Governors strongly support the efforts and sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces – active duty, reserve, National Guard and veterans – to protect the United States and preserve our way of life. Governors are particularly concerned with the role of the National Guard as it is the only military force that a governor can call upon to respond to disasters and other emergencies. The readiness of the National Guard is at an all-time high across the spectrum of defense operations, and in a time of significant uncertainty in defense budgeting, the National Guard is a cost-effective solution for sustaining military capabilities at home and abroad. The National Guard’s dual role as an overseas operational force and as a homeland defense force requires cooperation between the federal government and states to ensure the National Guard is ready when called upon for service. Governors offer the following recommendations to collaboratively support the National Guard.
3.2 Council of Governors
The Council of Governors (Council) is a statutorily created council that brings together 10 governors, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the White House and other senior federal officials to improve coordination between states and the federal government on matters relating to the National Guard and homeland defense. Governors support the work of the Council and urge the federal government to continue to support and utilize this forum to address issues pertaining to shared military resources.
3.3 Dual Status Command
Dual Status Command refers to the appointment of a single military officer to simultaneously direct the operations of federal military forces under the command of the President and National Guard forces under the command of a governor. The appointment of a Dual Status Commander requires the consent of the affected governor and the Secretary of Defense on behalf of the President.
- The appointment of a National Guard officer as Dual Status Commander should be the usual and customary command arrangement during domestic emergency response operations involving state and federal military forces.
- The federal government should work with states to ensure that each state has more than one National Guard officer trained and certified to serve as a Dual Status Commander.
3.4 National Guard and Homeland Defense
The National Guard serves as a critical resource in emergency response and can quickly provide much-needed capabilities. The unique dual-missioned nature of the National Guard makes it a highly flexible organization capable of adapting to a changing threat environment and providing maximum return on investment for the nation and states alike. Governors are sensitive to budgetary constraints and urge the federal government to recognize that the National Guard offers our nation an efficient and readily available solution as it faces an era of constrained federal resources and persistent conflict.
- The National Guard is one of the nation’s most cost-effective resources and must be equipped to fulfill its overseas combat role alongside the active military forces as well as its homeland defense and emergency response role within the United States.
- Similarly, the backlog of National Guard military construction requirements across all states must be resourced to support the Guard’s missions at home and abroad.
- Federal resource allocation or reallocation proposals that would impact the National Guard should be discussed with states in advance of a final determination.
As the men and women of our nation’s armed forces return from conflicts overseas, many returning service members are experiencing difficulty in transitioning back to civilian life and accessing their veterans benefits. States are often required to bear most of the financial obligation of providing services to veterans because of inadequate coordination and outreach by the federal government. Governors strongly support providing services to our nation’s veterans and urge the federal government to work with states to help veterans, including members of the national guard and reserves, reintegrate into the community, including providing access to job training and placement and other benefits and services.
Time limited (effective Winter Meeting2013 – Winter Meeting 2015).
Adopted Winter Meeting 2013.