National Guard leaders see changes ahead

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(Host) A top National Guard official who is in Vermont this week for a meeting with adjutants general from around the country says the role of the Guard will continue to change.

Lieutenant General Steven Blum is the chief of the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon. He says the changes ahead are driven by the Guard’s growing responsibilities:

(Blum) “Right now your National Guard is structured, organized and resourced to be a strategic reserve, but it’s being utilized as an operational force. So they way it’s resourced needs to be changed, the way it’s organized needs to be changed, the way it’s equipped needs to be changed, and the way we train needs to be changed.”

(Host) Blum says the Guard needs to shed some units that were formed to fight the Cold War – such as heavy tank and field artillery units – and instead become a more agile and flexible force. Blum also said the Guard needs to be more flexible in the amount of time they expect “citizen-soldiers” to serve.

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy says he will be introducing bi-partisan legislation that re-evaluates the mission of the Guard. Leahy is the co-chairman of the congressional caucus on the National Guard.

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