must make.

    This on-going schism between AC and NG Leaders; boils down to a fight over constrained resources. So vile now that Senior Leaders are quick to diminish their Brothers and Sisters in Arms to retain a vested interest in keeping the full time force as robust as possible despite the call of a Nation to now cut back. Rather than put energy into dutifully criticizing the decision to get smaller; AC Leaders are launching a massive information campaign to choke out the other 50% of the Army, the ARNG. Weak and sophomoric!

    In the future I would recommend that Leaders reflect on the impacts of your statements to the Soldiers that have loyally, served you daily in two theaters of War; before you make an unsubstantiated statements to disparage a formation in your ranks.

    • Gary Church

      “When I left I the combat theater I do not recall anyone telling me that
      transporting casualties and mission critical supplies in direct support
      of my fellow Soldiers via aircraft under poor visibility and enemy fire
      was a “second string” mission.”

      Sadly, your officer brothers and sisters defending AH-64 gunship expenditures and far too many officer billets does not help your case. IMO there are just too many officers defending their own jobs and turf (active and reserve); I have seen legions of them in their cubicles. They are the problem- not the reserves and NG enlisted riflemen. Infantry that can hump weapons and shoot are what is needed- not cube rats.The fancy toys like gunships are the problem. Transports and pilots are needed, airwolf is not.
      It is about the money and power, jobs and votes. Most of the comments in this discussion are all misdirected arguments.

    • MsFans

      I think you are partly full of crap. Just like my brother-in-law, who served 20 yrs in the National Guard, and now his wife never differerentiates when she says he’s an “Army” veteran (which he most certainly ISN’T). You all want all the prestige and benefits of active duty military, without having to truly live the life and actually make all the sacrifices.
      My husband served 6 yrs on submarines as a Navy Nuke, and let me tell you – it was HARD! He was on the USS Parche (most decorated boat in the Navy) and I hardly saw him. Because of that, he got out. We turned down hundreds of thousands in re-enlistment bonus money so that we would stay married for our two girls. Eighteen years later, we are still together (that’s 24yrs at the age of 42 for those of you mathematically challenged). That is dedication. That is integrity. It’s Veteran’s Day, and my husband NEVER even acknowledges he even served – yet many 1 weekend a month, 2 week a year NG Vets will hold themselves up as these big old heros (even when they didn’t even come CLOSE to combat) and it drives me NUTS!!!
      You ANG troops or Navy Reserves want to know what it’s REALLY like to be active duty? Imagine your two weeks every fricken day of your life except for your one month of liberty. Or if you are Navy, imagine being out to sea AT LEAST half the year, and the other half having duty every three days (that means every day is either the day BEFORE OR AFTER 24hr DUTY)! Sound pretty freaking hellacious? Yeah…it really is!!! So don’t pretend that you are the same as them at your rank in any sense of imagination!!! Because it isn’t even close to being true in your most fabulous fantasyland… Your training in your weekend, and two weeks a month will NEVER, EVER IN A MILLION YEARS CATCH UP TO WHAT THEY DO WHILE ACTIVE DUTY! EVEN IF SENT TO IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN! Not unless you both go to boot camp and get sent out the very same day.

      • STFU

        LMAO. You wouldn’t recognize “dedication” if it slapped a big ol’ mushroom stamp on that ignorant forehead of yours.

        In case you need some help: “dedication” is when a Guardsman is willing to leave behind his job, family, and livelihood to defend his state and country. “Dedication” is when an active duty Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine decides to separate but continues to serve by joining the reserves or NG. “Dedication” is when you keep the mission in focus instead of trying to start a pissing contest because you’re bitter about some rightfully proud NG soldiers.

        Most importantly, “dedication” is when you’re willing to pay the ultimate price for your country. Many Guardsmen have done just that. All for what? A few hundred bucks a month?

        But hey, glad your husband made it home 18 years ago. Something for your little dependopotamus brain to dwell on for a bit. Don’t bother replying.

        Active duty combat veteran turned Guardsman

  • Joe Snuffy

    A slap in the face to Active Duty personnel who spend every waking moment standing by to defend our nation. This isnt a pissing contest National Guard brothers and sisters–its the simple fact of those who train on a daily basis are just going to be mroe proficient than those who do it two days a month and two weeks in the summer. Its disturbing and a threat to our national security that the National Guard is simply this out of touch.
    If anyone thinks the Pick-a-State National Guard and the 10th Mountain Division, for example, are equivilent in terms of combat capability and proficiency, they’re probably in the National Guard or a civilian.

    • Zabilde

      Yes you train on a daily basis to PMCS and park vehicles on line in the motorpool.
      See I can make unfounded claims as well. Yet when we get down range the Reserve components perform as well and often better than the garrison mentality AC. Yes the dreaded garrison mentality that has MP’s ticketing soldiers who dare walk around base at night in a combat zone without a PT belt on.

      • Joe Snuffy

        Zabilde…having served with both Guard and reserve units in combat, both on the support side and MFE side, I completely disagree. Theres nothing to say a reserve/guard Soldier cannot perform as well as an Active Duty Soldier in a any given task, however, as a collective unit, there is no comparison betwen Guard/Reserve and Active units.

        • Gary Church

          Your collective argument is ridiculous snuffy. If they can perform as individuals then collectively they can perform just as well. Disagree all you want and claim superior knowledge and experience but know that your opinion is not gospel here; I worked with active and reserve units and I never saw much difference. There is not much difference because while the reservists are being civilians the active duty people are mostly doing all the make work parade ground B.S. that has nothing to do with combat effectiveness.

      • 1strepublic14thstar

        Here’s what I know from personal experience. Argument by anecdote isn’t usually the best way, but this serves as a useful illustration.

        I’m a Guard guy. When my unit went to Iraq in 2004-2005, we replaced an active component organization. The local population didn’t like us, The Iraqi military and police didn’t like us, the base was being mortared and rocketed all the time, and the unit that was on site never went outside the gate.

        When my organization arrived, we emphasized building trust and personal relationships with the local population, the Iraqi police and the Iraqi military, including lots of Civil-Military Operations.

        The violence never went away completely, but it was reduced to the point where mortar and rocket attacks weren’t a daily event.

        When my unit got ready to leave, we were replaced by an active component unit. The members I observed and dealt with made clear they wanted NO part of interacting with the local population or the Iraqi military and police — it was just “we’ve been here before, OK you can go now.”

        Is it any surprise that as soon as we left, the AC organization that replaced us experienced an increase in mortar and rocket attacks?

        The need to interact with Iraqis and help set things right was just institutionally understood in the Guard organization, and people were proactive about finding ways to do it. It was just as obviously ignored institutionally by the AC units before and after us, and they just as obviously took the initiative to avoid interacting with Iraqis.

        I don’t know how many others had the same experience, or how many experienced something different. Maybe I’m wrong, but from what I saw, I believe the difference in mindset was notable, and had an impact on how events transpired.

    • falcon

      lets compare the 10th Mountain Division and the 86th Infantry Brigade (Mountain), the Vermont National Guard runs the Army Mountain Warfare School for the entire Army.

  • MS

    This is what MG Rossi could have said and should have said: “We are one team, Active-Guard-Reserve…yes and understandably it takes a little more time to train-up our Guard and Reserve soldiers because they are part-time military professionals; however every time we’ve needed them they have been there for our Army. Further, our Guard and Reserve soldiers bring qualities and maturity to the battle field that contribute to the decisiveness of our Total Army on the battlefield and in our communities …the issue isn’t whether the Guard and Reserve are interchangeable with the Active Army, the issue is how can all three Army components channel our efforts together to preserve the full integration we have achieved since 911”. Instead, inadvertent or not, he misspoke and in a big way. Perhaps the central strategic and negotiation lesson the Army Active Army should have learned from the Army-Guard-Reserve budget and structure fights in the late 90’s is that it is best to “go to the Hill as a united Army” or else you leave Congress no choice but to make the decisions for you; for which the outcome typically lean toward the Guard/Reserve.

  • AdrienneHB

    Bottom line here is that when Secretary
    Gates elevated the Guard to an operational force, they began to be recognized
    as bringing a lot to the table. -To the extent that they lobbied for and got a
    seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff – a move that the active component fought. At the same time, state governors and congressionals became much more
    educated on the Guard’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly on things
    such as the A-10 providing much more effective ground cover for the troops.
    Congress no longer had to depend on the military heirarchy in D.C. to be
    “informed” with just what the JSOC wanted them to know, instead, they began to be educated from an “on the ground” perspective they received from the Guard component. The active component is now scared shitless that they no longer control the game board. Too many other credible sources are coming to the forefront in this battle for budget dollars, with credible information on the “real” state of affairs of what warfare has become – guerilla and counterinsurgency. Mr. Gates comments in his book about how when he became Sectary, the Air Force in particular seemed to be quite unaware that the U.S. was engaged in warfare on two fronts; when they
    sought meetings with Mr. Gates, it was to discuss buying “bigger and
    better” air assets; he comments in his book that their logistical and
    strategic planning construct was in line with “classic” warfare
    reflected by history, up until Vietnam. He notes that they had virtually no
    consideration for what warfare has actually become since Vietnam, but fall back
    on the logistics and strategy such as was used in WWII. Their disconnect seems
    to be continuing. Ask any ground-pounder that served in Iraq or Afghanistan
    whether the F-series jets were as capable of close ground cover – which is
    required in guerilla and counterinsurgency fighting – as the A-10s. They’ll
    tell you the A-10’s were found to be so effective that congress appropriated
    monies to update and improve them. Then, in a classic “bait and switch” – the AC
    Air Force “recalled” the A-10’s to the active side, making noises about them
    being so effective they needed to be ‘reinstated’ to the active side. When this
    happened, there was a long period of noone knowing just what the AF was going
    to do with them. No one could find out. As soon as the last A-10’s left their
    Guard homes and went back “online,” AF announced its budget proposal – which included
    eliminating them in favor of the problem-riddled F35’s – while making it sound
    like they were really making a sacrifice by cutting down on the number of F35’s
    they’re going to order. Now the Army leadership is disparaging the role the
    Guard played in the Iraq and Afghanistan. How short his memory is. The surge in
    Iraq under Bush could NOT have happened, had the Guard not been brought online
    when they were. All the talk about how “important” the AC missions were in
    comparison is dissembling; the fact of the matter is that it took BOTH the
    active component and the Guard to accomplish the mission in both countries. And
    this attitude is a slap in the face to the 700 families of Guard members who
    died accomplishing those missions. As Mr. Gates points out, our government pulled
    a “bait and switch” on the Guard; the members signed on to basically be a state
    entity, never expecting to land in the middle of warfare. But they were called,
    and they answered honorably. Many have volunteered for numerous deployments,
    and fought alongside their active brethren. Now they’re being told they ‘didn’t
    really do much?’ That attitude is despicable – particularly when given by our
    country’s putative “military leaders.” They don’t deserve to be in their positions
    if that the way they see it. At the end of the day, the Guard offers this
    country one thing that’s irrefutable – it’s the next best thing to a draft. And
    that’s exactly what happened when Iraq heated up. To cast aspersions on them
    now is arrogant and uncalled for, no matter how much money is being cut from
    the budget. I propose that any “leaders” who make such statements help make the
    budgetary cuts by having their position eliminated. It’s no more than
    they deserve.

    • garcia96099

      AdrienneHB The USAF did the same with the C27 program. The Army NG owned the C23 Sherpa program and sought the upgrade to the C27. The Air Force lobbied successfully to own the C27 program. Received the new aircraft and then cancelled the program.
      The thing about the National Guard theater support aviation units is that they operated with a teeny tiny footprint and rapidly received and executed missions with the minimal amount of administrative pre flight drama. The Guard C23’s did this both in Afghanistan and Iraq. These C23 units had 3 or 4 Soldiers assigned to each ACFT as opposed to the 50 or so Airmen that deploy with a C130.
      The Guard did it better, faster, and cheaper. So they took our aircraft and cancelled the program.

      • Gary Church

        I believe it. Someone did not like you doing such a good job and making them look bad and called in favors. It’s an old story.

  • R. Davidson

    OK – here is the Dick and Jane version…..all of what is written is true. Generally, NG units operating at the BDE level will not be on day 1 as “good” as their RA counterparts. It takes over 20 years of “full time” education and experience as well an exacting selection process to create a RA BDE CDR and that’s not the same experience for the NG counterpart. Sorry, that just a fact. But, that’s not to say that the NG CDRs and staff don’t learn fast and get good….real good, quickly. Remember, the Army is good at what it does. BL – WE KICK ASS! Our enemy in AFG and Iraq wasn’t particularly adept in skill sets or operational capability; they had a tremendous home field advantage that took time to counter. In most situations, the enemy we will face will not be at the same level of expertise in war fighting as our forces…..RA or NG. We need to keep that in mind. We aren’t fighting ourselves…..we are fighting those guys and for the most part….they SUCK! You have to take this RA/NG argument and look at it though the RELEVANCE lens. I’m sure that the CSA ‘s worst nightmare is having to legitimize a large RA to Congress given how the DoD has assessed the THREAT…..given the “all things old are new” strategy of a Pacific Shift And, YES the RA will sacrifice it’s own…..the NG and Army Reserve. Forgot about the Army Values you though you knew, the real ones are NEED and REQUIREMENT!

    Nuff Said…..

  • Stonecold

    Hey Snuffy, Wake up; the 1990s called and they want their generic draw-down arguments back. Read it again, your missing the point.

    Throughout history as a Nation we have cut our standing Army following major combat operations. Our Leaders say the time has come again. The Militia is always ready and standing by fight when needed.ARNG has every bit of combat power and trained Soldiers to defend our National interests, plus we can do it in 54 States and Territories.

    Before you claim that AC is better than ARNG, use some facts. Do you spend your waking moments “standing by to defend the Nation” (that’s Nation with an “N”, jug head); or do you do it? ARNG does it and gets it done, daily!

    Don’t rely on generic arguments and your opinion when you choose to poke someone in the chest. To compare 10th Mountain DIV to ARNG is dumb. First off, I bet 10th Mountain is not on the cut list. Second, call up any State with a DIV and find out where you can go to drill; probably all over the State. When we need to deploy a DIV, we can stand up a DIV and get out the door, ready to go, NLT when the Army needs us on the ground. And just yesterday we were running your corporations, driving the bus, working in the fields and factories, building your homes, and keeping law and order in our towns.

    Go Guard (you’ll probably need to when they cut your job).



  • Captain_Obvious

    What we really need is an answer to the fundamental question behind the AC/RC tiff: On average, do RC Soldiers or AC Soldiers have bigger dicks?

    • paulrevere01

      snicker…depends on who does the measuring would be my take. Anyway, the guard is meant to be a state specific militia and has been usurped by those cretins who did not want a draft because a draft involves the entire nation and the entire nation would not have stood for what has happened in the past decade and a half were there a draft.

      The piggie 1%’s kids, like Cheenee during Viet Nam, “had better things to do” and the war monger 1% would feel and presently feel no personal pain…simple stuff when ya think about it.

      I a Viet Nam Era vet and come from a town of about 25,000 in that day. I knew all the draft board members as bankers, lawyers and real estate brokers who made the decisions of who go 1-A’d…NONE of their boys, ever.

      • Kevin E.

        Best comment I’ve seen so far! (and likely most accurate.)

      • 1lasttime

        Heard somewhere, “If the elite won’t serve, they’re not fit to lead.”

  • John S.

    Let the AC component keep what they want. Let’s face it, they’re good at what they do but they aren’t much use elsewhere. The people of the ARNG live in a world where you learn to be more efficient or you go out of business. We’ll figure it out. So keep your chest thumping bravado and I’ll live happily in the real world. I’ll take a pay cut when I’m called to active duty to bail you out… again.

  • ProudAmericanSoldier

    Anybody on this forum forget the day you swore in to serve? Did they separte you by branches, active duty, or reserve? I remember my day very clearly. It was a little over 6 years ago. We were not separated yet we all took the same oath; to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This is a shame that active duty components and reserve components can’t get along. When you were at basic training, did they separte you? No, they did not. We ALL serve for one purpose; to defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies foreign and domestic. With all due respect, leaders, get your act together and quit the childish acts. One Military, One Team to defend that Constitution. Let’s not forget what we swore to defend. We’re not each other’s enemies. Seriously? I am by no doubt proud to serve this country.

    • Bagonia

      I went to Basic Training in 1986 as a NG Soldier. Yep I took the same oath, did everything every other Soldier had to do, but when it came time to line up for chow, the AC Soldiers were first, followed by the Army Reserve and lastly the NG. It was like this for most every part of BT (with the exception of the gas chamber, go figure) Did it make me bitter, no it made me better and I was the honor graduate of the entire Training Battalion, and AIT, and PLDC (6 weeks), and BNCOC (four months) and ANCOC (four months), training and learning and leading better than the AC and Reserve Soldiers.. So, don’t be bitter NG Soldiers, be better like you always have been. Saving the Army’s ass since 1776!

    • nazbom

      As a matter of fact they did separate us (NG) as we swear to a different oath than the active duty. We fall under the control of the State Governor first. One more layer of politics to contend with…

      • goldushapple

        Don’t like politics, then stay in the house alone without internet or tv.

  • ted

    I just would like to say. Thank god we have men and woman with the intestinal fortitude and dedication to country whether they be reserve or regular army to serve this great country of ours. And I’m quite sure our enemy don’t give a damn whom they shoot or blow to hell and back. I’m one American that stand’s proudly and salute’s all service people in America. And those that have served bravely since the revolutionary war and continue to do so. GOD BLESS THEM AND AMERICA..

  • CMBetrp211acr

    We are going to get our butts handed to us once again because we cut the Army to the bone. I thought we learned the lesson of putting large national guard units in combat, without long term preparation, in Korea. It’s just common sense. You prepare for the greatest potential threat. Isn’t it the Chinese Army right now? If they combine with the Russians, and can transport their armies to the US and supply them, can the Army handle it? I know we have the greatest Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army in the world, but you don’t have to have the greatest to win, all you have to have is more than your enemy can kill. You know like tanks in Europe. German tanks outclassed ours in 1944/5 but, if it took four of ours to kill one of theirs, no problem, we just made that many. China can make a lot of anything.

  • Secret Soldier

    I disagree with this! The 105th Combat EN BN of the 130MEB was given short notice to deploy to Afghanistan in support with Route Clearance. They not only got ready in 2 months time but were put on countless high priority missions in which were given to them RATHER THAN THE ACTIVE DUTY COMPONENT and did not lose a single person in the 11 month deployment. So someone just try to generalize the Guard and tell me that they aren’t efficient enough. Army Strong Hooah!!!

  • Shane

    My two tours must have been a dream. Funny thing too because my friends are still dead. 1-184 IN BN from California: Land owners of Al Dora and the peninsula between Sadam and 14th July Bridge.

  • AirDefender

    I would be curious to know what MG Rossi’s Frame Of Reference is? Surely he learned in War College that frame of reference is a key aspect of a “true” strategic leader. I am sure MG Rossi has never trained in a BCT or led a BCT for that matter. Guard units may have a training disadvantage when it comes to time but I would argue that AC units have a cohesion and team disadvantage with all the turnover as BCT has over time. MG Rossi has served with NG units during his tour in Saudi Arabia. And, in fact, the NG unit that rounded his BN out, outperformed his units hands down, minus PT.

  • nazbom

    I’m a member of the guard and have been since pre-9/11, Aug of 98 to be precise. I have seen the shift in the role the guard plays but i still believe that this story is true. If you took note the story states that the missions are no less dangerous, just less complex. The guard cannot maintain the same state of readiness that the active duty, not can they mobilize at the same state of readiness in the same amount of time. Sure the reserves in general have their pluses over the active duty, experience, maturity, age, etc. but speediness and the one weekend a month mentality destroy the guard’s capability to do anything quickly… The reserve components are just that, reserve forces, designed for a different world and different wars. In today’s climate an army will have to be much smaller, much more capable and quicker in order to be an effective force on the battle field. A lumbering reserve unit that takes 120 days to get qualified will miss the whole conflict and be left with guarding the gates….

  • Sarge1retired

    I spent time on active duty, 20 years and Guard time. Now how is it that 4 months of training got me ready got me ready for combat in 1968? I was handed an M16 in country and said; “what the hell is this?” I was trained on the M14, I had no training in a company or platoon element other than Basic and AIT which was marching and PT.
    The Guardsman had better training than I did back then.


    What about the BCT,IBCT or MEB

    how many national guard units have performed combat missions that the regular army was unwilling to undertake. THERE THOUGHT ARE THE GUARD AND RESEVES ARE INFERIOR TO ACTIVE COMPONENTS. Wrong answer! The guard and reserves have brought new levels of expertise that the Active Army has never had. What does the pentagon think because we only train on weekend a month we don’t know cant perform our jobs and missions. As a 91B30 I have done more on the civilian side than any army unit at any time. The Army doesn’t have Mechanics they have parts changers.
    I work 40 hour plus per week on Diesel equipment . while deployed the active unit knew little to nothing about mechanical works. that’s a DISGRACE. GROW A SET OF BRASS BALLS. YOU SPEND MORE ON DRUG TESTING THAN TRAINING THE SOLDIERS FOR TODAY ON THERE JOBS.

    • MsFans

      THERE, THEY’RE OR THEIR??? None of your all caps makes ANY SENSE!!!

  • Guard Veteran

    The Big Army needs to invest more money into the reserves fro training so response time is quicker. . We have the maturity, skills and experience. We wear many hats and have a wider view of the world at large. Guardsman rarely do it just for the money. We are true patriots serving both our communities and nation.

  • Curtis Conway

    “active-duty leadership who had, he said, “slammed their minds shut” on any compromise.”

    The reality of ‘heavy combat power’ moving from Guard and Reserve forces (across the board) to Active Duty is disturbing. The fact that Guard and Reserve buys more ‘Force’ than Active Duty forces is well established, and should be a primary consideration in these austere times of shrinking forces, and shrinking budgets. A lack of consideration by Active Duty force commanders and force planners in negotiations of force levels is telling. Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark.

  • Jasper

    Weren’t all the generals (active side) talking about how great the Guard and Reserve were doing, back from 04-09 or so? By the way, they said the active side was doing great things as well. Now look, they are telling their own troops on the active side that just a few years ago they were the baddest army in the history of planet earth and now they’re out of shape, don’t have discipline, know very little of their core skills, and they have to start dropping all those non-hackers from the rolls. If they’re going to say that to their own on the active side, why be surprised at what they’re going to say about you troops in the Guard.
    Maybe someone should just ask these generals to precisely explain how things are different. Did they swap out totally new forces since 2009? Or, just cut to the chase and ask them to explain why they lied – with contradictory statements they either lied at the height of the GWOT or they’re lying now.
    Better yet, just ask them this: If they’re the ones responsible for the war machine, and they’re openly talking about problems with it, why aren’t they the first ones being fired?

  • Paul DeVincenzo

    I am about 2/3 of the way through Robert Gate’s “Duty.” Great read by the way. After reading this article and some of the posts you can see why Gates put so much stock in talking to small units, their junior officers, NCOs and young soldiers, REGARDLESS of their active /Guard and Reserve affiliation. The Army’s Afghanistan and formerly Iraq’s strategic successes rests with them, not the military “experts” quoted in this article. What does Rossi propose, that DOD go back to a pre-Desert Storm mentality towards the utilization of the Guard? I really thought we were all past this. Stereotyping the performance of all large Guard units shows a true lack of of understanding of the military arts and belies a purely partisan political agenda. Small unit performance is what has and will define and determine COIN sucess, NOT at the BCT level.

    • Colin Clark

      Paul, COIN is over. Combined arms, hybrid war are the new/old things now. Hence the focus on large units. We’ll probably have to relearn and retrain for COIN ops in a decade or so, but no one in the regular army is using COIN as a planning construct.

    • Gary Church

      “Will” determine COIN success? Try reading some history on the Boer war and you will find out what the key to success in COIN is. We are not and have never had success…..and will not. Not unless we turn these places into concentration camps like the British did and even then the religious factor makes it doubtful. Some people think Gates saved the world with MRAPs but the truth is he was dragged kicking and screaming into protecting the troops like everyone else and is just another ambitious bureaucrat. But maybe I should take a look at the book. Maybe that is not the whole truth; but then, you will never get the whole truth on an internet forum.

  • dave

    He did not say anything about 155th HBCT. Owning kalsu, kerbela, najaf, or iskandria. We owned our own area and worked under the Marines and had a active duty bn under us.

  • Chris Owens

    as a former member of the 149th from kentucky…..our brigade was asked to close down all bases in Iraq….why was that
    possibly because when charlie 2/123d was there in 2006, we were known as wildcat, we found more IEDs before they exploded and were in the daily reports more than every other day ……..fact is , we did our job very well, and were very well organized

    I cant speak for other states national guard, but kentucky has some of the finer units

    • Gary Church

      I don’t like the flag upside down. Not appropriate. You need to get rid of that. If you don’t know why you need to think about it.

      • Chris Owens

        gee gary….I was only in for 23 years…… would think in that time I would learn a thing or 2

        of course I know what the upside down means……..our whole nation is in distress, we have been overrun ……can you not see that, if you cant, you are part of the problem in the U.S.

        • Gary Church

          gee Chris….what a coincidence….I was in 23 years to. Really. I did learn a thing or two. I don’t quite know what you mean by overrun. Do you mean by immigrants? Are you unhappy seeing people with an accent and wearing funny clothes driving a more expensive car or living in a bigger house? I am with you on that. That’s human nature. Are you unhappy seeing tatooed pierced shambling droopy pants freaks everywhere? I am with you on that to. I thought I was cool with my long hair as a teenager- now I am disgusted. Are you unhappy with 50 channels of garbage on the flat screen and the price of food going up every month? I don’t watch TV but I am with you on food prices. Getting old is hard- it is hard to change with the times. We will be gone soon enough and it will be like we were never here; the world will go on. We can do what we can to make it better for those who remain- but signalling grave distress makes you look weak. Like the french and there quenelle; we don’t need to act out like that. Cowboy up and put the flag up right please.

      • goldushapple

        There’s always that one poster who talks and talks and talks …

        That’s you, Gary.

  • dude

    As a Guardsmen I’m a little biased. I have noticed a few themes expressed in the above comments. Yes the Guard brings a different skill set than does the reg army. And yes the reg army does do it everyday. From my experience the reg army is very narrow minded, task oriented, selfish/brash, brainwashed and Has a low brain function. When we were ripping our replacements out it became clear to us immediately that these guys were very poor soldiers. On top of that they were so “brainwashed” to their task they could not look around to see what else was missing. No one would or could step out and lead because they were waiting for someone else to tell them what to do it. I was an E4 and had to rip in an E7. But really there were literally 15 guys that took my place. No BS, 15!!! Those guys took my place but still couldn’t do it. Why? Not because I’m some super soldier!!! Its because I had exsperiance working in the real world and could manage and problem solve. This room full of NCO’s and officers could not and would not listen to me about anything. They would not even look at all of our Intel work we had been gathering for 6 months. They saw Guard so figured we didn’t know shit. So they scraped it all and started from scratch. Almost started a fire fight with Pakistan. And even pulled out of an area after an IED went off, they left people burning in their vehicles. Didn’t pull security didn’t help. Just freaked out jumped back in their vice and returned to base. They also left on missions without informing anyone, they couldn’t find any of their common. All they gave a shit about was picking which B hunt they would stay in and how to steal our AC. Yes, they stole our AC right out of our tents! That’s your precious active army. A F’ing joke! Now I’m sure there are some good units out there!!! Half of 101st we also worked with were pretty good dudes. But please don’t tell me the National Guard can’t handle their shit. We brought professionalism and professionals to the fight. They brought kids who were right out of high school and 30 something army troops who knew only how to do their minuet job with blinders on.

    • Gary Church

      We always made jokes about screaming chickens when I was in. Can’t do that anymore and if I ever hear one I will have to say something about it…loudly and angrily. 101 lost alot of people.
      The biggest problem with active duty units I saw was that person who ruined it for everyone else and dragged the whole team down with their bullying and everything-is-B.S. attitude. Seems like there was always one of those around. And when these thugs were NCO’s they infected everyone else. If the guard and reserves have fewer of those then they have a big edge.

  • SGT.Toney

    funny that it doesn’t show any TF Phodenix missions in 2007, I was a part of TF phoenix in 2007 in Afghanistan and I was apart of the Oregon National Guard 41st IBCT.

  • RetiredGuardSNCO377

    So over the course of my 15 year military career I’ve worked
    with both the Active Component and National Guard and believe that I can
    provide a pretty unbiased opinion on this i.e. the strengths and weaknesses of
    both organizations.

    In order to give
    credit where credit is due, I must first give the AC certain props. Without a
    doubt the AC puts on a better “dog and pony show” so to say e.g. they are much
    more practiced as well as more knowledgeable at things like Drill and Ceremony,
    customs and courtesies, organized group physical fitness, and uniform/appearance
    regulations. Attending various TRADOC schools throughout my career, you could
    obviously tell who the ARNG Soldiers were as most were not nearly as
    comfortable in these areas or view them nearly as importantly. That being said,
    these areas mainly consist of various idiosyncrasies as well as other minutia
    and do not matter in the in the big scheme of things and may even lower moral
    and lower the mission success rate.

    Working with the Guard, I have seen an obvious difference in
    the quality of the Soldiers – specifically at the NCO Ranks. Many E4s –E7s I’ve
    worked with had a Bachelor’s if not a Master’s degree and had 15-30 years of
    experience doing white collar management type duties. Many could easily be
    given responsibilities that would normally be given to a company or junior
    field grade officer and be successful. In contrast, many of the AC NCOs were
    very blue collar like, with very few at the junior grades possessing a higher
    education, and normally performing work and duties of a more physical or
    mundane nature, lacking the ability to speak with correct grammar and syntax. Even at the senior levels, they were more like
    supervisors rather than managers, strategic leaders, and planners. Senior NCOs
    E8 and E9 in the AC seemed more interested in pointing out various forms of
    minutia on subordinates i.e. on the spot uniform corrections or asking why
    vehicles weren’t parked perfectly on line outside the chow all. In the Guard,
    individuals at these ranks normally had higher level degrees and actual
    management experience, contributing more towards the actual mission than their
    AC counterparts i.e. actually advising their
    commanders on important matters.

    Finally, many of the junior enlisted that I’ve seen in the
    AC were kids straight out of high school, many who had never had a real job
    before, and who would have clearly been fired on the spot if they ever were
    hired for one, as they lacked any type of work ethic. These individuals were in
    the ARNG as well, but made up a MUCH smaller percent of the units, as there was
    generally only room for a new Soldier when someone retired. In my experience,
    seeing anyone within the ranks of E1-E3 was actually a rarity in the ARNG,
    while they were quite common within the AC.

    Within the IT field, I’ve seen many ARNG Soldiers at junior
    ranks with a decade of experience and possessing certifications like the CCNA,
    MCSE, and CISSP. Individuals of this quality and caliber were generally non-existent
    within the AC, as anyone with these skill sets would have either gone Warrant
    Officer, or gotten out to become a contractor rather than staying enlisted.

    That being said, I suppose that it is possible that AC type personnel
    who have no civilian equivalent i.e.
    special forces might know slightly more than their ARNG Counterparts, as they
    have more training time, although I have little experience with this to give
    any input.

    • Gary Church

      The lack of college degrees among active duty vs reserve and guard is a consequence of needing a job and enlisting in the first place. Mundane is not a good word to use and makes people want to refer to you in less than favorable terms. Warrant officers other than pilots do not have a great reputation by the way and quality skills being non-existent in the active force is really….arrogant. Here I am active duty my whole career and taking time to write to support reserves and guard people and someone like you decides to demean their active duty counterparts and condescend. Go advise your commander to slap you.

      As for the Special Forces knowing “slightly more”, you are sooooo right about that. Jeez.

      • MsFans

        So don’t support Guard people and Reserves! They are only out to get something for as little work as possible, anyway! Why don’t you slap yourself while you’re at it Zippy?

        • goldushapple

          I feel sorry for your husband. He obviously married a woman who isn’t love of his life, unless, of course, you are a reflection of your husband then yea, you two belong together.

    • BobbyB0yRoth


      You say you’re retired but have only 15 years experience –
      are you medically retired? I have to say that while some of your arguments have
      some truth behind them, I’m not necessarily sure if they actually make the
      Guard better (I’m career guard by the way).
      The work that you refer to as “blue collar” and “mundane” i.e. grunt
      work needs to be done. Someone has to be there to do it and has to be willing
      to do it. An E4 who has management experience and a Master’s degree is not
      necessarily the right individual. You talk about NCOs in the Guard having the
      abilities to be strategic leaders and planners, but the fact is that this is
      not the function of an E4, E5, or E6. The Army needs people to sweep floors,
      dig ditches, and to supervise those who are doing this type of work. Many of
      these highly educated individuals in the ARNG (who I have witnessed), have
      complained and refused to do these types of jobs when they need to be done,
      confusing their role in the ARNG with their civilian job. If an E5 wants to be
      a strategic planner then he can go to OCS. You also mentioned Soldiers with
      15-30 years work experience. Again, while I know this is true, do you really
      want E4s and E5s who are in their late 50s who are set in their ways and cannot
      be changed or mentored? I also have to ask that if someone is that squared
      away, how is that that they are only an E5 after 30 years of service? In the AC
      they would have been removed before they got to that point. While there is definite
      truth about your AC E9s doing nothing but walking about and making “spot
      corrections”, I will let you know that the ARNG has E9s as well and most of
      them do the exact same thing with the
      exception that they also can’t pass the PT Test. While many of the Soldiers in
      Guard units are good, the biggest weakness that I’ve seen are with the Senior
      Leaders (O5 and above) serving in command positions. I’ve seen many individuals
      who don’t work in supervisory positions during their fulltime job and have no
      idea how to command, often going on a power craze the one weekend a month when
      they are in control. By no means is this a rule of thumb, as I’ve worked with
      some great ARNG Officers, but this is just something I’ve witnessed. I’ve
      gotten the feeling that many of these individuals would not have been put into
      these positions in the AC or would have been better groomed for them if they
      were. In the ARNG they got them due to political connections within their state
      i.e. who they know. We have two O6’s that are married, and another two that are
      sisters. Statistically how does this happen? There is much nepotism, as our TAG
      has various relative who were hired for technician as well as AGR jobs
      throughout the state. In the AC wouldn’t this be illegal. Just food for

      • Guest

        lol to the nepotism. I thought this only happened in my State. My old State Sergeant Major had also his children hired as AGRs. We also had two Fullbird Colonels that worked on AGR and were a couple, although they were both female (They got married after the DADT was removed). I’m not sure this counts as nepotism though as they met on the job, although when they were both Captains from what I was told. We had to male Colonels were brothers, and numerous cases of husbands/wives, siblings, and parents/children all working together with high rank. That State Sergeant Major that I mentioned – one of his daughters was an E8 and the other one was a CW3 – both on AGR, and all while he was still serving.

        • Sowhatsyourpoint

          I’m a government employee, and I have to say that this is not unique to the National Guard. This type of “nepotism” happens in any environment where people work together for long periods of times i.e. decades. I’ve worked for IRS and now DOJ and I have to say that this is pretty rampant in both situations. The reason you don’t see this on active duty is because people PCS before the political connections really form. In state National Guards and in Federal Agency’s people know that they will be working together for a very long time, so they tend to hire who they like and will get along with over who is the most qualified for the job. This is not unusual in any organization, and unfortunately it gets extended in some situations to hiring one’s relatives. The State Sergeant Major that you talked about was probably a pretty squared away and competent guy himself – it is probably his “appointees” that are not. Anyways this type of this is the sacrifice that the Guard realistically has to deal with in exchange for the unit cohesion that you get with Soldiers who are able to train together for years. Usually though, this is limited to AGR and Technician hires at State Headquarters, and doesn’t impact the M-Day guys. I’m guessing that you are fulltime.

          • JCM112335

            Ok you guys shouldn’t be joking around about this, and you shouldn’t be
            so accepting of the status quo either. The nepotism at the State
            National Guards is a serious problem. I was let go of my ADSW job at the
            end of the FY quite a few years ago and replaced with someones nephew
            who just joined and was only 19 years old. I applied for tons of
            permanent AGR and Tech jobs but couldn’t hired for any of them – it was
            always someones friend or relative that made the cut over me. I ended up
            having to volunteer for deployments three times just pay my bills and
            feed my family. For those of you defending the Guard, I will tell you
            that they don’t give a crap about you. My commander told me straight up
            that it is not the Guard’s responsibility to find a Soldier a Fulltime
            job. I tried to join the AC and they said no because I am on a permanent
            profile and am too old. It’s BS – I’m in good enough shape to be
            deployed three times, but not good enough to be hired on AGR or to go
            into the regular army? Everyone in the guard is only out for themselves.
            Let Congress do what they want with it and the Army.

  • AC affraid

    Okay, we need 75,000 QRF AC Troops. Who’s only Mission is to act as
    a QRF
    defensive force until the Guard and Reserves arrive. That QRF AC force
    will be supported by all other Services.
    Within the ARNG we will have a force of
    40,000 and Army Reserves 40,000 as additional QRF (deploy within 30 Days) lead by our
    best Reserve Soldiers and paid to remain proficient in all aspects
    of combat within their QRF structure. All QRF Units will be resourced
    and train to maintain a high level of readiness. We would increase the ARNG and
    Reserves substantially and save loads of money each year
    The Reserves will
    take over bases and conduct training regularly where the Army now
    conducts training. The Res QRF forces would perform two-two week AT’s a year
    and conduct combat maneuvers, weekend drill would be not just sitting
    on their butts but conducting training and maneuvers at
    Army installations when feasible. Just think of the ways this could be
    done and our economy saved.
    AC should be scared…

    Is there not other countries that deploy a similar concept of
    a full reserve force?

    The million man Army in China is mostly reserves right?

  • tboxblues

    All I know is that after twenty eight years in the Mississippi national guard is that we have been evaluated at NTC as one of the best brigades in the military including active component. I attribute this to the fact that national guard members are a tighter unit, they do not leave their unit that often or transfer out. There is undoubtedly more cohesion in the guard, most of the men and women in my brigade I have known personally for many years and trained with them for the better part of my career. Unlike the active components that are reassigned every two or three years. When you train with the same soldiers every drill every year you definitely have an advantage over any active duty unit.

    • Gary Church

      Everyone always talked about this when I was in; how a regimental system would make for a much tighter unit. I never saw much unit cohesion when I was in with people constantly transferring in and out. The other side of this was that no one wants to take orders from someone who used to be there buddy. When someone made E-5 when I was in they got sent to another unit to avoid this. I had some hard times with my former buddies when I was put in charge of them (I changed services); a real eye opener as many can attest. Pro’s and cons to everything. IMO an army needs infantry and armor enlisted guys and more 11 bang bangs than anything else. Historically we have always come up way short of infantrymen in every single war and had to throw in hastily trained people. And unfortunately they need to be young. In certain theaters in world war 2 the older soldiers did OK (desert) but in others (jungle) they were all gone after a month. Young infantryman- as many tens of thousands as we can train up and keep in the reserves and guard- and then separate in their 30’s and get fresh blood in- is the single most important resource to maintain and no one is talking about anything like that. Why? Because it is difficult to manage. Because there are way too many officers. Because all the money is being spent on apaches and other toys. Because, because, because.

  • Patrick

    That isn’t just in the Army service… The Naval Service deals with basically the same general Reservist Active-Duty cronyism and closed mindedness and training issues.. of course the terminology is of course different but we both have the same root problems and issues.. creed45 got it right…environment need to change

  • Jeff Hail

    Every location in the World I have been to where the American Military was present, there were National Guardsmen serving and sacrificing for our great Nation. Long are gone the Days of peace where you joined the Guard to help on your education and finances for trade in supporting your State in the event of disaster. Now the Guard is fighting our Nations battles across the globe and giving the ultimate sacrifice.
    God bless our volunteer Military.

  • Retired

    I started on Active duty, then spent the rest of my Army time in the Guard. Both have their advantages, but Active Duty makes the TNG feel much more natural in the long run. We all know the “train as you fight” statement. Even w/ AT’s, the Guard simply can’t match the month-long TNG tha occurs on Active Duty.

    Both sides have quality members.

    They were meant for different purposes until the Clinton administration gutted the Active Duty force size in order to balance the budget.

    Since the Guard (state uses such as rioting (crowd control) & natural disaster relief seemed to limit deployment experience, the Guard became what the Reserves used to be: a supplement for the Active Duty.

  • David12345

    As a former active duty soldier that went over to the national guard, I don’t understand the stigma that is placed on national guard soldiers. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan and performed as well as any soldier is expected to. Both deployments were tough, not because of the mission requirements, but because of the constraints that were placed on these units by the Active Duty Component. As an infantry soldier, I learned that no one is distinguished or better in the eyes of our enemies. Better yet, a round fired from the enemy doesn’t differentiate between the two. Yes there are some units in the guard system that could use some help. But who has served before 9/11? Who were the subject matter experts on active duty before 9/11? First Gulf War Veterans? Panama Veterans? Grenada? Somalia? The numbers were small in every unit. There was maybe a handful of CIB’s in every company. So how did the Active Duty Component become so much more superior than National Guard Soldiers? In my opinion, Combat and deployments became the standard as opposed to being a great soldier. I truly believe that soldiers have fixated on their personal stories of glory and unit assignments.

    While I served in Afghanistan, I was on foot and got injured from an IED that contained over 150 lbs of explosives. I didn’t get a Purple Heart and I didn’t cry about it either because I was happy to have lived. I performed my duties as a soldier and was injured. While placed in the WTU at Ft Knox I experienced every type of punishment for being a National Guard Soldier. Not just me, others as well. Did I cry then? Not a single tear. I love the Army and always will despite what a few bad apples I have encountered. The active duty soldier today lacks (again, only in my opinion) the discipline to truly live up to the Army Core Values. Those values have helped me all the way through my med board and discharge date. And those values have never told me to discount any brother or sister in arms because of their component. It is my biggest wish for this problem to be fixed and for all components to enhance their status and become force multipliers on the field of battle. Not argue over something petty, for example: this article and the actions of leaders that are several pay grades above us all.

    I hope my opinions or comments haven’t offended any soldiers or veterans. I thank you all for serving and living for something beyond yourselves. I welcome constructive criticism and the idea that I am wrong in my opinions so please comment if you have something that needs to be said.


  • AK

    great article…breaking defense is reporting on this better than anyone else.
    I have been in about 10 years. 5 years active with 10th MTN, and 5 years now in the guard, 4 of which have been active. The army, as a whole, has been great to me both on the regular and guard side.
    but I think the guard takes this way too far. everyone flipped out when Odierno said we only train 39 days a year. I say that’s BS, because it is probably less than 39 days. What do you guys do the sunday of drill? hard training, or maintenance and paperwork catch up? how about a holiday party during december drill, or a full day or even an entire drill weekend for PHA? or suicide stand down? are we really going to consider all those days “training days”? part of the problem is the extraneous requirements like resiliency, PHAs, etc. we still need to take care of on top of maintaining a trained force.
    someone also made the good point that we should stop using the last war as an example. very true indeed.

    last point: what I hear Odierno saying is things like “a guard force of 315k is too small”, and “as the active army gets smaller we will rely more on guard and reserves and train more together.” then i look at what the CA TAG posted on FB, calling fellow officers liars. who sounds more professional to you?

  • John

    Lets be honest. This focus on High Intensity Conflict (HIC) is well and good, and there should be focus because our nation faces the greatest risk to its existence in the HIC environment. Unfortunately for the HIC advocates, the “Long War”, “GWOT” whatever is far from over, and the enemy is unable to fight HIC. We are fiscally unable to continue COIN because it is too expensive. The way ahead is USSOCOM executing decisive actions with conventional forces shaping the battlefield in limited numbers for ultimate SOF success. The way ahead is a SOF centric economy of force operation, and the Defense Strategic Guidance, 2012 stated as such. The HIC/COIN argument is null. Neither. USSOCOM, foreign internal defense and limited, precise kinetic action is the future.

    • Gary Church

      Good points but too much pentagon-speak. Such verbage makes me nauseous.

      • John

        Only so many ways to speak strategically. Tactical conversations (LOE, etc) are what they are. Operations above corps doctrinally demand strategic terminology. It isn’t “Pentagon speak”, it is doctrinally correct speak. Words have meaning. I don’t believe there is any other correct way to talk about the strategic issue at hand. My actual solution is to remission one active and two ARNG divisions as low intensity (NOT COIN) divisions. That way they will be manned, equipped and trained to support USSOCOM in the GWOT. The rest of the force can focus on HIC. Also- kill the F35 now. It is bringing down the rest of the military.

        • Gary Church

          “Operations above corps doctrinally demand strategic terminology.”

          I demand you stop doing that. Irritating as hell.

  • Sam Silverton

    Know the facts! Learn more @

  • Brian Dear

    Fuck This Article.

  • give_me_a_break

    I’m not sure I trust the US Army. I am afraid they would very quickly become oppressors at home in obedience to a CINC who controls their careers. We have seen how compliant military leadership is to the will of their boss and how shallow military thinking is beyond engineering and operational mechanics. The Guard is a better bet for our liberties. The Army wants to become a constabulary force. Give the tanks, AIFV and artillery to the guard. If things get bad enough, they can get up to scratch and do the job

  • Adam Sanchez

    Oh hell no! Someone check this fool!

    OIF III, ’04-’05, 1-156 Armor takes Sector 00, SW of Camp Striker/BIAP (outside of ECP7), from 2nd BCT 10th Mountain. 1-156 Armor actually patrols it and takes multiple casualties. (Unlike 2nd BCT who was always reluctant to go off of the main MSRs). 1-156 Armor hands off to 3rd ID… 3rd ID shows a ‘tude about how we patrol, (they don’t want to go out at night), and gets their asses handed to them. 3rd ID then hands off to Georgia National Guard…. Georgia National Guard takes multiple casualties.

    Look, we were far from perfect… but we cowboy’d up when called upon.

    The only thing that was “for show” was Active Duty’s reluctance to actually patrol that DAMNED BATTLESPACE. (-;

  • Sam Silverton

    Protect the Guard: Protect the Nation! Learn more @ – General Rossi is sharing misleading data about the National Guard and its capabilities.

  • Justben

    I have 23+ years (15 of them full-time) as an ARNG officer, and while I believe that it’s true that we have many capabilities (diversity in individual soldier age, experience, life-skills) over many of the younger AC soldiers, my experiences with senior ARNG officers in Afghanistan (vs their AC counterparts) was VERY disappointing. I saw the same thing while serving with the 11th ACR (OPFOR) at Fort Irwin, CA (NTC). Guard units (BDE level) performed horribly during their rotations…most likely due to senior leader (yes, officers) lack of training, experience, or quality. Sorry, but my experience in training environments (the NTC) and in war, have shown me that the ARNG (BN level or below) is capable of amazing things…but above that we are grossly inferior to the active Army. Again, I don’t think that once a Guard officer gets to the O6 level or above, that he/she has nearly the training or EXPERIENCE of their “big” Army counterpart.

  • Fred Flint

    The fight is on for post OIF/OEF force structure. I wonder what kind of war Army leadership is planning to fight where they already know that they need to exclude the Guard? Another question I have is at what point in time would any NG/AR unit reach a level satisfactory to the AC; I think we all know the answer to that question is never. Let me help the AC to set the standard for the guard by looking back in history like the Vietnam war. During the Vietnam war I never read a story like this “oh, they are a draftee unit and should only get easy assignments as they are incapable of complex assignments.” IMO then that’s the standard. Next lets see what the Vietnam Army was composed of. Lets see, HS age kids with 12 weeks of basic and AIT, add a few shake and bake NCO’s, an ROTC LT out of OBC and viola, you have an Army. The AC people had no problem flinging these folks into the fray to include accepting their high casualties. But since they were led by AC career officers no one thought, “we need to cut the budgets of draftee units because they aren’t as good as AC units.” By their own actions that is the level the AC wants in an Army and as far as I am concerned the Guard meets that and more. I would bet this whole argument would go away if the Guard leadership was replaced with AC officers at BN and BDE so they can have more career opportunities. What this country does not need is a large standing army capable of threatening our liberty. All a President has to do is threaten retirements, promotions and lately an adultery charge and our constitution will be tossed under the bus and our liberty right along with it. BTW does anyone seriously think we could have maintained the GWOT for the last 13 years by drafting high school and college kids? For those of you who forgot the Vietnam war this country would have split apart at the seams. The Guard needs to remain as large or larger than the AC CONUS and also remain combat capable. AC guys get the biggest chunk of the budget anyway, why do they want to grab the Guard piece also.