Greensburg, Kansas was hit not only with a massive storm and ensuing devastation, but also with the harsh reality that they do not have the resources to handle such a disaster readily available.  This, however, has not been news to the Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius.  For many months she has been very vocal about her concern of lack of troops and equipment.  The support and equipment, normally provided by the National Guard, has been at an all time low in recent times due to deployments overseas in support of the Iraq war. 

Prior to being redistributed to support the Iraq war, Kansas had over 600 humvees, 170 tactile vehicles and 30 large trucks.  At this point, the state has remaining only 350 humvees, 30 tactile vehicles and 15 large trucks. 

The concern pertains not only to natural disasters, but to preparedness in the event of a terrorist attack.  The Kansas Governor isn’t the only one who has voiced concerned,   many other governors as well as other citizens have expressed the same concern.  Retired Air Force Gen. Melvyn Montano stated in a weekly radio address that the National Guard is not as strong as it should be and that American communities will suffer because of this.  Montano is the former adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard.  The result being that the citizens of Greensburg will be the once to suffer the consequence of a slow recovery. 

According to the USA Today, a report issued in March, the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves said the Department of Defense “is not adequately equipping the National Guard for its domestic missions.”  Additionally, a study conducted in 2006 for the Center for Strategic and International Affairs estimated that 85% of the National Guards units that have not been deployed overseas are now facing equipment shortages, because their equipment has been deployed. 

The function of the National Guard, historically, has been to support active forces in war time as well as in peacekeeping missions.  Additionally, it has the responsibility of being the first responder to domestic emergencies of any kind.  This includes natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes as well as domestic terrorists’ threats.  Since the end of the Cold War, and especially under the former leadership of President Clinton, National Guard troops have seen a significant increase in deployment to international peacekeeping missions.  Since the events of September 11, 2001, the role of the National Guard as first responder seems monumentally more essential than in the past, as we have all seen the devastation that can be brought about domestically. 

Being unprepared to quickly and efficiently respond to its’ citizens needs in natural disasters like hurricane Katrina and the Greensburg tornado only announces with great ferocity to the rest of the world that the US will be equally ill-equipped to respond to a domestic terrorist threat.  The National Guard is not only an essential element in keeping the homeland secure but also very capable of serving as the lead military agency for homeland security.  The Guard should be equipped with enough funding so as to adequately secure the US domestically as well as to continue to serve as back up forces internationally. 

Be Sociable, Share!