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National Guard Moves to Improve Total Army Readiness

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AUSA
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Efforts are underway in the Army National Guard to improve Total Army combat readiness, the National Guard Bureau’s vice chief said at a breakfast sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare.

One idea is to try to increase authorized manning levels of Army Guard units to compensate for the fact that some people are assigned to jobs for which they are not yet trained, Lt. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson said. Guard policies assign every new soldier to a specific position in a unit as soon as they are recruited, which means there are almost always new soldiers who have not been trained for the position although the units appear fully manned, he said. Increasing manning levels so units could be at more than 100 percent of their authorized strength would allow for better trained and ready forces, Hokanson said.

Additionally, Army National Guard units are training to cut mobilization time so they can prepare faster when called, and are looking to see what Regular Army missions could be backfilled by Guard units to reduce the burden on active forces.

Hokanson came to the National Guard Bureau in November after an assignment as the U.S. Northern Command’s deputy commander. He previously served as the Oregon National Guard’s adjutant general.

The National Guard has a wide set of missions, with 448,000 personnel at almost 2,700 installations, he said. That includes 342,000 Army National Guard soldiers, who make up 39 percent of the Army’s operational forces. In fiscal 2016, the National Guard was called up for a combined 197 domestic operations, he said, and the pace is even higher in fiscal 2017. There have been 142 domestic operations so far in the fiscal year, he said.

The breakfast was held in AUSA’s General Gordon R. Sullivan Conference and Event Center in Arlington, Va. A list of other planned events is located here: https://www.ausa.org/meet