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Old 09-01-2016, 02:15 PM
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Thumbs up Building Readiness to Meet Evolving Global and Homeland Needs

Building Readiness to Meet Evolving Globaland Homeland Needs
By General Frank J. Grass Chief, National Guard Bureau


This past fall, I passed my 46th year in uniform and during that
time, I have witnessed extraordinary change – change in our
military and change in the security environment in which we live.

The challenge of maintaining a capable, accessible, and affordable
operational National Guard comes at a pivotal time in our history, where
the actions we take now will set the course for future generations.
As I visit with our citizen soldiers and airmen in our states, territories and
countries where our service members are deployed, I see the most ready,
accessible, and capable Guardsmen and units in my 46 years of service.
With continued resourcing, I am confident that we will always be ready
to fight America’s wars, secure our homeland, and continue to forge
enduring partnerships.

I visited with Guardsmen forward deployed in Afghanistan, Djibouti,
Iraq, Kosovo, Kuwait, Qatar, and the Sinai and enhancing their combat
skills at the National Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center
and the Joint Multi-National Training Center in Hohenfels. From Brigade
Combat Teams on the ground to expeditionary wings operating in the skies,
our Guardsmen help ensure regional stability and security while working
seamlessly with our fellow Service members. With nearly 780,000 individual
overseas mobilizations since 9/11, the National Guard has proven, time and
again, its readiness and warfighting capabilities.

The leadership, individual and unit skill sets developed from doing complex
combat operations enables unsurpassed homeland capabilities and response.
As the original homeland security and defense force, our unique array of
authorities allows us to respond to the needs of the nation and the states.
Whether assisting victims of natural disasters such as wildfires, winter storms,
or hurricanes, or working hand-in-hand with state and local leaders and
emergency personnel during times of crises, the National Guard is postured in
nearly 2,600 communities across America and is the first military force to reach
the scene.


Recent cyber intrusions and espionage on our businesses and institutions
highlight why cyber is a national priority. The National Guard is at
the cutting edge with its cyber capabilities. The skills acquired by our
Guardsmen in their civilian capacity is an excellent fit for evolving DoD
cyber missions. The National Guard’s cyber capacity will play an integral
role as we coordinate with state and federal cyber professionals through
Army and Air Guard cyber units and continue to grow our cyber forces.

The National Guard enhances its warfighting and homeland capabilities
through the partnerships that it builds. We forge close working
partnerships with global, federal, regional, and state partners. In the
global sphere, the National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP),
established 23 years ago, continues to flourish and has evolved into
enduring partnerships with 76 nations. This program, which pairs
individual U.S. states with partner nations, continues to pay huge
dividends in establishing long-term security and personal relationships
while generating a significant return on investment. For example,
13 SPP partner nations have achieved NATO membership. Overall,
National Guard states have conducted 79 co-deployments with their
SPP partners to Afghanistan and Iraq. SPP countries in the Middle East
and Africa, with collaboration of National Guard state counterparts, are
participating in international coalition efforts to combat terrorist and extremist
organizations. In the Western Hemisphere, the National Guard and its partners
work closely on counter drug programs to help stem the flow of illegal drugs
into this country. A true measure of the program’s success is underscored by
the successful transition of many of our SPP partners from security consumers
to security providers, and the enhanced interoperability with our military.

During this past year, the SPP continued its expansion by formalizing two
new partnerships between Kentucky-Djibouti and Massachusetts-Kenya.
SPP partnerships stand as some of the strongest and most effective security
cooperation relationships in the world. The SPP delivers wide strategic
benefits by reducing the staggering costs of the U.S. going it alone. These
partnerships are grounded in common interests and shared values. They
develop strong bonds of cooperation, understanding, and trust that enable us
to work together effectively to meet the evolving security challenges of this
new century.

We look forward to continued expansion of the program and will work closely
with the Department of Defense, geographic combatant commands, and the
Department of State in addressing future challenges, enhancing capabilities,
promoting interoperability, and furthering the progress we have made with our
partner nations.

In the homeland, we forge close partnerships with local, state, and
federal agencies to prepare for contingencies and disasters that may
strike at home. We also work with individual geo-specific consortiums
such as those created for the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the New
Madrid Seismic Zone. In our communities, in both their civilian and
military roles, our Guardsmen are active with programs and services
such as Youth ChalleNGe and Joining Community Forces, and
rendering military funeral honors for veterans. These programs provide
critical support to families and individuals when they need it the most.
For example, Youth ChalleNGe is an alternative program for highschool
drop-outs to learn life skills and earn a high school diploma or
equivalency. Since the start of the ChalleNGe program in 1993, we had
more than 140,000 graduates; better posturing high-school drop-outs to
becoming more productive citizens.

The threats we face at home and abroad today are unprecedented in their
scope and variety. The recent terror events of Paris and San Bernardino,
Calif., the rise of China and its ambitions, the regional challenges
posed by a resurgent Russia, cyber intrusions on our homeland, and an
exploding migrant and refugee situation that has engulfed the borders of
many nations around the world are just some of the issues we see in the
headlines on every major newspaper around the world.
These global realities are intertwined with changes in our society that
come at extraordinary speed, have undefined borders, and coincide with
a modern American public that has higher expectations of its military.
We face these realities within a daunting fiscal environment that requires
us to balance the need to keep Americans safe against budgetary
constraints and increasing national debt.

Within this security backdrop, it is more important than ever to
ensure America has a resourced National Guard that can be a critical
component of the solution during these uncertain times. The Guard is
a cost-effective, scalable, operational force that preserves capability
and capacity, rather than forcing the nation to choose between them.
Resourcing the operational National Guard leverages the tremendous
value the Guard provides America with a force ready to meet our
domestic and overseas requirements.
The National Guard is also setting an environmental example within
the DoD. Embracing the motto to “make training lands accessible
to Soldiers,” the Florida and Minnesota Army Guard environmental
programs earned DoD-level recognition. Florida’s Camp Blanding Joint
Training Center was lauded for their natural resources conservation efforts
to protect 39 threatened and endangered animal and plant species. The
endeavor provided the four military services and state agencies access to
the 73,000-acre training installation. Minnesota’s Camp Ripley earned
DoD’s highest award for their sustainability initiative to install solar panels,
reducing their installation’s energy consumption by 45 percent. Such
money-saving efforts help combat the reduction of programmed resources
and enable greater readiness.
The Army National Guard and the U.S. Army are making the readiness of
the “Total Army” a top priority. The Director of the Army National Guard
established four lines of effort designed to enhance that readiness: leader
development; ready forces; operational forces; and resilient communities.
Leader development seeks to mold competent leaders of character who
inspire, plan and execute our dual-mission. Ready Forces is an effort to
ensure we continue to recruit and retain quality, deployable Soldiers. As an
Operational Force, it’s imperative that our resourcing and policies allow
the Army Guard to seamlessly blend with the Army to perform any mission
assigned. Finally, our Soldiers and their families are part of a Resilient
Community because of substantial investments made to programs that
support their needs and recognize their service. As part of each line of
effort, accountability is integral to ensuring our success. Accountability
demands ethical decision making, transparent processes, thorough
oversight and fiscal responsibility.

We need to ensure our Soldiers are trained to project land power anywhere
our nation requires, within appropriate timeframes. Units across all three
components of the U.S. Army must remain interoperable. Our military and
civilian leaders require and deserve a full range of options to address the
threats and instability our nation faces today, both at home and abroad.

The Air National Guard continues to make significant contributions to our
national security at home and abroad. Overseas, the Air National Guard
provides both operational combat and support capabilities to warfighters
that meet our nation’s defense objectives. Guard Airmen supported more
than 9,000 deployment requirements to 56 countries and on every continent
last year. At home, the Air National Guard secures America’s skies as
the primary force supporting the North American Aerospace Defense
Command. Simultaneously, Guard Airmen respond daily to requests from
their local communities for assistance during emergencies and times of
need. The Air Guard will continue to answer our nation’s call by
adapting to the nation’s 21st century security needs.

The National Guard mirrors the communities that it serves and
our people are its foundation. We will continue to embrace
diversity and inclusion to ensure we tap into our entire reservoir
of talent. As the National Guard strives to become a model of
fiscal stewardship within the Department of Defense, we must
also continue to do more in eliminating abuse, harassment,
and discrimination. Suicide prevention will always be a
priority and we must do all that we can to ensure we have the
proper education, training, and availability of mental health
professionals to create resilient soldiers and airmen. We must
ensure that we assist returning soldiers and airmen, wounded
warriors, and veterans reintegrate into their communities and
honor our fallen service members. We will continuously
examine our actions and progress through candid and critical
assessments from top to bottom. The National Guard greatly
appreciates the resources our nation invests in our wide array of
effective programs.

It is inspiring to see what the men and women of our National
Guard do for our states, territories, and our nation. Our soldiers
and airmen continue to show great valor in combat. Our people
continue to leave their jobs and families and report to their
armories and bases, and bring calm after storms, fires, and floods
have devastated communities. And, our Guardsmen strengthen
and stabilize regions around the world while we develop
meaningful security partnerships.

As we face the challenges of this new century, the National
Guard is ready to carry out its missions through the capable men
and women who serve. They are part of a proud heritage dating
back to 1636 – nearly 400 years of protecting our nation. I am
proud to serve with each and every Guardsmen. Their dedication
and professionalism is truly remarkable.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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