Guard, Reserve Call for Equipment, Force Modernization

Guard, Reserve Call for Equipment, Force Modernization

Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels and Gen. Daniel Hokanson speak on Capitol Hill
Photo by: U.S. Army

The National Guard and Army Reserve need increased support to modernize their equipment and manning for future conflict, the components’ top leaders testified June 18 on Capitol Hill.

“Unpredictable and inconsistent funding … reduce [the National Guard’s] buying power and negatively impact our strategic readiness and modernization,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, testified before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. “If we fail to modernize our equipment and force design adequately, we increase the risk of sending America’s sons and daughters into large-scale combat operations with equipment and formations that may not be fully interoperable with the active-duty forces we serve alongside.”

As the Army builds toward the force of 2030, it remains focused on modernization and has requested $38.5 billion in fiscal 2025 for research and development and to modernize its aircraft, missiles, weapons and tracked combat vehicles and ammunition, according to an Army budget overview. 

The Army Reserve also needs “robust investment” to modernize its equipment, and the component’s “unfunded equipment requirements list continues to increase while the degree of funding does not,” Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of Army Reserve Command, testified during the hearing.

About half of the Army Reserve’s 18,000 Humvees, which are considered mission-critical, are “beyond their useful life” and need upgraded anti-lock brake systems and electronic stability control kits, Daniels wrote in her prepared testimony.

In addition to its equipment, the National Guard’s formations will need to modernize through “restructuring,” Hokanson said.

“In terms of our formations, we must be deployable, sustainable, interoperable and operationally ready,” Hokanson wrote in his prepared testimony. “Force structure design in National Guard divisions should reflect their active-duty counterparts as closely as possible. This enhances our operational readiness to respond wherever and whenever the National Guard may be needed.” 

Adequate manning is essential to maintaining deterrence, Hokanson said.

“Our strategic competitors are seeking advantages in every domain. … Ensuring that our Reserve and Guard units are manned, trained and equipped just like their active-duty component” increases deterrence, he said. Ensuring that the National Guard has “the same capability and capacity” so that they can bring the same to the battlefield is essential, he said.