December 13, 2001
As a member of the Senate National Guard Caucus, I want to express my keen interest in the role of the National Guard in protecting our homeland against terror. This is an important topic and I commend you for holding this hearing.
As a nation, it is imperative that we get this right. Our national security, both at home and abroad, depends on deciding the right mission for our National Guard and clearly articulating priorities. All recruiting, training, and resourcing for the National Guard depends on the role they are given in the 21st Century. We can not afford to waste time, effort, or money.
Currently, the National Guard has the dual mission as a state militia and as a national warfighter. I believe this works well. I would encourage a very judicious study of any new architecture proposed for the National Guard that would not preserve this Dualism.
Another important concept concerning the National Guard is Jointness. The National Guard executes joint operations extremely well with active duty forces. We see that today, as U.S. active duty and reserve troops prosecute the war on terrorism overseas.
I also know that the National Guard implements "Jointness" extremely well in its state militia role. I point to the experience of the Utah National Guard as they prepared to perform security operations for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. I believe the preparations for these Olympic games manifest just how well the National Guard has established a partnership between state and federal military forces.
Yet, the National Guard's execution of joint operations does not stop with the military. The Utah National Guard also established a strong partnership with civil authorities in the process of gearing up for the Olympic games. I refer to the excellent working relationships between the Utah National Guard and the state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies. It is essential that these relationships --- between state and federal military, and between military and civilian law enforcement, be transparent to ensure effective security for the games. In a hearing I chaired last May concerning Olympic security and cooperation among the various federal, state, and local agencies, the message was loud and clear. The National Guard knows how to execute joint missions.
And I will close with one last point. Whatever mission is handed to the National Guard, we all have a responsibility to ensure that the Guard is given the proper resources to do the job.
Again, Madam Chairwoman, thank you for your leadership and the opportunity to examine this important topic.
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