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The Army National Guard predates the founding of the nation and a standing military by almost a century and a half - and is therefore the oldest component of the United States armed forces. America's first permanent militia regiments, among the oldest continuing units in history, were organized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. Since that time, the Guard has participated in every U.S. conflict from the Pequot War of 1637 to our current deployments in support of Operation Joint Forge.

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New Agreement to Help Balance Active Army, National Guard

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct.  2007 – A new agreement between the active Army and Army National Guard represents a big step toward achieving the force structure balance Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. calls critical to the Army’s transformation.

Senior Army leaders signed a memo of understanding Oct. 9 during the Association of the U.S. Army convention here to firm up a plan to rebalance force structure and resources between the active and reserve components.

Under the plan, the Army National Guard will have 112 brigades: 28 brigade combat teams, 46 multifunctional brigades and 38 functional brigades. It is slated to grow by more than 5,000 troops to 358,000 in 2013. Almost 321,000 of those soldiers will be in the operational force.

The plan also ensures Guard units, many underequipped after leaving their best equipment in the combat theater for follow-on units, receive replacement equipment on par with their active-duty counterparts.

Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, joined Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard, and Maj. Gen. Bennett Landreneau, Louisiana’s adjutant general and chairman of the Adjutants General Association Force Structure Committee, at the signing ceremony at the Washington Convention Center.

Cody called the plan a “necessary journey” that will “make our Army stronger.”

Vaughn said the plan will reduce stress on the force by providing more formations in the deployment cycle. “It’s more capacity for the Army,” he said.

He pointed to the talks that led to the agreement as a model for the future. “This is the way we need to go in (addressing) some of the hard things,” he said.

Casey called adapting the reserve components a key element in the Army’s transformation and its ability to confront what is expected to be an era of “persistent conflict.”

“Our reserve components are performing magnificently, but in an operational role for which they were neither designed nor resourced,” he said during an address to AUSA attendees Oct. 9. “They are no longer a strategic reserve, mobilized only in national emergencies. They are now an operational reserve deployed on a cyclical basis,” enabling the Army to sustain operations.

“Operationalizing” the reserve components “will require national and state consensus, as well as continued commitment from employers, soldiers and families,” Casey said. “It will require changes to the way we train, equip, resource and mobilize.”

It also will require changes to outdated Cold War-era administrative policies that inhibit reservists’ ability to serve. “We changed the paradigm for our reserve-component soldiers and families, and we owe it to them to make this transition right,” Casey said.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., USA
Gen. Richard A. Cody, USA
Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, USA
Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, USA

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