Apr 01 2011

Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserve Component Equipment Posture

Bartlett Opening Statement for Hearing on Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserve Component Equipment Posture


Washington, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, released the following statement for the subcommittee’s hearing on Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserve Component Equipment Posture:

“The Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee meets today to receive testimony on the equipment status and requirements of the Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserve Components.

“Since September 2001, almost 600,000 selected guardsmen and reservists have deployed in support of combat operations, representing 40 percent of the total selected reserve force of 1.4 million troops.  All 34 Army National Guard combat brigades have deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan.

“Two years ago Secretary Gates adopted 82 recommendations from the congressionally mandated Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. One of those recommendations was to equip and resource the Guard and Reserve Component as an ‘operational reserve’ rather than the Cold War model of a ‘strategic reserve.’ The old, strategic reserve model assumed very few mobilizations and assumed risk with inadequate equipping strategies. The change to an operational reserve status, coincident with a reorganization of the Army, has greatly increased the amount of equipment Guard and Reserve units are required to have.

“The Department is making improvements and progress in providing adequate funding to equip the National Guard and Reserve Components, to enhance its role as an operational reserve.  Sustaining this funding and having the necessary transparency and accountability of the equipment, however continues to be a major challenge.

“The purpose of today's hearing is to get an assessment of the equipment and modernization needs of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Army Reserve, and Air Force Reserve.  We also expect to learn of the improvements that have been made in managing the Guard and Reserve equipping structure.

“While most Guard and Reserve units deployed overseas have all the equipment they require, many of those units don't get all that equipment until just before deployment—and in some cases after they deploy—which makes training to deploy very difficult. Aging equipment is also an area of critical concern.  For example Air National Guard aircraft are on average 28 years old with the KC-135 tankers averaging 48 years old and the Air National Guard is reporting a $7.0 billion shortfall for modernization.

“Congress has not hesitated in trying to address the equipment readiness shortfalls we have noted in many Guard and Reserve units.  National Guard and Reserve Component procurement from fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2010 has totaled approximately $42.1 billion, averaging almost $6.0 billion per year. Since 2004, Congress has authorized approximately $7.7 billion in a separate, dedicated equipment account entitled the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account. This funding has enjoyed sustained bipartisan support both on this committee and throughout Congress.

“Although substantial progress has been made in terms of adequate funding and reorganization, there is much more to be done.  Shortfalls still exist.”