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Before the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives:

United States General Accounting Office:


For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT:

Thursday, April 29, 2004:


Observations on Recent National Guard Use in Overseas and Homeland 
Missions and Future Challenges:

Statement of Janet A. St. Laurent, Director, Defense Capabilities and 


GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-04-670T, a testimony before the Committee on 
Government Reform, House of Representatives 

Why GAO Did This Study:

As a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and launch of 
the Global War on Terrorism, the National Guard has experienced the 
largest activation of its forces since World War II. The Guard consists 
of 350,000 Army Guard soldiers and 107,000 Air Guard members. With its 
unique dual status, it performs state missions under the governor and 
federal missions at home and overseas under the President. Since 
September 11, the Guard’s missions have expanded, raising concerns 
about its ability to simultaneously perform all of these functions.

The Department of Defense (DOD) funds the Army Guard for partial 
readiness to accomplish mission requirements assuming that there will 
be time to supply additional personnel and equipment in an extended 
conflict. In contrast, the Air Guard is funded to be an operational 
reserve ready on short notice.    

Today's testimony addresses GAO’s observations on (1) the extent and 
purpose of the National Guard’s use since September 11, (2) the effects 
of that use on Guard forces’ readiness for future missions, and (3) the 
challenges that DOD, the states, and Congress face in organizing and 
equipping the Guard to support both overseas and homeland missions.  

What GAO Found:

With the high pace of operations since September 11, more than 51 
percent of Army Guard members and 31 percent of Air Guard members have 
been activated to meet new homeland and overseas demands. The Army 
Guard has experienced significant difficulties in responding to these 
extensive and ongoing requirements because much of it was funded and 
equipped as a later-deploying reserve force rather than an operational 
force designed for continued overseas deployments. Moreover, units with 
certain specialties—military police, transportation, and combat arms—
have been in high demand, resulting in lengthy and repeated 
deployments. To ease critical shortages, 27 Army Guard units were 
retrained as military police from other specialties such as field 
artillery. The Air Guard, although less affected by the high pace 
because it is funded to deploy quickly, has also seen significant use 
for Iraq combat operations and homeland security missions. While the 
number of activated Air Guard personnel has decreased over the past 
year, some personnel were activated outside their normal rotational 
schedules and tour lengths have been extended. In addition, some units 
have been assigned new homeland missions such as flying combat air 
patrols and providing radar coverage over the United States.  

While the high use of the National Guard since September 11 has led to 
declining war-fighting readiness of non-deployed Army and Air Guard 
units, the decline is most significant for the Army Guard. To meet 
wartime needs, the Army Guard has had to take personnel and equipment 
from units that had not been activated to ready others for deployment. 
For example, the Army Guard has initiated over 71,000 transfers to fill 
personnel shortages in deploying units and transferred about 22,000 
pieces of equipment from non-deploying units to ready units deploying 
to Iraq. The Air Guard’s readiness has also declined because the high 
pace of operations created maintenance challenges for its aging 
aircraft and limited training opportunities. Because DOD has not fully 
defined requirements, readiness standards, and readiness measures for 
the homeland security missions it will lead or support, the Guard’s 
preparedness specifically for homeland security missions is unknown. 
However, states are concerned that continuing deployments reduce the 
Guard’s preparedness and availability for all its homeland security and 
natural disaster missions. 

DOD, the states, and Congress face near- and long-term challenges 
readying and funding National Guard units for overseas and domestic 
missions in the Global War on Terrorism. Enhancing the near-term 
readiness of Army Guard units will be difficult because the Army Guard 
is still operating with peacetime funding. In the long term, the Army 
Guard’s ability to restructure its forces to meet the requirements of 
the new security environment will depend on whether it is given 
adequate resources and funding priority. Finally, DOD will need to 
consider how to balance Army and Air Guard forces needed for both 
homeland and overseas security requirements.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Janet St. Laurent at 
(202) 512-4402 or

[End of section]

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I am pleased to be here today to discuss our observations on the 
challenges the National Guard faces in activating over 213,000 members, 
the largest activation of its forces since World War II. National Guard 
members are supporting military operations around the world--they are 
fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and maintaining the peace in the 
Balkans--side by side with their active duty counterparts, facing the 
same dangers and making the same sacrifices. As you know, the National 
Guard consists of the Army National Guard, with 350,000 soldiers, and 
the Air National Guard, with about 107,000 Air Guard personnel. With 
its unique dual status, the Guard performs state missions under the 
command of the state's governor and federal missions--at home and 
overseas--under command of the President. After the tragic events of 
September 11, 2001, the Guard's traditional role has been expanded to 
include new tasks, both domestically and overseas. This mission 
expansion has raised concerns about the Guard's ability to perform all 
of these missions successfully within its existing resources.

As you requested, my statement today focuses on the use of the National 
Guard since September 11 and on the Guard's preparedness to perform 
both overseas and domestic missions. We will publish a final report on 
these issues later this year. My remarks today are based on the work we 
have completed to date with respect to (1) the extent and purpose of 
the National Guard's use since the September 11 attacks, (2) the 
effects of that use on the Guard's readiness for future missions, and 
(3) the challenges that the Department of Defense (DOD), the states, 
and Congress face in organizing and equipping the Guard to be able to 
support both overseas and homeland security missions.

To assess these issues, we analyzed data on National Guard utilization 
and readiness since September 11. We interviewed officials in the 
Departments of Defense, the Army, the Air Force, and the National Guard 
Bureau and supplemented this information with visits to Army and Air 
Force commands and Army mobilization stations. We also developed case 
studies of recent federal and state National Guard operations in four 
states - Georgia, New Jersey, Oregon, and Texas. In each of these 
states, we visited the Adjutant General and the National Guard 
headquarters, as well as Army and Air National Guard units that had 
been or will be involved in domestic or overseas missions. We 
identified future challenges based on our analysis of the Guard's 
current status and discussions with National Guard officials. We 
conducted our review in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards between April 2003 and April 2004.


Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, almost half of the 
457,000 members of the National Guard have been called to fulfill new 
requirements for homeland security and to support military operations 
overseas. Cumulatively, over 51 percent of Army Guard personnel and 31 
percent of Air Guard personnel have been alerted or activated for 
federal homeland security missions or overseas missions related to the 
Global War on Terrorism. The Army Guard has had difficulty in 
responding to these needs because it was largely structured and funded 
as a later deploying follow-on force rather than a ready force for 
rapid deployment. In recent operations, Guard units were asked to take 
on more missions, in some cases with little time to prepare. Certain 
types of units have been in especially high demand, leading to extended 
and repeated deployments for soldiers with specialties such as military 
police, transportation, and combat arms. For example, 92 percent of the 
Army Guard's military police units have been deployed at least once and 
18 percent more than once. To relieve demands on these forces, the Army 
has retrained some low-demand units, such as field artillery, for high-
demand capabilities like security. The Air National Guard has also been 
used more extensively than expected before September 11 and was tasked 
with new homeland missions such as flying armed air patrols over U.S. 
cities, known as combat air patrols, and providing radar coverage for 
the United States. While the number of activated Air Guard personnel 
has fluctuated since September 11, it has declined over the past year 
to the current level of about 7,500.

The readiness of non-deployed Army and Air National Guard units for 
wartime missions has declined because of the high pace of operations 
since September 11. However, readiness for homeland security missions 
is unknown because DOD has not fully defined requirements for homeland 
security missions or established readiness standards and measures for 
them. Declining readiness is a more serious problem for the Army Guard 
because it is not funded to field the numbers and types of deployment-
ready units that recent operations have demanded. Army Guard units are 
only funded to meet a portion of their personnel, equipment, and 
training requirements, even though theater commanders require the Guard 
to provide fully manned and equipped units when they deploy to actual 
military operations. For example, some units had only about three 
quarters of the personnel they needed when they were alerted. As a 
result, the Army National Guard has taken personnel and equipment from 
units that were not activated but might be needed in the future to 
prepare deploying units. Since September 11, the Army Guard has 
initiated over 71,000 transfers to provide specific skills or fill 
shortages of qualified personnel and transferred at least 22,000 pieces 
of equipment to units deploying to Iraq from non-deploying units. As of 
March 2004, the remaining non-deployed Army National Guard units lacked 
over one-third of the critical equipment they need to be ready to 
execute their federal missions. Although the Air Guard is maintained at 
a higher level of readiness overall than the Army Guard, its readiness 
has also declined since September 2001. Some Air Guard units--such as 
those that conduct combat air patrols over U.S. cities, provide airlift 
capability, or conduct tanker refueling operations--have reported that 
high operational demands made it difficult to meet their training 
requirements. Some state officials we spoke with were concerned about 
the Guard's preparedness for homeland security missions as well as for 
state requirements such as natural disaster response because of the 
large numbers of personnel and equipment that have been alerted or 
deployed for federal missions.

Our work thus far has shown that DOD, the states, and Congress face 
three major challenges with regard to balancing the Guard's future role 
in overseas and domestic missions. These challenges include (1) the 
eroding readiness of Army Guard units that may be mobilized for 
overseas operations within the next few years; (2) the need to 
determine how the Army National Guard should be structured and funded 
to support federal missions in the longer term; and (3) how to balance 
homeland and overseas requirements. The Army and National Guard have a 
number of initiatives in most of these areas, such as reorganizing the 
Army Guard into modular units as part of the Army's reorganization and 
adjusting how forces are distributed among states to provide units with 
the skills needed for state and homeland security missions. However, 
funding and force adjustments needed to implement these changes for the 
Guard have not been identified and will require close coordination 
between the National Guard, DOD, the states, and Congress. In addition, 
the Army plans to reorganize its active and Guard combat units to make 
them more modular and responsive, but it has not identified funding to 
implement these changes for the Guard.


The National Guard, comprised of the Army and Air National Guard, has a 
unique dual mission that consists of both federal and state roles. In 
their federal status, the Army and Air National Guard are part of the 
Army and Air Force's reserve components, along with the Army Reserve 
and the Air Force Reserve, respectively. In their federal status, Guard 
units are deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo for stabilization operations 
and to Afghanistan and Iraq in the war on terrorism. The National Guard 
can be activated under a variety of legal authorities that differ in 
terms of duration, mission types, command structure, and funding 
source. The National Guard may be activated under state law to provide 
critical infrastructure protection or respond to state emergencies 
under control of the governor and paid for with state funds. The Guard 
can also be involuntarily activated under federal law for federal 
domestic or overseas missions. Title 10 of the United States Code, 
which is the section that prescribes the use of the Armed Services 
while in federal service, gives the President authority to activate 
reservists for various periods of time. Following the terrorist 
attacks, the President declared a national emergency on September 14, 
2001, whereby reservists can be activated for up to 2 years. Title 10 
provisions also enable Guard members to volunteer for service. In 
addition, the Guard can be activated under Title 32 U.S.C. by which 
Guard forces remain under the control of the state governor but receive 
federal funding.

The National Guard is composed primarily of Guard members who serve on 
a part-time basis, usually 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year for 
annual training. In addition, both the Army and Air National Guard have 
some full-time personnel who enhance readiness by assisting unit 
commanders in administrative, training, and maintenance tasks. Overall, 
the Army National Guard has about 350,000 members and makes up more 
than one-half of the total Army's ground combat forces and one-third of 
its support forces, such as military police and transportation units. 
The Army National Guard has units in more than 3,000 armories and bases 
in all 50 states and 4 U.S. territories. As a part of the Army, much of 
the Army National Guard has been organized, trained, and resourced as a 
strategic reserve that would receive personnel, training, and equipment 
as a follow-on force to augment active Army units in an extended 
conflict. The Air National Guard has about 107,000 Air Guard personnel 
that make up 20 percent of the total Air Force with 88 flying units and 
579 mission support units located at more than 170 installations 
nationwide. The Air National Guard has been integrated with the Air 
Force's active and reserve component and resourced as a part of its 
operational force.

After September 11, 2001, the Guard's homeland missions were expanded 
to include activities that it had not previously undertaken, such as 
guarding airports and critical infrastructure, that are known as 
homeland security missions. Homeland security is a broad term that 
encompasses efforts to reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism and 
prevent terrorist attacks as well as respond to an attack that might 
occur.[Footnote 1] The Guard can be tasked with homeland security 
missions under the state governors or, when activated, by DOD under 
command of the president. DOD refers to its contributions to the 
overall homeland security effort as "homeland defense." Homeland 
defense activities include military missions conducted within the 
United States that DOD conducts under extraordinary circumstances with 
support, as needed, by other agencies. Flying combat air patrols over 
U.S. cities and guarding military installations are examples of these 
activities. DOD will also support civilian authorities to provide quick 
response or capabilities that other agencies do not have. The U.S. 
Northern Command provides command and control for DOD's homeland 
defense missions and coordinates DOD's support to civil authorities for 
homeland security missions. U.S. Northern Command would take a leading 
role in homeland defense missions including land, air, aerospace, and 
maritime defense operations.

Army and Air National Guard Have Participated in Multiple Missions and 
Experienced High Activations for Overseas and Homeland Security 

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, nearly half of the National 
Guard's members have been alerted[Footnote 2] or activated to meet the 
multiple federal requirements at home and abroad arising out of the 
Global War on Terrorism. Specifically, over 51 percent of Army Guard 
personnel and 31 percent of Air Guard personnel have been alerted or 
activated for homeland security or overseas missions. Although largely 
programmed and funded as a later deploying strategic reserve, the Army 
Guard has taken on extensive and ongoing overseas missions. Moreover, 
Army Guard units with high-demand specialties have faced extended and 
repeated deployments. To compensate, the Army Guard is retraining units 
to fill high-demand capabilities. The Army Guard has also taken on 
expanded homeland missions, such as providing security for critical 
infrastructure, Air Force installations, and U.S. borders. In addition, 
the Air Guard has taken on new homeland defense missions, notably 
combat air patrols over U.S. cities, and about one-third of its members 
were activated between September 2001 and March 2004. As figure 1 
shows, about 102,500 Army and Air National Guard members--the vast 
majority of whom are Army Guard members--were on active duty as of 
March 2004 to support the National Guard's ongoing participation in 
operations under federal authority.

Figure 1: Post-September 11 National Guard Federal Activity Under Title 

[See PDF for image]

[A] Army National Guard data represent the number of soldiers alerted 
and mobilized. Air National Guard data represent the number of airmen 
who are mobilized.

[B] Because Army National Guard data for January 2003 are not 
available, chart data point was estimated based on trend.

[End of figure]

High Use and Expanded Missions of Army Guard Signify Change from 
Strategic Reserve Force to Operational Force:

The high level of Army Guard forces needed for federal missions for the 
foreseeable future represents a fundamental change from the Guard's 
planned role as a strategic reserve force that would have additional 
time to train following the onset of war to an operational force that 
has had to respond quickly. The number of Army Guard members activated 
for federal missions more than quadrupled from about 5,500 in the days 
before the September 11 attacks to about 23,000 in the first month 
after the attacks because Army Guard forces were called on to perform 
an array of new federal homeland security missions. As figure 2 shows, 
by the end of March 2004, about 97,000 Army Guard members were 
activated for overseas warfighting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, 
peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, or federally funded 
homeland defense missions such as guarding Air Force bases. This 
equates to more than one quarter of the Army Guard's force. In 
addition, Army Guard members have experienced lengthy deployments. For 
example, as of February 2004, over 57,000 soldiers (about 16 percent of 
the Army Guard) had been away from home for more than 220 days in the 
past year. DOD reports that the steady state for the next 3 to 5 years 
will require a total of about 100,000 to 150,000 reserve personnel to 
support on-going operations, and that many of these personnel will come 
from the Army Guard and Reserve. DOD also expects that mobilizations of 
up to 1 year or more will be the norm for reserve component members 
during the next 3 to 5 years.[Footnote 3]

Figure 2: Post-September 11 Army National Guard Activities under 
Federal and State Authorities:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

In addition to its overall high use, particular specialties within the 
Army National Guard have been used extensively and at rates that DOD 
reports[Footnote 4] cannot be sustained for long durations. DOD has 
reported that using more than 17 percent of the personnel in a career 
field annually indicates an unsustainably high pace of operations in 
the career field and we believe could indicate a need for additional 
capability. However, as figure 3 shows, usage rates for personnel in 
some Army Guard career fields exceeded 50 percent in the last 2-1/2 
years. Capabilities key to both overseas and homeland missions such as 
military police, transportation, and combat units are among those 
experiencing a high pace of operations. In particular, 92 percent of 
military police units have deployed during this time period, with 18 
percent deployed more than once. Army Guard forces that are frequently 
called on by state governors to respond to state needs such as natural 
disasters have also been affected by current operational demands--about 
70 percent of the enhanced brigades[Footnote 5] and separate battalions 
and 75 percent of the Guard's divisional combat battalions have been 
deployed at some point since September 11 and, when deployed, were not 
available for state needs.

Figure 3: Types of Army National Guard Units with Highest Post-
September 11 Use:

[See PDF for image]

Note: Data through March 31, 2004.

[End of figure]

The Army National Guard is being adapted for expanded missions both at 
home and overseas and has been used in different configurations than 
DOD war planners had anticipated. In all four of our case study states, 
Guard officials reported that their units were adapted and personnel 
were trained for previously unanticipated homeland tasks, such as 
guarding airports and Air Force bases in the United States. As of March 
31, 2004, about 5,500 Army Guard soldiers were still guarding Air Force 
bases in the United States. In our case study states, Army Guard units 
reported responding to specific needs in support of governors and 
federal authorities. For example:

* The New Jersey Army Guard provided security for bridges, tunnels, and 
nuclear power plants for the state governor during 2003 and continues 
to provide security at two nuclear power plants.

* The Oregon Army Guard provided security at federal installations, 
such as the Umatilla Chemical Depot and Ft. Lewis, Washington, during 
2002 and 2003.

* The Texas Army Guard performed border security assisting U.S. Customs 
agents from October 2001 to November 2002 and provided security at Air 
Force installations and state nuclear power plants from October 2001 to 
October 2002.

* In Georgia, Army Guard personnel provided airport security almost 
immediately after September 11 and were still guarding Army bases and 
Air Force facilities at the time of our visit in December 2003.

Army National Guard units were also adapted for overseas missions to 
increase the supply of high-demand specialties, meet new operational 
requirements, and fill personnel shortages in deploying units. For 
example, to avoid critical shortages of military police units, 27 Army 
National Guard units, containing over 7,000 personnel, were converted 
from other specialties such as field artillery to military police 
units, some of which have already deployed to Iraq to perform missions 
such as convoy security. In total, more than 34,000 soldiers deployed 
with new units that were tailored to provide specific capabilities 
needed as a result of the new security environment.

Significant Use of Air Guard Occurred for Iraq Combat Operations and 
Homeland Defense Missions, but Number of Activated Personnel Has 

The Air National Guard has also faced expanded roles and high 
utilization since September 11, 2001. As figure 1 shows, Air Guard 
activations increased in the fall of 2001 to support both homeland 
security activities and operations in Afghanistan and declined in 2002. 
Air Guard activations increased again in the spring of 2003 at the 
beginning of operations in Iraq but have since declined to about 7,500 
as of March 2004. The effects of the increased operations have not been 
as severe on the Air National Guard as on the Army Guard because the 
Air Guard is structured and funded to be a ready operational force. The 
Air Force, using an Air and Space Expeditionary Force concept, divides 
its forces into 10 groups, each containing a mix of active, Guard, and 
reserve forces, and operates on a standard 15-month rotational cycle. 
The Air Guard often uses volunteers to fill rotational requirements, 
rather than activating large units, for missions. Because the Air 
National Guard is structured to deploy in small units and is funded to 
achieve readiness levels comparable to the active Air Force, these 
small units can deploy within 72 hours after being alerted.

Since the terrorist attacks on the homeland, the Air National Guard has 
been called on to perform new missions such as flying combat air 
patrols and providing radar coverage for the continental United States. 
Units in the states we visited played key roles in homeland defense 
missions. For example:

* The 177th Fighter Wing in New Jersey, which is strategically located 
near major cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, 
and Washington, D.C., took on the additional mission of flying combat 
air patrols over these cities. Through early November 2003, the 177th 
had flown 1,458 combat air patrol missions.

* The 147th Fighter Wing in Texas flew a total of 284 combat air patrol 
missions over New York City and Washington, D.C., between December 2001 
and March 2002. Since September 11, the unit has also flown combat air 
patrols over Houston, the Gulf Coast, and in support of special events 
such as the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics.

Like the Army Guard, the Air Guard is also experiencing a higher demand 
for particular specialties with some specialties used at rates DOD 
reports cannot be sustained over time.[Footnote 6] As figure 4 shows, 
among career fields with more than 500 personnel, 86 percent of tanker 
pilots, 84 percent of security personnel, and 81 percent of flight 
engineers have deployed at least once since September 2001. Further, 
about 10,000 Air Guard members have been deployed for more than 220 
days in the past year and about 6,400 of those have been deployed for 
more than 401 days in the last 2 years.

Figure 4: Types of Air National Guard Specialties with Highest Post-
September 11 Use:

[See PDF for image]

Note 1: Data through March 8, 2004.

Note 2: Chart contains career fields with more than 500 personnel and 
are more than 50 percent utilized.

[End of figure]

To meet the requirements of both its domestic and overseas missions, 
Air Guard officials said they added personnel to planned rotation 
cycles by activating some units earlier than planned and extending 
their duty tours. And, except for some high-demand specialties, the Air 
Guard returned to its usual rotation schedule in March 2004.

Readiness of Non-deployed National Guard Units Has Declined, but 
Decline Is Most Significant for the Army Guard:

Since September 11, 2001, the extensive use of both the Army and Air 
National Guard in recent operations has resulted in a steady decline in 
the warfighting readiness of non-deployed units. The greatest negative 
impact has been on the Army National Guard because it is not structured 
or funded to meet the demands of recent operations. The extensive 
transfers of personnel and equipment needed to prepare lower resourced 
Army Guard units to meet wartime deployment standards have eroded the 
readiness levels of the remaining Army Guard force. Certain Air Guard 
personnel specialties and equipment are also facing continued stress 
due to the ongoing pace of operations and aging aircraft. The effect of 
this readiness decline on the Guard's ability to perform homeland 
security missions is unknown because DOD has not completed its efforts 
to define requirements and readiness standards and measures for the 
homeland defense missions it would lead or the civil missions is would 
support. Some state officials we spoke with voiced concern about the 
preparedness of their Guard units for recurring state emergencies or 
new homeland security missions given the level of the Guard's ongoing 
support to overseas operations.

Extensive Personnel and Equipment Transfers to Deploying Units Erode 
Preparedness of Remaining Army Guard Units:

Preparation of deploying Army Guard units to meet the theater 
commanders' requirements for recent overseas operations has resulted in 
extensive transfers of both personnel and equipment that degraded the 
readiness of remaining units. For the Army Guard, DOD provides units 
with varying levels of personnel, training, equipment, and full-time 
support based on how quickly they are expected to be used. For example, 
DOD aims to provide certain types of Guard units, such as early 
deploying support and Special Forces units, all the personnel and 
equipment they require to undertake their wartime missions. Other 
forces, such as most combat brigades and divisions which are expected 
to deploy later, are authorized fewer personnel and less equipment than 
they need to meet their wartime missions.

The Army's goal is to provide the Guard's enhanced brigades, the most 
ready of its combat forces, about 85 percent of the personnel and 90 
percent of the equipment they need to deploy. However, we found that 
the two enhanced separate brigades activated in support of operations 
in Iraq needed 2,100 additional soldiers, about one-fourth of their 
required personnel, to meet deployment requirements. Combat divisions 
are authorized only 65 percent of the personnel and equipment they 
need, and it could take months before they are ready to deploy. 
Moreover, soldiers must be qualified in their military specialties by 
attending required training and meeting training standards to be ready 
to deploy, but as of March 2004, only 68 percent of the Guard's 
required personnel were qualified in their specialty. Guard members may 
not be qualified because they have not been able to attend training 
when it is scheduled. Since September 11, 2001, the Army National Guard 
has initiated over 71,000 transfers of personnel from one unit to 
another to enhance the readiness of deploying units.

In addition to personnel shortfalls, most Army Guard units are not 
provided all the equipment they need for their wartime requirements. 
Moreover, the equipment they have is often older than that of the 
active Army and in many cases does not meet the warfighting commander's 
requirements because it is not compatible with the active Army's newer 
equipment. For example, many Army Guard units have radios that cannot 
communicate with new communications systems and old trucks for which 
the active Army does not stock spare parts. Units deploying in support 
of operations in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 needed about 22,000 pieces of 
equipment--including night vision goggles, machine guns, trucks, 
decontamination apparel, and radios--to meet deployment requirements. 
The Army National Guard filled these shortages by transferring 
equipment from other units. In fact, between December 2002 and March 
2004, Army Guard units in every state and territory supplied equipment 
to three deploying enhanced brigades. Initially the Guard managed 
transfers so that many units shared the burden of losing equipment and 
could remain at their planned readiness levels. For example, the 
enhanced separate brigade we visited in Georgia transferred machine 
guns, night vision goggles, and global positioning systems to deploying 
units, but officials said that the unit maintained its readiness rating 
because the equipment was not deemed critical or taken in quantities 
that degraded the unit's overall readiness level. However, in November 
2003, the Director of the Army National Guard directed that personnel 
and equipment be transferred to deploying units, even if that meant 
degrading the readiness of remaining units, a strategy that may not be 
sustainable over the long term. By 2004, deployments and existing 
shortages left the remaining Army Guard units without about 33 percent 
of the critical equipment they need. In New Jersey, officials told us 
that some units had less than 65 percent of their wartime equipment 
requirements and reported critical shortages of spare parts, utility 
trucks, night vision goggles, and pistols.

High Usage and Aging Equipment Eroding Air National Guard Readiness:

Air National Guard units have also experienced difficulty in 
maintaining their warfighting readiness while conducting overseas and 
homeland defense missions and reported overall declines in readiness. 
The Air Force and Air Guard attribute these readiness declines to the 
high pace of operations and problems associated with aging aircraft.

Many Air Guard units use aging aircraft, and the high pace of 
operations has been a training and maintenance challenge. For example,

* An airlift wing we visited in Georgia operates aging C-130 transport 
planes. Although officials said that in peacetime the wing planned for 
2,900 flying hours annually for training, it had flown over 13,000 
hours for operations and training in 2003. This high pace of operations 
made it difficult for the unit to continue to perform its warfighting 
training requirements for tasks, such as tactical formation flying, 
thus lowering its readiness ratings. In addition, officials said that 
in recent deployments to Iraq, the unit's aging aircraft and the harsh 
operating environment presented a maintenance challenge, as evidenced 
by the need to replace 11 turbine engines and 20 propellers to keep the 
8 aircraft operational.

* Since September 11, 2001, fighter wings that we visited in New 
Jersey, Texas, and Oregon have been directed to dedicate some aircraft 
to domestic combat air patrol missions. This has reduced the number of 
aircraft available for air crews to use for other warfighting mission 
training. To meet training requirements, the units have had to fly the 
remaining aircraft more hours than planned, which has created 
scheduling and maintenance problems. Officials were concerned about the 
long-term effects of the continued high pace of operations on their 
ability to support both missions.

DOD Has Not Fully Defined Mission Requirements or Readiness Standards 
and Measures for All Its Homeland Security Missions, and Some States 
Have Concerns about Preparedness and Availability of Guard Units:

It is difficult to assess the Guard's preparedness for the full range 
of homeland security missions because requirements for these missions 
are not yet well defined. Moreover, DOD has not yet established 
readiness standards and measures for homeland defense or civil support 
missions. DOD generally organizes, trains, and equips the National 
Guard for only the federal missions it leads. DOD's U.S. Northern 
Command, which is charged with planning, organizing, and executing DOD-
led homeland defense and with supporting homeland security missions led 
by civilian authorities, has not yet finalized its plans that would 
identify forces and resources for the homeland missions it may lead or 
support. In some cases, Northern Command is awaiting further guidance 
from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As a result, National 
Guard forces that may have to take on homeland security missions are 
not organized, trained, or equipped specifically for these missions. 
Without specific requirements and plans that clarify the types of 
skills and equipment needed for these missions, it is not possible to 
measure the readiness of forces specifically for these missions.

To address some potential homeland security needs, DOD began 
establishing weapons of mass destruction civil support teams as 
authorized by Presidential Directive and Congress in fiscal year 1999. 
These teams, which are comprised of 22 full-time personnel, are 
maintained at the highest readiness levels and can rapidly respond to 
support civil authorities in an event involving a weapon of mass 
destruction. Their role is to assist local officials in determining the 
nature of the attack, provide medical and technical advice, and help to 
identify follow-on federal and state assets that might be needed. 
Congress has now authorized at least one team for each state and 
territory. Currently, 32 teams are fully operational with the remaining 
23 estimated to be operational by 2007.[Footnote 7] These teams are 
unique because they are federally funded and trained but perform their 
mission under the command and control of the state governor.

Individual state Guards have also begun to develop plans and organize 
their Guard forces for some homeland security tasks that might be 
conducted under the authority of the governor. However, these efforts 
vary from state to state. For example, in our case study states,

* Georgia officials told us they were in the process of identifying 
critical infrastructure sites in the state and assigning quick reaction 
forces to protect them.

* New Jersey has assigned ready-reaction forces to protect key sites in 
each of 3 geographic regions.

* Oregon has identified some of the critical infrastructure that must 
be protected and annually identifies those National Guard units that 
will be assigned to perform rapid response force tasks.

Historically, Guard forces could perform state missions using the 
skills and equipment they were provided for their federal missions. 
However, mobilized and deployed personnel and their equipment are not 
available for states to use for either new homeland security missions, 
such as responding to increased terrorist threats, or recurring natural 
disasters, such as floods or forest fires. As figure 5 shows, 15 states 
currently have 40 percent or more of their Army Guard soldiers 
mobilized or deployed. While Air Guard units are not used as 
extensively for state missions as those of the Army Guard, as figure 6 
shows, as many as one-third of Air Guard units were alerted or deployed 
from some states as of March 2004. None of the four states we visited 
had developed a state system for measuring the preparedness of its 
forces for homeland security missions, and officials in all four states 
we visited raised varying concerns about homeland security 
preparedness. For example:

* New Jersey units that responded to a terrorist threat alert in 
December 2003 reported that they lacked some essential equipment such 
as humvees, night vision equipment, cold weather gear, chemical 
protective suits, and nerve agent antidote. The state paid for some 
essential equipment for its forces during this time on an emergency 
basis. In addition, at the time of our visit, New Jersey was preparing 
to deploy large numbers of its state Guard personnel overseas and was 
determining how it would respond to another such terrorist threat after 
almost 60 percent of its forces are deployed.

* Georgia officials told us that hosting the 2004 International 
Economic Summit of Eight Industrialized Nations in June 2004 will 
increase Georgia's requirements for security missions such as aerial 
reconnaissance and surveillance at a time when its Army Guard aviation 
units may be deployed overseas.

* In 2002 the state of Oregon called up more than 1,400 Army Guard 
soldiers to respond to one of the worst forest fire seasons in a 
century. Oregon officials stated that because many of its forces and 
equipment are currently deployed and the state has only limited 
engineering capability left, it would not be able to provide the same 
level of support as it did in the 2002 season.

* All of the aviation assets Texas would need to fight fires and all of 
its military police were deployed at the time of our visit. However, 
Texas officials said that they were able to meet their homeland 
security needs, even at the height of its Guard's overseas deployments, 
because its largest Army Guard unit had not been fully deployed and, as 
a large state, it had ample state emergency response capability.

Figure 5: Percent of Army National Guard Soldiers Alerted, Mobilized, 
and Deployed for Title 10 as of March 31, 2004:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Figure 6: Percent of Air National Guardsmen Mobilized and Deployed for 
Title 10 as of March 8, 2004:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Some Guard officials noted that their states' Guards had not received 
additional federal funding to take on homeland security missions, even 
as personnel and equipment that could be needed for these missions are 
being deployed overseas. Guard officials also said that the states have 
limited budgets and that homeland security requirements compete with 
other needs, although the states have funded some homeland security 
activities, such as guarding critical infrastructure, and purchased 
some equipment. Further, state officials said the Guard is not 
generally eligible for funding from the Department of Homeland Security 
because its grants are limited to "first responders" such as police or 

Most states have entered into mutual assistance agreements that may 
provide access to another state's National Guard forces in times of 
need. These agreements are typically used to access additional forces 
for natural disaster response. However, states may withhold their 
forces if the forces are needed in their home state. For example, 
according to New Jersey officials, their state faces an elevated 
terrorist threat due to its proximity to New York City. However, they 
do not have a fully operational weapons of mass destruction civil 
support team in New Jersey. The officials said they requested access to 
another state's team on three occasions. On two occasions, the request 
was not granted because officials in the team's home state determined 
that it was needed at home. When New Jersey made a third request, in 
response to a specific and credible terrorist threat, access was 

Readying and Resourcing National Guard Units for Overseas and Domestic 
Missions Presents Significant Near-and Long-Term Challenges:

Our work has shown that DOD, the states, and Congress face significant 
near-and long-term challenges to readying and resourcing National Guard 
units for overseas and domestic missions in the Global War on 
Terrorism. These challenges include first, enhancing the near-term 
preparedness of Army Guard units that may be mobilized for overseas 
operations within the next few years. These improvements may be 
difficult to realize because the Army National Guard is still operating 
at peacetime funding levels despite declining readiness. Second, in the 
longer term, the Guard's ability to successfully organize for its 
missions in the new strategic environment will depend on whether 
adequate resources are identified for these efforts and whether DOD's 
readiness and funding policies are consistent with the Army Guard's 
expected high utilization for the foreseeable future. However, the 
National Guard does not have complete control of all the restructuring 
and resourcing decisions that will affect its mission preparedness. 
Finally, in addition to restructuring and funding to be ready for the 
Guard's federal mission, DOD must consider how to balance homeland and 
overseas requirements.

The Guard Will Be Challenged in the Near-Term to Enhance the Readiness 
of Army Guard Units for Future Overseas Rotations:

The high pace of recent operations has left Army National Guard units 
less prepared for future overseas operations and in need of additional 
trained personnel and essential equipment. In the near term, the 
National Guard must continue to provide units capable of performing 
challenging overseas missions. For example, the Army Guard has alerted 
33,000 troops for deployment in support of operations in Iraq in 2005. 
Moreover, while future deployment figures for operations in Afghanistan 
had not been announced as of March 2004, 16,500 Army Guard soldiers are 
currently deployed to support these operations.

The National Guard has attempted, where possible, to activate units 
that have not been recently deployed to minimize the hardship on 
personnel. However, some of these units have supplied personnel and 
equipment to previously deploying units, exacerbating existing 
shortfalls and interfering with the units' ability to maintain their 
previous level of readiness. In addition, the continuing need for some 
skills may require the Guard to re-activate units that have only 
recently returned from deployment. Furthermore, the readiness of the 
equipment belonging to returning units is presently unknown. However, 
past experience with prolonged desert operations has shown that 
equipment may need extensive maintenance and not be available for 
training purposes. In addition, some redeployed units left equipment 
behind for other deploying units and will need replacement equipment. 
Because so many personnel and so much equipment have been taken from 
those units not yet deployed, improving their readiness may become 
increasingly difficult. In the long term, DOD's approach of 
transferring people and equipment does not appear to be sustainable.

The early alert of some units required for overseas operations may help 
identify readiness problems earlier and enable the Guard to take 
actions to improve unit readiness. For example, Guard officials 
indicated that certain actions, such as sending higher numbers of 
personnel to school to become qualified in their specialties, could 
improve readiness. However, complicating the Army Guard's efforts to 
improve the preparedness of its units is the fact that the Army has not 
provided the Guard additional funding for equipment and training to 
support its new operational missions. The Army Guard has not received 
any wartime supplemental funding in fiscal year 2004 to address the 
equipment shortfalls caused by the stress of recent operations in units 
that might be needed in future operations.

Long-Term Initiatives to Restructure Army National Guard Face 
Implementation Challenges:

DOD has a number of efforts to restructure the National Guard to 
improve its ability to perform federal missions in the new strategic 
environment, although these are long-term efforts that have not been 
fully funded in DOD's budget and detailed implementation plans have not 
yet been developed. For example, DOD plans to alleviate the high pace 
of operations of reserve units by increasing the availability of 
certain high-demand units and rebalancing the skills in the active and 
reserve forces. Other DOD-wide initiatives to use its forces more 
efficiently include moving military personnel out of activities that 
can be performed by civilians or contractors and into high-demand 
specialties and taking advantage of technological advances to reduce 
personnel needs.

The Army plans to restructure its forces, including National Guard 
units, into modular units that can be tailored for specific needs. 
After restructuring, the Army Guard would have 34 fully manned 
brigades, instead of its current 15 enhanced brigades, 2 separate 
brigades, and 21 brigades in 8 divisions that are not fully manned. The 
Army plans to begin restructuring active units immediately, but, 
according to National Guard officials, it has not established the time 
frame and funding for the conversion of Army Guard units.

As the Army Guard is being restructured over the long-term, the Army's 
current resourcing policy, which provides most Guard units with fewer 
personnel and less equipment than they need for their wartime missions, 
may need to be reevaluated given the Army Guard's operational role at 
home and overseas in the Global War on Terrorism.

For example, one Army Guard initiative would address its long-standing 
problem of having insufficient full-time personnel to support its 
units. Full-time Guard members enhance unit readiness by performing 
tasks such as monitoring member readiness; recruiting and training 
personnel; and maintaining supplies, equipment, and aircraft. Without 
sufficient full-time personnel, these tasks, which are critical to unit 
readiness, suffer. The Army Guard was authorized only 59 percent of its 
full-time manning requirement in fiscal year 2003, as compared to the 
Air Guard's full-time manning of 100 percent of its requirement. The 
Army Guard plans to increase full-time manning gradually to an average 
of about 71 percent by 2012, if funding is provided. However, there are 
no plans to increase full-time manning to 100 percent of the Guard's 

Restructuring Efforts Should Consider Balance between Overseas and 
Domestic Requirements:

Efforts to restructure the National Guard are focused on its primary 
federal mission and do not address the individual state Guard's 
critical role in homeland security. As noted earlier, DOD planning and 
resourcing for National Guard units has assumed that homeland security 
tasks can be accomplished with the personnel and equipment supplied for 
the wartime mission. However, in the new security environment, the 
assumption that Guard units can perform their domestic missions with 
personnel and equipment trained for overseas missions needs is 
questionable. The U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for DOD-
led efforts to defend the homeland, has not completed its efforts to 
identify all the forces and capabilities needed for homeland defense or 
homeland security.

In the future, the National Guard would like to adopt a rotational 
deployment model that would maintain at least 50 percent of a state's 
Guard force available for the use of state officials to perform 
domestic missions. In addition to assuring the ready availability of 
personnel, the Guard would like to be able to provide each state with 
capabilities that could be used for homeland security such as 
transportation, medical, aviation, engineering, and military police, 
among others. Although providing the variety of assets for state use 
has been a Guard goal, not every state has all these capabilities at 
this time. Further, DOD's plans to rebalance the active and reserve 
forces are based on the general goal of deploying individuals no more 
than 1 year over a 6-year period. However, overseas commitments may 
challenge the Guard's ability to meet these goals. Moreover, the Guard 
will have to work with state officials to balance the mix of 
capabilities among the state Guards.

As homeland security requirements are identified, DOD, the states, and 
Congress may also need to evaluate the need for some specialties or 
additional equipment or capabilities. The National Guard is providing 
some training and specialized equipment, such as decontamination 
equipment, for homeland security missions. At a total cost of about $9 
million for equipment, the National Guard is creating 12 enhanced 
response forces to augment its civil support teams who are tasked and 
trained to respond if weapons of mass destruction are used. Each Guard 
team will have responsibility for 1 of 12 geographic regions in the 
United States. When fully implemented, these enhanced response forces 
will have the medical, decontamination, engineering, and security 
forces required to respond to a mass destruction event. However, these 
units will retain overseas missions and could be deployed overseas.


In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, while the high pace of operations has 
caused some difficulties for the Air Guard and the Army Guard, the Army 
Guard's efforts to ready units to deploy by taking trained personnel 
and critical equipment from other units has created urgent personnel 
and equipment shortages in units that have not yet been deployed. 
Unless replacement equipment and personnel are identified, the Army 
Guard will have to continue to take personnel and equipment from one 
unit to ready another, which means that the units called in the future 
will likely be even less ready. The extensive use of Guard forces and 
eroding readiness of the non-deployed units suggest a comprehensive 
reassessment of the Army Guard's current structure and resourcing 
assumptions may be needed. Furthermore, while homeland security 
requirements have not been defined, equipment and personnel may not be 
available to the states when they are needed because they have been 
deployed overseas. Moreover, the Guard may have difficulty ensuring 
that each state has access to units with key specialized capabilities-
-such as engineering or medical assets--needed for homeland security 
and other domestic missions. The National Guard has a number of 
initiatives to address the mismatch between the Army Guard's tasks and 
the priority it has received for personnel, training, and equipment. 
Most initiatives are long-term in nature, such as reorganizing units, 
and face implementation challenges, including the need for funding. 
However, unless DOD, Congress, and the states work closely to address 
these challenges, Guard units may continue to experience a high pace of 
operations and declining readiness that could affect their ability to 
meet future requirements both at home and overseas.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to 
respond to any questions you or other Members of the Committee may 

GAO Contacts and Acknowledgments:

For more information regarding this testimony, please call me, at (202) 
512-4402. Individuals making key contributions to this testimony 
include: Margaret Morgan, Suzanne Wren, Jacquelyn Randolph, V. Malvern 
Saavedra, Daniel Omahen, Barbara Gannon, Tina Morgan, James Lewis, M. 
Jane Hunt, Jennifer Popovic, Jay Smale, and Kenneth Patton.


[1] The National Strategy for Homeland Security (Office of Homeland 
Security, Washington, D.C.: July 2002).

[2] DOD has established in policy a goal to provide reservists a 
minimum of 30 days written notification, referred to as "alert," before 
they are mobilized for active duty. 

[3] Rebalancing Forces: Easing the Stress on the Guard and Reserve, 
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs 
(Readiness, Training, and Mobilization), 15 January 2004.

[4] Rebalancing Forces: Easing the Stress on the Guard and Reserve.

[5] Enhanced brigades are the Army National Guard's highest priority 
combat units. These 15 brigades receive specialized training and higher 
priority than other National Guard units for personnel and resources 
during peacetime. Once called to active duty, they are expected to be 
ready to deploy overseas within 90 days. 

[6] Rebalancing Forces: Easing the Stress on the Guard and Reserve. 

[7] Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate, Weapons of Mass 
Destruction Civil Support Teams, Implementation Act of 2003, April 10,