WASHINGTON—The nation’s governors examined “The Changing Role of the National Guard” during the Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety session today at the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting.
Since September 11, 2001, the National Guard’s role both overseas and at home has expanded dramatically. Last year, two important changes were made to reflect today’s National Guard. First, the passage of legislation codifying the role of a “dual status commander,” making it possible for states to effectively coordinate with federal troops when responding to a natural disaster. Second, Congress recognized the importance of the Guard by giving it representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“As Governors, we are eternally grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of the men and women in the National Guard,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, co-chair of the committee. “It is incredibly important that we understand and appreciate their role in taking up freedom’s greatest privilege, protecting the people of this nation and serving our states.”
“The National Guard can be called up for active duty in response to hurricanes, floods and earthquakes,” said Wyoming Gov. Matthew Mead, co-chair of the committee. “As governors, our top concern is keeping our citizens safe, and some situations require the assistance of the National Guard. As the nation continues to address the federal deficit, governors will continue to support efforts to preserve the Guard’s dual mission and ensure it receives the resources, equipment and training necessary to remain strong.”
Governors were joined at the committee meeting by General Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau at the U.S. Department of Defense and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In response to ongoing budget constraints, a new military strategy and significant reductions, governors are faced with changes to the Guard. McKinley and Fugate discussed those changes and what it means for the future of the National Guard.
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, go to www.nga.org.