The rebuilding effort in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kansas, likely will be hampered because some much-needed equipment is in Iraq, said that state’s governor.
Governor Kathleen Sebelius said much of the National Guard equipment usually positioned around the state to respond to emergencies is gone. She said not having immediate access to things like tents, trucks and semitrailers will really handicap the rebuilding effort.
The Greensburg administrator estimated that 95 percent of the town of 1500 was destroyed by Friday's tornado.
The Kansas National Guard has about 40 percent of the equipment it is allotted because much of it has been sent to Iraq.
More than 300 members of the Kansas National Guard have been activated in response to a powerful tornado that almost destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kan., May 4.
Guard members are assisting in search-and-rescue efforts in the wake of the tornado, which was classified as an F-5, the highest rating given by the National Weather Service.
The tornado wiped out much of the small town, knocking out power, water, natural gas and communications. To date, 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries have been reported.
The Kansas National Guard's 278th Sustainment Brigade has established a joint task force near the incident site. In addition to search-and-rescue efforts, the troops are working on power generation, logistical support, debris clearing, support to law enforcement, supporting establishment of shelters and distribution of food and water.
Currently, the Kansas National Guard has 88 percent of its forces available, 60 percent of its Army Guard dual-use equipment on hand, and more than 85 percent of its Air Guard equipment on hand, said Randal Noller, public affairs officer for the National Guard Bureau. Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which is a national partnership agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during governor or federally declared emergencies, Kansas has more than 400,000 Guardsmen available to it, he pointed out. However, Kansas has not yet requested assistance from other states.
"Has not yet been requested ...". Where have we heard that before (calling Gov. Blanco)? I mean, if it were that dire, what would you do first?
And a point here ... we're talking about a town of 1500, not millions, so to pretend that a Guard force with 60 percent of its equipment available isn't enough (and that doesn't include the 85% of its Air Guard equipment) is simply baloney.
This is something that’s bothered me for some time: Why are we using what is for all intents our military reserve for disaster relief and other civic functions in the FIRST place? I know it’s become a habit because they’re useful and "sitting right there", but now that we’ve had the problems that arise from relying on the national guard for disaster relief demonstrated to us wouldn’t it make sense to perhaps focus on leaving the NG for military purposes and, if necessary, encourage states to maintain volunteer forces tasked -specifically- for disaster relief and other internal missions?
Well, Kindlingman, I have to say that IMO we -do- need a standing federal armed forces. I WISH we didn’t, but A) there are just too many specialized tasks in a modern force to be manned entirely by part-time soldiers and B)The need for a unified chain of command. I don’t even want to THINK about the pissing match when the 4-star General of Arkansas Regulars refuses to task his Aircraft to support the manuevers of the 4-star General of the Maine Militia’s Tank battalions during a multi-state joint operation...
My point had more to do with that units like, say, the 278th ACR out of Tennessee or the 58th Infantry Brigade out of Maryland. These are line units, not disaster relief types. They have some medics attached to their various HHCs, I’m sure, and maybe some organic engineering support, but why not leave them to do what -they- do best and focus on training up and recruiting people to form part of a group that’s specialized in disaster-related skills: emergency medical services, law enforcement, logistics types specializing in getting materiel where it’s needed when transportation infrastructure is damaged, and of course engineers...
As to the NG and National Defense I have a modest proposal, create a three tier military. Tier 1 units, AC and RC to be available to deploy in 30-60 days, RC units would be assigned Federal missions and and equipped for them. IF those missions and their equipment help the home state in an emergency then well and good. If not, well at least the Governor has a trained force that can do SOME things to help.
Tier 2 Units, designed to deploy in 60-90 days, like Tier 1 units, just with less training, or equipment.
Tier 3 units, designed to deploy in 180-plus days....DoD gets the benfit of a trained unit, trained as in trained to do something and a unit, in that it has been together for a period of time and may have cohesion.
The state provides the equipment and training for the unit’s state role, which is the PREDOMINANT role. The Federal Government has the duty to provide BCT and some AIT, in MOS’ that the state feels are useful to it (State pays for that). The Federal Government might provide surplus weapons and equipment for the State, the State being responsible for it’s upkeep and operations.
As an example CA might create 2 5,000 man National Guard Brigades (Tier 3). They’d be trained to perform duties that CA thinks necessary, police, fire fighting, EMS, Civil Engineering tasks and the like. The Fed’s kick in basic training, for free and CA pays for the AIT training, or creates it’s own course(s). The Fed’s provide surpls Humvees, UH-1’s, and some M-16a2’s, possibly a few M-60 GPMG’s. CA has the job of maintaining the gear. CA gets 10,000 National Guardsmen that are PRIMARILY for CA’s Emergency Response. The Federal GOvernment gets access to 10,000 persons that in a long war could be transformed into an Active Combat, Combat Support or Combat Service Support unit, e.g., the US Army might "Federalize" the units and convert them to Infantry, Artillery, or CSS Corps Support Units.
This way a State, if it so chooses, could keep "it’s" National Guard units for state employment, as long as the State is willing to pay for the BULK of the unit’s existence. The Federal Government gets some ong-term insurance for a long-war possibility, but doesn’t have to pay for it.
Ultimately what Governor’s want is the Fed’s to pay for EVERYTHING, but leave the units in their states for STATE use...as we say, "Good work if you can get it." But what really happens is, "He who has the Gold makes the Rules." So the Fed’s create the units, equip them and deploy them, as THEY see fit...Governor’s can’t complain too much, if they have no stake in the units.
Problem, Joe, is that the National Guard is a military organization with a military mission. That they do disaster "stuff" is entirely incidental. They’re usually sitting around training, after all, and disaster response is decent training.
But if what States want is an *un-deployable* militia for use domestically... I’m not sure they are allowed. Maybe they are? What use does a State have for a military force? Gonna have a war between North and South Dakota? But if they aren’t *military* then why train with the guns and bombs and tanks and crap? If they are only there to respond to natural disasters then they should be training differently and not pretending to be military at all.
Why are we using what is for all intents our military reserve for disaster relief and other civic functions in the FIRST place?
First thing’s first: response time is critical. Deploying a specially trained, fully volunteer disaster relief team would have sub-par response time compaired to the NG. When it comes to talking about a volunteer disaster relief team are we talking about citizenry? If so, how can you expect captain regular joe and the average-o-nauts to drop everything and help in the kind of time frame you can expect a militarily coordinated team too?
Second: It’s obvious that the State of Kansas has enough, if not more than enough, resources to handle this. I would have to ask you, why leave a full military at home where it could possibly be needed in some capacity sometime in the future, when we have a demanding need immediately in an overseas opperation? if some percent of the resources can be used to help that opperation, without hindering disaster relief in that state (and it’s obvious that’s what’s happened here), wouldn’t you want to get the best use out of your resources?