Rand Corporation recommendations to National Guard

Given the debacle that was the National Guard response to Hurricane Katrina, the Rand Corporation has released a quite sensible set of recommendations as to what should be done. Among them, 1) allow the National Guard to respond quickly to emergencies in any state, not just their home state, 2) keep units here so they can respond fast, don’t ship them all overseas, 3) call up troops involuntarily in an emergency, 4) use commercial aircraft if need be, to get help to the area fast.

I’m truly baffled. The National Guard isn’t already doing all of this? They aren’t geared to respond quickly to emergencies in other states? That’s crazy.

And yes, not shipping them all to war zones would certainly help them to respond to emergencies here at home.

One comment

  1. The military relations among the states and with the federal government is quite intricate.

    The National Guard is, in effect, the militia. How “well-regulated” it is (to borrow from the 2nd amendment) is another question, but it’s use is limited, generally, to within the state. NOt hard to see why: under what circumstances would you want the Alabama State Troopers helping out the California HIghway Patrol in California? WHo supervises them? What law and regulation controls them? How could californians control abuses by a foreign police force?

    The relationship with the feds is equally complicated. After Reconstruction, Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act, forbidding the use of federal armed forces for police work in the state except for acts of rebellion or war. There’s a means by which the feds can activate the National Guard as the reserve for the US Armed Forces; perhaps somebody with more experience, can tell us how this works.

    Sending the Guard to IRaq is still idiocy personified, but shows the lack of managerial expertise of the Bushies. If they really want a long war, they’ll have to bring back the draft. That’s politically impossible, because middle-income and upper-income people will support the war only so long as THEIR kids don’t have to go off and fight (poor kids from Appallachia don’t count), although the best way to control American interventionism would probably be to revive the draft.

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