Guard Maintains Strong Bond With Services
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau
WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2010 The relationship between the National Guard and its parent components has never been stronger, the Guard’s top officer said here yesterday.
Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, addresses attendees at the Reserve Officers Association of America's Industry Day in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2010. During the event, McKinley spoke on ways in which the Guard will continue to meet mission expectations in a budget constrained environment. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“I don’t think I’ve seen relations between our parent services and the Guard be any better,” said Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau. He addressed representatives from various industries as part of a panel discussion at the Reserve Officers Association of America.
“Right now, the United States Army and the Army National Guard is as close as they’ve ever been in history, and the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard have always been close,” McKinley said.
That closeness has largely come from nearly a decade of the Guard supporting operations overseas, McKinley said, noting that maintaining strong relations between the reserve and active-duty components is a vital part of his job.
“That relationship has to be strong and it has to be enduring,” he said. “My role is to make sure that the secretaries of the Army and Air Force and the National Guard are synchronized.”
That includes support for the Guard’s domestic mission, McKinley said.
Expected budget tightening over the next few years means constrained resources and finding new ways to accomplish the mission, including the domestic one, the general said.
“In this new budgetary climate, it’s going to be difficult for all of us to have the kind of support that we’ve had over the last eight to 10 years,” McKinley said. “So, we’re going to have to learn to live within a new set of means. We really haven’t seen what that new bottom line is going to be.”
However, those budgetary changes largely are not going to affect the way in which the Guard is equipped, he said, adding that in years past the Guard and reserve often got outdated or cast-off equipment from the active components.
“We know that the big savings … is not going to come from weapons systems or equipment,” McKinley said. “We do have to have a degree of modernization for all our services.”
That is going to mean revamping the way daily business is done within the Guard, he said.
“I’ve suggested to the adjutants general that we take a deep dive just to see how efficient we in the National Guard are, how much more efficient we can become, and how much more value we can bring to the United States of America, to our governors and to our Department of Defense,” he said.
Ensuring that the domestic response mission is met, McKinley said, may mean a greater partnership with other agencies.
“It takes everybody -- all of our voices -- to make sure that we have adequate resources expended on the types of things we are going to be expected to perform,” he said.