Murphy's Law: November 11, 2002

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One of the Pentagon's unspoken problems with the call-up of so many reservists is a loss of accountability of the soldiers themselves. While the National Guard is activating large parts of battalions across the nation, they are often piecemealed out to various military bases and placed under the nominal control of the garrison commanders. This creates two issues: the garrison commanders often claim they are too busy to deal with the National Guard soldiers (and often consider them beneath their notice, as most active duty soldiers do), and the National Guard battalions lose their sense of coherence as they find themselves spread across two, three, or four states, in addition to the soldiers not taken on the deployment.

One infantry platoon from South Carolina found themselves in Djibouti guarding a special operations supply camp; they were never cleared for deployment overseas, but when special operations command came calling for soldiers to act as a guard force, the garrison commander turned to his National Guard augmentees without a second thought.

Reintegrating these units after their one-year rotation will prove to be a challenge as well. While infantry battalions still have an opportunity to train the MOS tasks when not guarding a gate, tank and artillery units are having a difficult time maintaining their proficiency at even a crew level. 

Many of these battalions have been pulled from enhanced brigades, and with the one-year (minimum) retraining time needed to develop platoon and company skills, that's one more year that the enhanced brigades are crippled by the loss of an entire battalion. 


 


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