National Guard is short on gear

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by Bear, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    National Guard is short on gear
    By Philip Dine
    Wednesday, Nov. 02 2005


    National Guard units in Illinois and Missouri are underequipped across the
    board, from vehicles to radios to night-vision devices, according to internal
    military figures.

    While Guard units' supplies are below full strength nationwide, as shown by a
    recent government study, military data on individual states paint a
    particularly stark picture for Illinois and Missouri.

    The equipment shortage puts the states in a more vulnerable position in the
    event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack and makes it more difficult for
    reservists to properly train - whether for domestic emergencies or overseas
    deployment - political officials and Guard members say.

    Among the shortages:

    Illinois has 4 percent of the medium trucks required by military standards -
    six out of 166 - while Missouri has only 28 percent.

    Missouri has 37 percent of the night-vision devices required, and Illinois has
    47 percent.

    And the National Guard Bureau says the problem is getting worse across the
    country, with a great deal of Guard equipment - 64,000 items in all - having
    been destroyed or left in Iraq, and more being written off every day.

    "We have nothing to train on. We're begging and pleading to get just one truck
    so we can train our drivers and engineers," state Rep. Jim Avery, R-Crestwood,
    said Wednesday.

    A specialist with the 138th Engineer Company from Farmington, Avery spent a
    year and a day in Iraq searching for roadside bombs, returning in March.
    Recently, he helped out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and says his
    company had to scrounge for vehicles before heading to the Gulf Coast.

    "Overall, we just have a bunch of junk, and that's the truth and everybody
    knows it," said Avery, a former Marine who is vice chairman of the
    appropriations panel for Guard equipment in the Missouri House.

    "If we don't have it, we can't train on it, and if we can't train then there's
    really no purpose to even go to drill," Avery said.

    Mark Allen, chief spokesman for the National Guard Bureau, said that in
    September 2001, before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guard equipment levels
    stood at 75 percent - but have fallen to 34 percent.

    "We've left a lot of equipment in theater, and of course a lot of it has been
    destroyed and is not coming back," Allen said. "The Department of Defense has a
    responsibility to fill these items for us, and so that's what we expect to

    A Government Accountability Office study late last month found that National
    Guard units generally are short of equipment, in part because they have been
    asked to leave vital equipment in Iraq for replacement troops.

    Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said governors have agreements
    with other states to share equipment in a pinch. In addition, she said, the
    Army is seeking $21 billion to modernize and re-equip the National Guard over
    the next six years.

    But Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is calling on President George W. Bush and
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to address the problem right away, by
    requesting money in the next budget, due in 60 days.

    The underequipping of the National Guard "reflects the real cost" of the war in
    Iraq, Durbin said.

    "In Illinois, the numbers are startling," Durbin said. "It really has put our
    National Guard at a disadvantage. More than 70 percent of the National Guard
    units in Illinois were activated (for Iraq) and many . . . came home

    Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., who is joining Durbin's effort, said Missouri's lack of
    needed equipment "puts us further out on the margin of risk than we need to
    be." Trucks are the biggest gap, and the only way to catch up is to fully fund
    the required amount of trucks for at least one full year, he said.

    Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., who heads the Senate National Guard Caucus,
    said the Guard "has a dangerously low level of equipment" given its mission as
    "the primary responder to domestic disasters."

    P.J. Crowley, director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress
    and a former National Security Council member, says the Guard's expanded
    mission hasn't yet translated into expanded resources and equipment.

    "When you look at the combination of an overseas commitment like Iraq, a
    hurricane and the prospect of a terrorism attack, the reality is the Guard and
    its equipment are stretched too thin," Crowley said.

    Spence Jackson, chief spokesman for Gov. Matt Blunt, said the heavy involvement
    of Missouri Guard units in relief efforts for Katrina "drove home" the need for
    more funding and equipment for the state's National Guard.

    Chief Warrant Officer Bud Roberts, spokesman for the Illinois National Guard,
    said that by shifting equipment around as needed within the state, units can
    generally perform required training and missions. When units lack equipment,
    there usually are transportation units within two or three hours' distance - in
    Springfield, East St. Louis, Cairo, Chicago - to drive it to them.

    "But making do doesn't do it anymore for the Guard," he said. "We're robbing
    Peter to pay Paul. The Reserves are such an integral part of the force
    structure that it's not acceptable to have these shortages - because we can be
    called up at any time to deploy."
  2. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Hmmm, guess that answers why we failed our inspection on training!
  3. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We can't equip our troops, but we could build a $230,000,000.00 bridge to nowhere in Alaska. Not to mention the waste that is the National Endowment of the Arts. :mad:
  4. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Ok, Im just to darn simple minded. I supose I know it wouldnt work due to the beureucracey and crap, but in KC MO there is a nice big Ford plant and IIRC the GM plant there is also still open, but I guess it wouldnt make any sense for the state gov to toss a tax break to those plants in order to get some the trucks they need to be able to help secure thier plants and maybe give them a reciept for a 'cheritable donation' or whatever so they could also write it off on fed taxes and such. While perhapse not on the same par as GI stuff Bass Pro Shop also has thier HQ in Springfield MO and I guess it would also somehow be an absurd idea to offer them some kind of a deal along with the chance to get some good press by donateing some of the night vision stuff they sell, I mean Im sure the gov has stuff better than the gen 2 and 3 stuff they sell but seems to me that it might beat a lantern or a mag light. Then of coarse it would be absolutely absurd to take some of the trucks and stuff that have been Ricoed or left at the impound lots and rather than auctioning them off let inmates at the jails or teens at the trade schools learning to be mechanics go through them and be sure they are in good working order and then slap a coat of camo on them and put them into service.
    Granted useing some of these methods may not keep everything interchangeable and so on but just one of my simple minded things, I figure if your that badly in need you do with what you have acess to in order to improve the situation. [peep]
  5. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    The crux, the root of the problem is, Bush went to war with a military that was in sad shape from 8 years of being cut to the bone. Clinton inherited a military that was in pretty good shape from Reagan and Bush 1, and then cut it deeply. In the civilian world, you can layoff some of the deadweight in the tough times, but in the military, the first two things that get cut are maintenance and training. In Slick Willy's second term, the Army fielded a new battalion of M1A2 tanks, and that created a worldwide shortage of 120 mike mike ammo. They had forecast the exact number of rounds needed, not one more.
  6. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    [​IMG] [ditto]
  7. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Hey, be at the whale dung level and look upward!
  8. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    My friend, if you made it to the whale dung level, I'm proud of you. I was only able to aspire to being whale dung on the bottom of the ocean.
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