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U.S. Military Not Prepared For Attack

Published:

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military isn't ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and National Guard forces don't have the equipment or training they need for the job, according to a report.

 

Even fewer Army National Guard units are combat-ready today than were nearly a year ago when the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves determined that 88 percent of the units were not prepared for the fight, the panel says in a new report released Thursday.

The independent commission is charged by Congress to recommend changes in law and policy concerning the Guard and Reserves.

The commission's 400-page report concludes that the nation "does not have sufficient trained, ready forces available" to respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear weapons incident, "an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk."

"Right now we don't have the forces we need, we don't have them trained, we don't have the equipment," commission Chairman Arnold Punaro said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Even though there is a lot going on in this area, we need to do a lot more. ... There's a lot of things in the pipeline, but in the world we live in — you're either ready or you're not."

In response, Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of U.S. Northern command, said the Pentagon is putting together a specialized military team that would be designed to respond to such catastrophic events.

"The capability for the Defense Department to respond to a chemical, biological event exists now," Renuart told the AP. "It, today, is not as robust as we would like because of the demand on the forces that we've placed across the country. ... I can do it today. It would be harder on the (military) services, but I could respond."

Over the next year, Renuart said, specific active duty, Guard and Reserve units will be trained, equipped and assigned to a three-tiered response force totaling about 4,000 troops. There would be a few hundred first responders, who would be followed by a second wave of about 1,200 troops that would include medical and logistics forces.

The third wave, with the remainder of that initial 4,000 troops, would include aircraft units, engineers, and other support forces, depending on the type of incident.

Punaro, a retired Marine Corps major general, had sharp criticism for Northern Command, saying that commanders there have made little progress developing detailed response plans for attacks against the homeland.

"NorthCom has got to get religion in this area," said Punaro. He said the military needs to avoid "pickup game" type responses, such as the much-criticized federal reaction to Hurricane Katrina, and put in place the kind of detailed plans that exist for virtually any international crisis.

He also underscored the commission's main finding: the Pentagon must move toward making the National Guard and Reserves an integral part of the U.S. military.

The panel, in its No. 1 recommendation, said the Defense Department must use the nation's citizen soldiers to create an operational force that would be fully trained, equipped and ready to defend the nation, respond to crises and supplement the active duty troops in combat.

Pointing to the continued strain on the military, as it fights wars on two fronts, the panel said the U.S. has "no reasonable alternative" other than to continue to rely heavily on the reserves to supplement the active duty forces both at home and abroad.

Using reserves as a permanent, ready force, the commission argued, is a much more cost effective way to supplement the military since they are about 70 percent cheaper than active duty troops.

Asked how much it would cost to implement the panel's recommendations, Punaro said it will take billions to fully equip the Guard. The commission is going to ask the Congressional Budget Office to do a cost analysis, he said.

In perhaps its most controversial recommendation, the panel again said that the nation's governors should be given the authority to direct active-duty troops responding to an emergency in their states. That recommendation, when it first surfaced last year, was rebuffed by the military and quickly rejected by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"I believe we're going to wear him down," said Punaro.

Renuart, however, said he believes it is unlikely that Gates will reverse himself. Renuart said he's talked to a number of state leaders on the matter, and most don't want full command of active duty troops — to include their care, feeding, discipline and logistics demands. Instead, he said, governors want to know that in a crisis, their needs will be met.

 

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

Entry #1,294

Comments

1.
Comment by pumpi76 - February 1, 2008, 10:52 am
And they are making this information available because?......What i am trying to say is why are they making this information available to the public....
2.
four4meComment by four4me - February 1, 2008, 11:39 am
No country is prepared to handle a catastrophic event. As is evident by all the past events. Regardless of how many people are standing in readiness. The people who deploy these troops and rescue workers do not have the ability to coordinate any effort at the drop of a hat.

The people at the top level continuously argue who should do what first.

The mere fact that we have stretched our troops so thin and not initiated a draft is evidence that our top leaders could care less if such an event were to occur. They might be thinking that our allies will step in to help as we have helped so many others. However i think they are in for a rude awakening there aren't a whole lot of countries that will come to our aid at this point in time. They might lend some assistance but the kind of assistance we'll need in a nuclear, biological, or major catastrophic event will be overwhelming for any country.
3.
TenajComment by Tenaj - February 1, 2008, 2:13 pm
This is early. I expected this issue to be printed about two weeks before election time because some candidate's votes depend on whether they support the war or not.

The political parties do this type of thing all the time to sway votes, usually they wait for the right time, close to election. "To make people go OMG! what are we going to do if we get attacked." or "OMG! We need to spend more money for the military and have more security that take our rights away." It's a scare tactic for the ignorant masses. Don't fall for it.
4.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - February 1, 2008, 3:31 pm
All you have heard on the news in the last 4 or 5 years is our troops should not be fighting for the defense of this country. Hell you are not going to see insurgents attack us in our homeland.
So why do we need a ready military?
These politicians whistle another tune come election time.
You are right on Tenaj with your comment.
5.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 1, 2008, 4:10 pm
Fear is how a lot of politicians get power. This might sound way out there, but when you think about it, many people who voted for Bush were more afraid of homosexuals than they were of war. It's fear that creates hate and bigotry.
6.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - February 1, 2008, 4:12 pm
Another thing.
Our troops got the same s**t about fighting while in Viet-nam.
They come home from Nam and get spit on.
So why the big pres release about we are not ready in the homeland from attack.
Those twin towers fell down all by themselves. What Insurgents. I do not see any.
7.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 1, 2008, 4:27 pm
I watched the Dem debate last night on CNN (yes, I know it wasn't live) at about 2AM. Sen Clinton said we definitely need to protect our country from terrorists. But there is a difference between being on guard and using intelligence to protect the country and violating human rights. I remember after 9-11 when someone shot a man because he was wearing a turban. He was from India! The Japanese were put into camps out of fear and many of them had lived here for generations. It's wise to teach your children never to touch a hot stove or get into a stranger's car. It's another thing to instill horror in them so they are afraid to leave the house.
8.
time*treatComment by time*treat - February 1, 2008, 5:11 pm
The info is being made available to condition the public for occupation. American soldiers are less inclined to fire on American citizens. If there are not enough U.S. soldiers available because they are otherwise engaged, then if there is an 'event', foreign (U.N.) soldiers would 'need' to be brought in to 'deal with the crisis'.

"Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. TROOPS entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful!" - Henry Kissinger, 1992
9.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 1, 2008, 8:15 pm
Well, time*treat. Then I'm glad I know people in Panama. :-)   
I think it's possible there's already an occupation, only they are using aliens from other planets. I mean, remember Invasion of the Body Snatchers? People you know, like your neighbors and relatives, are being replaced by aliens. As published by Wayne Manzo, Special Agent of the American Human Intelligence Agency, it was in 1989 that a "telepathic alien race....assimilated into human society"    http://alienxnation.tripod.com/
I mean, when he writes "the alien race had created the fascade of a democratic constitutional form of government by assimilating and destroying human beings and by complete control of the news media" isn't that exactly what has happened over the past 7 years? That makes sense to me! How else did Bush not only get elected in 2000 but was re-elected? Here's proof positive!
http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/blbushspacealien.htm
10.
Rick GComment by Rick G - February 2, 2008, 9:45 am
If we got our noses out of every other country's business and brought all of our troops home to defend America against foreign trespass we would be one of the most secure countries in the world.

What we must watch out for is paramilitary groups such as Blackwater taking grip on internal security in the US. They don't have to follow the constitution and can be used against our citizens unlike our military. They are already being used as agent provocateurs.
11.
spy153Comment by spy153 - February 2, 2008, 12:06 pm
jap69, you got it!

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