Paramilitary: May 27, 2003


The American National Guard, a unique reserve force that answers to state governors (for natural and manmade emergencies) in peacetime, and to the armed forces in wartime, is going to transform itself. For over half a century, the Guard has organized and trained to be a wartime reserve for the regular forces. This was during the Cold War. Now the Guard is going to form more emergency response units, while still maintaining many of its traditional reserve type units for the active forces. The new units would include units that can decontaminate civilians caught in a terrorist chemical or biological weapons attack . Another proposal is to retrain and re-equip engineer companies to perform search and rescue duties during disasters. Some engineer companies are called out to do this anyway, so this proposal recognizes a long time need. Combat units would be given special training to enable them to provide support for civilian police in the event of a disaster. This would be along the lines of guarding key facilities, providing communications, transportation and food service for such emergencies. Also proposed is the creation of National Guard units that are ready, on short notice, to respond to an emergency to provide security, or other support. These units would have to be formed from volunteers willing to put in the extra time, and be available to be mobilized on very short notice. These proposals appear designed to appeal to state governors, who would more likely have opportunities to use these rapid response units. There are far more natural disasters for the National Guard to deal with than terrorist attacks. 


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