War and equipment shortages will cause great difficultly for the National Guard to deal with two or more hurricanes this season. The way to try to deal with this situation, is to spend more money and shifting of equipment. But will that be enough? Not likely according to this WaPo story.
Strapped by war and equipment shortages, the National Guard will find it difficult to deal with two or more major hurricanes if they sweep ashore in different regions around the same time, Guard leaders say.
To counter equipment shortfalls caused largely by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Guard has borrowed more than $500 million worth of equipment from the active duty military to restock its units. Thousands of trucks, Humvees and other supplies have been shifted mostly from inland states’ Guard units closer to where storms are more likely to strike.
Army and Air Guard officials also are spending at least $900 million on new communications equipment and hundreds of tractors and trucks.
But that may be too little, too late, for states warily watching the weather reports as the nation enters peak hurricane season.
If a hurricane hits North Carolina and another one spins toward Texas, “we would have to make some very difficult decisions,” Col. Pat Tennis, the National Guard’s director of operations, told the Associated Press.
“Have we thinned the lines? Yes we have. Could we deal with the consequences of another hurricane like Katrina? Yes. Could we deal with two? That would be very challenging,” Tennis said.
This equipment shortage is a tell tale sign of the cost of the Occupation of Iraq. This is equipment that those units should already have.
Similar concerns were expressed by Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard. Blum said the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have taken a toll on the Guard’s equipment.
“We have to be able to respond even faster here at home than they have to overseas,” said Blum, adding that because of agreements between state adjutants general, “we are able to move equipment from other states, to make up for the shortfalls in some states. We have to do that every single day to make the mission work.”
According to documents, the Guard has borrowed 3,418 pieces of equipment from the active military, ranging from generators and Humvees to refueling tankers and medical gear.
One Guard document says the states should already have had the equipment as part of their warfighting capabilities, but “due to deployments and stay behind equipment for (Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom), the states are particularly short.”
With the Guard being stretched so thin, where does that leave Homeland Security?
“We’re spread really, really thin. That’s a common concern that I hear about,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Lempke, president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States. “My concern is having enough equipment to support a major event in a state.”
Lempke, who is adjutant general in Nebraska, agreed that multiple crises will be difficult to handle.
“If we get sequential or simultaneous events, it could be a problem. We might not have the equipment we need nearby and we might have to go clear across the country to get it.”
He said Guard units in North Carolina and Louisiana, for example, had to leave a lot of equipment, including trucks and Humvees, behind in Iraq and need replacements to meet their training and homeland security needs.
Something is really wrong with this picture. As was said before, John Kerry was and is right!