Leaders Detail Future of National Guard | Article & More Trending News


Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, and Air Force Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony L. Whitehead, the bureau's senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, discuss Hokanson's priorities for the National Guard — people, readiness, modernization, and reform — with reporters at the Pentagon Jan. 24, 2023.

Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, and Air Force Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony L. Whitehead, the bureau’s senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, talk about Hokanson’s priorities for the National Guard — folks, readiness, modernization, and reform — with reporters on the Pentagon Jan. 24, 2023.
(Photo Credit: Army National Guard Master Sgt. Jim Greenhill)


ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Guard stays an integral half of U.S. army may, and it is altering to stay efficient for the longer term, Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, mentioned Tuesday.

Hokanson and Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony L. Whitehead, the senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, held a wide-ranging information convention on the challenges dealing with the National Guard and its 430,000 service members.

The National Guard is the strategic reserve of the U.S. army. Guardsmen are prepared immediately and have to be prepared for the longer term. They had been among the many forces who fought the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, however additionally they carry out missions for state governors. They even have a mission on the U.S. border with Mexico. Guardsmen are known as upon to assist Americans within the aftermath of fireplace, flood, hurricanes, earthquakes and extra. Thousands of National Guardsmen helped Americans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today’s National Guard is ready and capable and a vital part of our national defense strategy,” Hokanson mentioned. “As a combat reserve of the Army [and] the Air Force, our Soldiers and Airmen are built to fight our nation’s wars. It is manning, training and equipping for combat that allows us to also serve our communities in their time of need.”

While the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over, the National Guard nonetheless has 22,000 service members deployed abroad. “In 2022, we provided ground and air forces to all of America’s combatant commands,” the final mentioned. “That included Army formations in the Middle East and Europe; global tanker airlift and fighter aircraft support; and training with our allies and partners around the globe.”

With a watch towards the longer term, Hokanson and Whitehead began inspecting “people” applications since every little thing will depend on the folks of the Guard and their households.

The basic mentioned about 60,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen haven’t any medical protection. “That’s why the Health Care for Our Troops Act is on my radar,” he mentioned.

The laws would offer premium-free medical insurance coverage for members of the National Guard and different reserve parts.

“This the right thing to do for our service members and their families, who often bear undue financial and medical hardships as a result,” he mentioned. “Yes, there is a cost to this, but I believe the lost readiness costs are more than the price of that health care. The Health Care for Our Troops Act is ultimately the right thing to do, both morally and for the medical readiness of our force.”

Hokanson can also be adamant that Guardsmen performing the identical duties as their active-duty counterparts ought to get the identical pay and advantages. “Just like them, we spend weeks, months, even years away from our families, but to be side-by-side performing the exact same mission and the same duties and not be treated the same is something that needs to be resolved,” he mentioned. “Duty status reform goes a long way to address this inequity, which is also vital to our recruiting and retention efforts.”

On the operational facet, the Army National Guard will modernize its brigades and divisions to supply all-domain fight forces divisionally aligned with the Army as quickly as doable, he mentioned. “This will keep us seamlessly interoperable with the Army, make rotations more predictable, and give our guardsmen more leadership opportunities. Most of all, it will ensure we are ready whenever our nation calls.”

The Guard additionally has a task in readiness of forces removed from U.S. shores. The Guard’s State Partnership Program is in its thirtieth yr. It companions state Guard models with international militaries. The most evident instance is California’s long-term partnership with Ukraine.

The closing problem is modernizing the power. “We created a 25-year modernization road map for all our major weapons systems,” Hokanson mentioned. “We’re in lockstep with the Army on things like multi-domain operations, long-range precision fires, main battle tanks, air defense, future vertical lift and more.”

The Guard can not present as much as tomorrow’s fights with yesterday’s gear. “We must be interoperable and have the same equipment whenever possible,” he mentioned. “On the Air Force size side, we have 25 fighter squadrons, and we need to keep all 25 fighter squadrons because our nation needs them. These squadrons need modernized fighters to provide the combat capability and strategic depth our nation needs to deter our adversaries.”

The Guard has been instrumental in serving to Ukraine resist the Russian invasion. The California-Ukraine partnership reaches again to the founding of the Partnership for Peace effort following the breakup of the Soviet Union and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. In 2014, after the primary Russian invasion that occupied Crimea, Guardsmen labored “to identify those areas where [the Ukrainian military] felt that they could really improve to prepare themselves,” the final mentioned.

Hokanson and Whitehead mentioned that final yr, there have been many who felt Russia would overwhelm its neighbor. But the coaching they obtained — particularly the event of an expert noncommissioned officer corps — was instrumental in blunting Russia’s thrust towards Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

“As our Guard units have rotated through since 2015 with the joint military training group [in] Ukraine, we’ve really focused on developing their noncommissioned officers, as well as a couple other areas that they, that they really wanted to work on,” the final mentioned. “Obviously, the greatest credit goes to the Ukrainian people and their forces for standing up for their own sovereignty and defending their homeland. But it was one of those things that we worked on, and we continue to work on, with Ukrainians right now. The key thing is [to work on the] areas that they ask us for support on and training. We really try and focus directly on that.”

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Leaders Detail Future of National Guard | Article

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