Nov. 21, 2003
SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS: SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 84-RECOGNIZING THE SACRIFICES MADE BY MEMBERS OF THE REGULAR AND RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE ARMED FORCES, EXPRESSING CONCERN ABOUT THEIR SAFETY AND SECURITY, AND URGING THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TO TAKE IMMEDIATE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT THE RESERVE COMPONENTS ARE PROVIDED WITH THE SAME EQUIPMENT AS REGULAR COMPONENTS
(At the request of Mr. DASCHLE, the following statement was ordered to be printed in the RECORD.)
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, the relationship between the active and reserve components in the United States military is known as the "total-force" concept. Active duty units cannot fight wars without the support and participation of units from the National Guard and Reserve. It is this aspect of the all volunteer military that distinguishes the American armed forces from the praetorian armies of old and links the broader public, intimately, to the costs and sacrifices of war.
The men and women of the American military continue to preform magnificently. They are executing difficult missions in distant lands around the globe. There are more than 130,000 troops in Iraq, 30,000 in Kuwait, 37,000 in Korea, and 10,000 in Afghanistan. At this moment, more than 164,000 national guardsmen and reservists are on active duty, and the Pentagon has recently announced two more rounds of activation, increasing that number by another 58,000 troops. With more than 60 percent of the Army's active combat strength deployed or preparing to deploy, the men and women of the National Guard and Reserves are essential to our efforts in the war on terrorism and the stabilization of Iraq and Afghanistan.
These deployed "weekend warriors" are much more than part-time soldiers; they are full-time war-fighters serving alongside active duty units, performing the same missions, facing the same dangers, paying the same bloody price.
Despite this fact, the equipment of the National Guard and Reserves has been substandard when compared to the equipment available to members of the active units for far too long. This peace-time nuisance is a mortal danger in war. It is inexcusable that any U.S. units, whether active or reserve, would deploy to a combat zone without the latest equipment and technology.
But we have heard concerns about National Guard and Reserve units lacking the latest gear or technology: helicopters lacking basic defense systems; Humvees without the additional armor needed to protect their occupants; and inadequate supplies of personal body armor. It is a dereliction of duty to send anyone into harm's way without basic protective gear.
The Concurrent Resolution submit today, expresses our concern for the welfare and security of all the men and women of the United states military, whether they serve in the active duty military, the National Guard, or the reserves. If this is to truly be a "total-force," then we must also commit ourselves to equipping it as such. The courageous, young men and women of our armed forces deserve no less.