By Sgt. Darron Salzer, National Guard BureauJanuary 19, 2011
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., (Jan. 19, 2011) -- The Army National Guard is the best force provider for domestic operations, said Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director.
"So our equities in the Army Guard are significant."
These were Carpenter's opening remarks Tuesday during the 2011 National Guard Bureau Domestic Operations Workshop at the Gaylord National Convention Center here.
Budgetary concerns are always an issue, and Carpenter said.
"We know at the national level budgets are going to decline," he said. "Currently, we recognize that there are only a few states that are not struggling with their state budgets, so resourcing issues are something that we need to address."
"In the last 10 years, whenever we've seen a problem at the national level with state budgets, we've tried to [patch it up] with money or resources, but now we are at a point where we need to make sure that the money and resources are being used in the best ways possible," he explained.
This is not going to be a case of trying to do more with less, it's going to be making the best use of our past investments, he said.
"[Domestic operations] is a no-fail mission. We all know that," Carpenter said. "The American people are not going to stand for failure of the mission in the homeland, so this is a priority. We just need to make sure that we are planning far enough ahead to put the resources against it."
Another area to look at when it comes to continued domestic operations is manning, said Carpenter.
"In many cases our domestic operations forces, such as Homeland Response Forces and Civil Support Teams, have been put together outside of the Army design process," he said.
"Now is a good time for us to take a step back and look at these organizations, ensuring that we train them, man them and resource them to the appropriate levels."
The Army Guard has two missions, homeland and overseas, and equipment that can operate in both areas is key, he said.
"Equipment, such as those that are critical dual-use, are a great way to build the capacity within the Guard to not only respond to the overseas mission, but to also respond to emergencies and disasters here at home," said Carpenter.
"We've invested a lot of money in dual-use equipment over the last five years, and it has been a huge success story, with waves of modernized equipment pouring into the states at levels that we have never seen before."
Carpenter said these investments in the Army Guard are paying off, and that 96 percent of domestic events that happen in the states are taken care of at the state or local level.
"No one should think less of that four percent that is federal or national response, but I am a firm believer that if it doesn't happen at the territory, district, or state level, it doesn't happen at all."