Guard, Reserve Leaders Address Appropriations Subcommittee
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2004 National Guard and Reserve leaders met before a Senate subcommittee reviewing the fiscal 2005 military budget here April 7.
The leaders discussed transformation goals and spending requirements, but also touched on issues such as deployments, stress on the force and the war on terrorism before the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee.
Air Force Lt. Gen. James E. Sherrard III, chief of Air Force Reserve, Air Force Reserve Command, who addressed modernization efforts of several aircraft, said the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the global war on terrorism has meant that one in three Air Force reservists has been mobilized during that time. He said that such reliance has meant a change in how the Air Force Reserve employs its forces.
"Like our active duty partners, the men and women of the Air Force Reserve are very busy," the general said.
During fiscal 2003, Air Force Reserve Command made major Air and Space Expeditionary Force contributions and still met practically all of its aviation and support commitments, he said, deploying more than 23,350 personnel to meet those commitments. "The challenge for fiscal year 2004," he told the subcommittee, will be to meet the continued AEF demands of the global war on terrorism primarily with volunteers if the number of mobilized personnel decreases."
Lt. Gen. Dennis M. McCarthy, commander of Marine Forces Reserve, testified that Marines too are carrying a heavy load.
The general said Marine units have participated in all aspects of Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing air, ground, and combat service support as well as a large number of individuals augmenting Marine and joint staffs.
He said the Marine units completed 27,389 Reserve activations in response to both internal and joint operational requirements. Of the 27,389 Marines mobilized since 9/11, 1,426 have been mobilized more than once, he aid.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, Army Reserve chief, said increased deployments is a "critical issue" that should be recognized. He said the war in Iraq is the first extended-duration war the nation has fought with an all- volunteer force.
"There has been considerable concern raised about what is viewed as excessive reliance on the nation's reserve components, both for small-scale operations such as the Balkans rotations and for long-term contingency operations such as Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom."
Although only 33 percent of Army Reserve troop strength has been called to active duty, "raw numbers alone do not tell the whole story," he said.
"Some units -- notably military police and truck transportation units -- are in fact overextended, and it is true that some types of units have been used more in the war on terrorism than others," he explained. "Military police, civil affairs, military intelligence, transportation and biological detection and surveillance capabilities are the highest in utilization."
He told the subcommittee that Reserve leaders are committed to eliminating "pockets of specialty overstress" by increasing the numbers of some units in the active component, the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
He said the Defense Department is deeply involved in determining how to rebalance the active-reserve component force mix to mitigate the effects of overuse of particular specialties.
Army Lt. Gen. Roger C. Schultz, director for the Army National Guard, told the committee the Guard remains committed to its mission in the war on terror, but needs modernization, training and equipment.
"Our soldiers will not reach their fullest potential of readiness with outdated equipment, limited health care, and unpredictable deployment cycles," he said. "In all areas, however, we remain dedicated to using our resources efficiently and prudently."
Air Force Lt. Gen. Daniel James III, director of the Air National Guard, highlighted his service's accomplishment in the war on terror, noting that more than 36,000 Air Guard personnel were mobilized since 9/11 and that a third of the Air Force aircraft in Operation Iraqi Freedom have been from the Air Guard.
"We flew 100 percent of the Operation Enduring Freedom A-10 missions and 66 percent of the Iraqi Freedom A-10 tasking," he said. "The A-10s flew more combat missions in the Iraqi war than any other weapon system."
James said future needs will rely heavily on technological advances in space, command and control, intelligence and reconnaissance systems, information warfare and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Air Guard also is looking at the ability to conduct high volume and highly accurate attacks with significantly fewer platforms, he said.
For the Air Guard to remain part of the Total Force, "it has to expand its capabilities as joint warfighters and make the changes to integrate seamlessly into the joint warfighting force," he said.
"Now is the time for us to lead the way by considering, selecting and implementing new concepts and missions that leverage our unique strengths to improve Total Force capabilities in support of expeditionary roles and defense of the homeland," he emphasized. "This can only be accomplished by involving all Air National Guard stakeholders, working toward a common goal (of) enhanced future relevance for the entire Air National Guard."
James said the Air National Guard will continue to defend the nation in the war on terrorism while transforming for the future.
"We will do this across the full spectrum of operations in both the expeditionary and Homeland Defense missions," he said. "The men and women of the Air Guard are currently serving proudly in the far corners of the globe and here at home and will do so with distinction with the necessary tools to protect our freedoms."