Emory Upton and the “active duty force”

"One lasting lesson that has to be drawn from the Gulf Coast’s misery is that from now on, the National Guard must be treated as America’s most essential homeland security force, not as as some kind of military piggy bank for the Pentagon to raid for long-term overseas missions.  America clearly needs a larger active-duty Army.  It just as clearly needs a homeland based National Guard that’s fully prepared and ready for any domestic emergency."

NY Times, 2 September,2005

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Pat Lang

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8 Responses to Emory Upton and the “active duty force”

  1. b says:

    America needs to cut back on imperial projects and stop putting their largly cultural incompetent forces into foreign places.
    To defend the U.S. you need half the Army you have, much less Air Force, much, much less Navy.
    The world can do quite well without a American force spreading “democracy (c)USA” and “freedom (c)USA”.

  2. Pat Lang says:

    I don’t altogether agree with the sizing, but sure do about the foreign policy.
    Yours is an ancient American position and I respect it. Pat

  3. Greg Burnell says:

    What is it that the Bush Adminsitration and the current Pentagon doesn’t understand? For starters, the word National. It’s a National Guard. It was intended to be a National, National Guard.
    It is frustrating to see them run away from responsibility EVERY time the bad news pendulum swings at them.
    Anyway, I agree that we need to have a larger force, one that is equiped and ready, here in the US. Isn’t altogether obvious at the moment?

  4. J Thomas says:

    The way I heard it, there was a whole lot of lying during the vietnam war. Career officers trying to make themselves look good. We blamed some of the unrealistic policies on the bad feedback — officers who wanted to look good made the war look like it was going better than it was.
    And one of the responses to keep that from happening again was to make sure that next time the Guard went too. A NG officer doesn’t have the same incentives to lie. If he does his duty and tells the truth he doesn’t lose his lifetime career, his career is on hold while he’s serving in a foreign country.
    The Abu Ghraib story makes it look like this approach did not work. We didn’t hear about the problems until after a US military investigation got leaked.
    Regardless, the idea that the guard should go with the army isn’t just the Bush administration treating it as a military piggy bank. There were purposes for it and if we choose to keep the guard at home then we need to review the purposes and find other ways to further them.
    Having to take the NG along and getting a lot of noncareer witnesses *might* have kept us out of a collection of idiotic wars — the realisation that there would be a reality check by citizen soldiers may have stopped them. But it didn’t stop this one, and now we’re facing various consequences.

  5. Pat Lang says:

    A lot of people did lie during the Vietnam war, and a lot of them were not in the government. They were opponents of the government and many of them continue to distort the truth about Vietnam. Many people who were in the streets then are now teaching.
    It is true that Creighton Abrams re-structured the Army in duch a way that the US could not go to a big war without calling up the two reserve components. I heard him say in ’73 that he did that so that we (the Regulars) would not get shafted into going to war without them again.
    National guard officers? If you think they aren’t every bit as career obsessed as Regulars you don’t know many of them. Their careers “on hold?” That may be true of the enlisted men, but the officers are not much different, just less experienced. Being a National Guard officer takes so much of your time that it becomes an activity in which you have a great deal of your life invested. You can’t afford to anger the establishment. In addition to that, National Guard officers are state level politicians. They are part of the political process in whichever state they inhabit. The higher they go the more political they are.
    Abu Ghraib? That was the Army Reserve.
    “There were purposes for it?” My. My. You are a trusting soul. Review them? What do you think I am doing?
    The Bush Administration? This article isn’t about the Bush Administration. They just happen to be around now.
    Which idiotic wars do you have in mind? The Mexican War? The Civil War? The Spanish American War? The World Wars? The Korean War? Vietnam? “Citizen soldiers” played a prominent role in all of these. pl

  6. Pat Lang says:

    I don’t understand the point about the name. It is an historical accident and the Guard has never been “National” except when units are called into federal service. The US Government then starts paying them full time. pl

  7. J Thomas says:

    The idiotic wars that we avoided are wars that didn’t happen, or at least that we didn’t participate in. It’s a negative that I cannot prove. Whichever idiotic wars we managed to avoid I will thank God for, but I can’t document which wars they were and what different circumstances would have dumped us into them.
    No, I don’t know many NG officers and the ones I know I don’t know well. I read that story in something dated around 1975 and it sounded plausible to me. But of course they were doing a lot of spin back then too, no doubt it was designed to sound plausible to people who didn’t know better. Thank you for informing me.

  8. Pat Lang says:

    In my “sort of life” I was an enlisted man in the National Guard when I was in high school. Three years, actually.
    There were a lot of good things I got out of that. One was that I got to understand the Guard. In the Army I was a trainer for the Guard several times and got to know them even better and I have kept up. I love the Guard, but understand that they have limitations like everyone else.
    Another thing I got out of the experience was a familiarity with WW2 and Korea weapons. The regional and local forces of the SVN government were armed with those and I was one of the few who really knew weapons like the BAR and 60 mm mortar intimately.
    My friend, at least you want to know.

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