The U.S. Army has begun a program to bring National Guard units into the regular army. The National Guard can be legally brought into the army in emergencies.
What kind of emergencies might they have in mind?
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Army Picks National Guard Brigades
By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army has chosen Fort Riley, Kan., and Fort Carson, Colo., as the headquarters for two new Army National Guard divisions that will be commanded by active duty two-star Army generals. The step is part of an effort to smooth some long-simmering tensions between the full-time Army and the National Guard, which answers to state governors but can be put under federal command in national emergencies. The two so-called ``integrated divisions'' will be composed of three Army National Guard brigades and be organized under a headquarters unit composed primarily of active duty soldiers, the Army said in a statement issued at the Pentagon. Each division has about 17,000 soldiers.
``The National Guard leadership is supportive and enthusiastic of this significant step that furthers the integration of the active and National Guard combat structure,'' Maj. Gen. William Navas Jr., the director of the Army National Guard, said in the statement. The move provides for a full-time headquarters unit that can deal with the ongoing issues affecting each of the divisions, an Army official said. The brigades chosen as part of the first division at Fort Riley are the 30thMechanized Infantry Brigade of North Carolina, the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of South Carolina and the 48th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of Georgia. A liaison unit will be located at Fort Jackson, S.C.
The brigades chosen as part of the second division at Fort Carson are the 45th Infantry Brigade of Oklahoma, the 39th Infantry Brigade of Arkansas and the 76th Infantry Brigade of Indiana. A liaison unit will be located at Fort Polk, La.
Each of the headquarters units will comprise about 200 soldiers, and each liaison unit will consist of about 15 to 20 people. Neither of the two-star generals has been named.
Pentagon leaders, such as Defense Secretary William Cohen, have called on the Army and the National Guard to work out their differences and work together as a ``seamless force.'' In recent months, Gen. Dennis Reimer, the Army chief of staff, has met with Guard leaders and units in an attempt to improve relations.
Tensions have arisen over the belief by some in the Army that some Guard units cannot deploy quickly enough and cannot, as part-time soldiers, meet the demands of high-tech warfare. Guard members have argued that they have been left out of high-level Army decision-making and have urged Congress to help put a member of the National Guard on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.