Local News

Is the National Guard Stretched Too Thin?

Posted May 8, 2007

— The number of National Guard members and equipment deployed overseas has some governors, including North Carolina's, concerned there is not enough support at home to deal with disasters if they strike.

"You don't have the equipment that you need to respond, and people are not as safe now as they were prior to Sep. 11 if they had to respond to a natural or manmade disaster," Gov. Mike Easley said.

Actually, Easley said, North Carolina is fortunate compared with states such as Kansas, which is reeling from a massive tornado that killed more than 10 people.

"We're now supplied with about half of what we need," Easley said, adding that is enough to tackle a hurricane's aftermath.

A pandemic could be a different story. Easley argues the federal government needs to work quicker to replace Guard equipment shipped into battle.

"We're never going to get it just right," said state Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, who sees the National Guard performing a balancing act between state and country missions.

As a major in the U.S. Army Reserve, however, he also sees a slippery slope in strategy.

"We can't view them as just another source for continuous manpower for an ongoing war," Martin said. "We need to recognize they're part-time soldiers, and they're needed back in their states."

"You can't send 5,000 troops from North Carolina overseas, bring them back home and send 5,000 more over and expect them to be ready to respond immediately to a disaster," Easley said.

The governor has lobbied Congress, hoping to put more control over the Guard into state hands.

North Carolina National Guard leaders tell WRAL that they are well prepared for local disasters and that there are more Guard members at home than at any time during the past five years.


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  • strolling bones May 9, 2007

    Troops have been spread thin for too long. Those of you saying Clinton gutted the military well Bush didnt seem to mind going to war with a gutted military now did he. Draft will only increase opposition to this war. My son is 24 he will not report for a draft that is to fight for oil. No way I am giving my son up for Bush's ego.

    The national guard was not intended for long overseas deployment.

  • O-Get-A-Grip May 9, 2007

    First and last, darn near ALL of our military of any kind and the equipment will be somewhere else other than home. Hey, this could be a stradegy...."whittle down the defenses at home and we can easily take them down on their own turf!"

  • refiman May 9, 2007

    of course it is stretched too thin. They need to bring back the draft. That would solve 2 problems at 1 time. it would free up the National Guard to take care of the domestic matters, which it is intended. It would also make available all the sons of the politicians, who start wars, to go to war. That way, maybe they would only start more necessary wars. Roosevelt lost a son in WW2, at least he could relate to how other parents of dead soldiers felt. Bush seems to not care. Cheney could care less.

  • 68_polara May 9, 2007

    You must have forgotten when Clinton cut the military when he was in office. I remember people being forced out how were counting on a career in the military. We sure could use them now huh? There is plenty of blame to go around try not to be so short sighted as to only blame our favorite target Bush.

  • Bob3425 May 9, 2007

    When it all said and done, the federal government will probably give the state more control, of course the state will have to pay more to maintain that equipment that they have control over. Governor watch what you wish for, you just might get it.
    When I was on active duty the Guard was screaming about being more active with the active army, well they got want they wanted.

  • CherryDarling May 8, 2007

    Thanks President Bush!

    I just get the warm fuzzies every time I think about us here (in the U.S.) not having the protection and help we need in case of an emergency here... but, hey...

    I guess I can sleep better at night knowing the Iraquis are extra safe over there...

    Yeah, right...