This effort is long overdue for the Reserve Components – it’s a shame it took so long and comes after much of the National Guard and Reserve has already served in the crucible of war with the materials on hand and the minimum support of the past. It is with pride that I can state we have met the missions assigned thus far with the tools at hand in the Reserve Component and did so with pretty fair result. It appears that real change for the better is on the horizon with respect to support for the Reserve Component soldiers, training, funding and equipment. Endearing at the moment is the recent announcement by the Secretary that reflects a new commitment to improving the lot of Guard and Reserve organizations:
May 16, 2007 – The Department of Defense announced today that Secretary Robert M. Gates agrees with the 23 recommendations of the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves delivered to Congress on March 1.
The Commission’s report, a requirement of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, examined the advisability and feasibility of implementing provisions of the pending National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2007, including proposals intended to improve the National Guard’s ability to support both overseas military operations and civilian response to domestic disasters, increase the Guard’s status and resources, and make other changes in Guard leadership, organization, and funding.
As stated in the commission’s web page the high operational tempo of the military over the past four years has significantly increased stress on resources that support the readiness of the National Guard and Reserves to carry out missions at home and abroad. The impacts of resourcing policy, programming, and budgeting on the readiness of reserve components—and the impacts of frequent and lengthy deployments on employers and families—are the subjects of two full days of hearings to be conducted May 16 and 17 by the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves.
In these upcoming hearings testimony on Resourcing and Readiness as well as Employer and Family Support will be provided. Employer and Family Support have received scant attention and absolutely minimum resources as an imposed volunteer effort placed upon deployed soldier families in the past and work is required to assist those needs.
The final report of the Commission, to be submitted to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and the Secretary of Defense in January 2008, will include recommendations covering the Guard and Reserves' roles and missions, capabilities, organization and structure, training and readiness, compensation and benefits, career paths, and the funding they receive. The recommendations won’t be easy or inexpensive for the Active Component key holders, but they are essential to continued sustainment of a Reserve force for use in time of need domestically and in the ongoing global war on terror.