Federal News Service April 29, 2004 Thursday
April 29, 2004 Thursday
HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM SUBJECT: TRANSFORMING THE NATIONAL GUARD: RESOURCING FOR READINESS
CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE TOM DAVIS (R-VA)
WITNESSES PANEL II: PAUL MCHALE, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; THOMAS F. HALL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RESERVE AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE;
LIEUTENANT GENERAL H. STEVEN BLUM, CHIEF, NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU; MAJOR GENERAL JOHN A. LOVE, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO COMBATANT COMMANDER FOR NATIONAL GUARD AFFAIRS, U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND
LOCATION: 2154 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
TIME: 10:00 A.M.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
REP. DAVIS: The gentlelady from Tennessee.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you to our panel, I appreciate your willingness to come and visit with us on these issues today. The health of the National Guard, the strength of the National Guard is very important to all of us, and I have two questions. My first question I am going to direct to Mr. Hall and General Blum, and then Mr. McHale, I will come to you with my second question. I do want to be brief in consideration of everyone's time.
One of the things that I am very concerned about, Mr. Hall and General Blum, is the 168th out of Lebanon, Tennessee, which is military police. Now, we have talked a lot this morning about predictability, about readiness and the quality of life with the families and Governor Pataki was very forthcoming with what he's doing to address those issues in New York. The 168th out of Lebanon was activated in December '02. They were deployed in June of '03, and they're in the group that just got extended for another 90 to 100 days.
And this is of great concern to us, because of the families that are involved and the length of this deployment. We know that retention and readiness is important but I think that-I'm very concerned for the families of the 168th and how this lengthy deployment does affect them. What I want to know is what you plan to do, if you restructure that will keep that from happening again? Then, Mr. McHale, for your answer, the question I would like for you to answer for me is we look at this restructuring and we talk about having missions that are complementary, mutually reinforcing, the one thing that we've not focused on a lot in this hearing is going forward with the implementation, what the estimated cost of stepping up the readiness, and as we talk about cost, are you look at a five year frame or a ten year frame, have you given an estimate to the restructuring on the increased time and what that increased training time is going to cost us.
The different units, the equipping of these and how-what that cost is going to be, so backing it up, Mr. McHale, I'll ask you to speak to the cost, but first Mr. Hall and General Blum, if you will address the restructuring to keep from happening, what has happened with the 168th?