• The National Guard is not accessible.
As a matter of law, governors have no authority to prevent or delay the mobilization of a guard unit for overseas service. And since September 11, 2001, every state has worked seamlessly with the federal government. The result is that no guard unit has failed to respond to a federal call up.
• We only have 39 days a year to train National Guardsmen so they can't be a ready force.
On average, most guardsmen spend much more than the minimal 39 days for annual and individual training. This includes a variety of additional training opportunities and required professional development schools.
Training time is limited only by what the services will provide in resources to a balanced total force. Those reservists who have re-enlisted or enlisted since 9/11 fully understand and expect to be a part of an operational reserve that is more than 39 days a year.
Our nation is at a crossroads. Potential threats run the spectrum from Korea, IED attacks at home to cyber. In conjunction with these threats is a deficit that must be addressed. It is almost 12 years since 9/11 and we need to continue forward under a new 21st century model and not go back to a cold war paradigm.
The modern operational reserve construct that rose out of 9/11 is the right answer for our future where we must balance threat and debt reduction. It will require forward, visionary, and out-of-the-box thinking from military and civilian leaders, communities and employers. And, it will require additional sacrifice from service members and families.
This argument is presented on behalf of the 6,500 men and women of the West Virginia National Guard. They step forward daily as part of less than 1 percent of the nation who serve in uniform. They should not have to fight the "system" to be a relevant part of the country's defense. As a military force we should focus that energy on addressing the threats our nation faces. Rest assured, as they have since they formed the Continental Army, today's constitutional militia will fight for what is in the best interest of our nation!
Hoyer is West Virginia adjutant general.