Maybe someone has an answer to this. According to recent reports (here in NH), 370 National Guard Soldiers are heading to the Middle East (apparently beginning in February) as part of Operation Spartan Shield (a U.S. Army training mission).
It is the first time that a National Guard field artillery battalion has been activated to support the mission.
While I’m all for training, why the Middle East for the state’s National Guard?
Do we plan to fight another war soon?
The governor of the state is the commander-in-chief of the units of his or her respective state National Guard. The Governor can activate National Guard personnel to “State Active Duty” in response to natural or man-made disasters or Homeland Defense missions.
Traditionally, most National Guard personnel serve “One weekend a month, two weeks a year”, although some personnel units may serve far more frequently (as in ‘war time’).
According to Article I, Section 8; Clause 15, the United States Congress is given the power to pass laws for “calling forth the (National Guard) to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”
There is an apparent increasing amount of federal control of the National Guard, including having arms and accouterments supplied by the central government, federal funding, and numerous closer ties to the Regular Army.
The President has authority (under certain conditions) to call the National Guard to active duty in their reserve component status or by calling them directly into Federal service (essentially becoming a Federalized National Guard).
When I see a report that 370 National Guard soldiers from New Hampshire are heading off to the Middle East for ‘training’, it makes me wonder.
The cost of this training (out of country) must be enormous. Could they train in-country? Is this simply more Federalization of the state National Guard in general? Or are they planning another Middle East War? Or are there not enough U.S. Army troops – or do they expect to need more? Or are Army recruitment’s way down?
Apparently the Guard units will be in Texas (Fort Bliss) for a month and a half, and then boots-on-the-ground overseas for 9 months. The unit will conduct high mobility rocket system training and they will get specific training to the desert environment.
Are any of you out there in the National Guard or know someone who is?
What’s your opinion of this Middle East Operation? Are there other National Guard troops being ‘federally’ trained here or overseas?
Could this possibly be in preparation for another war effort over there?
Or is this simply further ‘federalization’ of state powers?