Report Addresses Future of Army National Guard

(May 29, 2014) The Congressional Budget Office should design a common costing model to accurately measure the costs of the active-component Army and the Army National Guard so decisions based on budget issues can be meaningful.

That’s one recommendation in a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies released today in Washington, D.C. The think tank released its report, “Citizen-Soldiers in a Time of Transition: The Future of the U.S. Army National Guard,” at its headquarters in the nation’s capital.

The report is available here.

It includes 18 findings and six recommendations. The report comes as the Army and the Army Guard are involved in a tussle over what form the Total Army should take. The issue has caused heated exchanges and is now part of the debate over the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., a retired National Guardsman, spoke at the event at which the report was released. He called it “a groundbreaking piece of work” in a speech in which he said Congress needs data if it is to make the right decisions.

The report’s principal author, Stephanie Sanok Kostro, is acting director of the CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program. Referring to the current squabble between the Army and the Army Guard, she said, “These tensions are unhealthy” and harmful to national security.

The report notes that debate has centered largely on budget issues rather than missions and priorities of the force. It recommends a commission to study the Army structure, which is part of the House version of the NDAA. But it also suggests forming a Total Force Task Force led by three two-star generals from the active component, Army Reserves and Guard to offer recommendations to Army leadership.

The second recommendation is for the CBO to devise the common costing model. “The result should be an agreed-upon cost model so that different organizations can no longer cherry-pick and manipulate cost data to support their own arguments,” the report says.

Other recommendations include:

  • A review of the reimbursement process and funding amounts when using the Guard for homeland security;
  • Maintaining relationships between the Guard and its interagency partners;
  • Continue the State Partnership Program, but consider how to shift focus to the Pacific region and Africa;
  • Recognize the value of using the Guard in long-term overseas deployments; and
  • The Guard should provide better information on its cyber capabilities so those capabilities can be integrated into Defense Department and interagency plans.