The Cost of Readiness

Having been in the loop of what it cost to run the Guard of the State of Kansas, I feel that I am a source of what it costs to be ready for the Military.  Here's another Boat Load.

Year after year, our Guard units would go to Annual training and have the Regular Army come to watch us.  You could write their  observation on a 3X5 card and just pass it on to the next set of evaluators.  The Unit is so unprepared that they are dangerous.  They will never achieve any competent level of readiness.  Next day.  Lots of Improvement and they are starting to look like a real unit.   Next day, many of the standards are now being hit and the leaders are taking charge.  You can fill in the days in between until the last evaluation - This unit is remarkable in how well they can achieve the standards.  I would be proud to take this unit to war with us anytime.

A good friend of mine had a saying, "Speed Costs Money - How Fast do you want to go?"  Butch knew that with time and money, the reserve component soldier can get ready and do the job that they are required to do.  It doesn't take a genius IQ to realize that with most units being allocated 39 days pay in a year, they are a pretty good bargain compared with the 365 days the Active Army is paid.  Don't get me wrong, there is a need for an active force ready to go today but just how ready the rest of the force need to be is a matter of money and time.

A few years back, the discussion of Force Structure was discussed in the Halls of Congress and the Guard said we stand ready to go do a lot of the Active Army's missions and they were passed the ball. Many of the Active units had been deployed three and were ready for their fourth rotation.  The guard stepped up and deployed many units.   It was unusual to see many Guardsmen that had served overseas in the early 70's and now almost all leaders have at least one deployment.  The Active Leaders are now again shouting that we need to cut the Guard and Reserves to maintain a high level of readiness in the Active Army.   Either they don't know what we all know or they have an overstated expectation of the need.

One thing that the Active Army leaders don't understand about the Guard is that almost all of the Guardsmen have another job that they maintain proficiency in.   In the active service they are contracting the day to day activities to the civilian contractors and most of the soldiers have one and only one job to do.   They have all weekends off when at home.  The Guard and Reserves give up one weekend a month and most are getting higher military qualifications on their own time. 

I worked full time for the Guard and completed the Field Artillery Advance Course as an additional duty, mostly by correspondence courses.  The Prefix 5 course was another correspondence course and three years of weekly night meetings in Kansas City and two weeks in the summer got me qualified through the Command and General Staff College.  All that was in addition to the weekends and nights I had to do  with my units.   There were many summers that the wife took a vacation with our son that didn't include me except for perhaps a weekend off, if I had one.

The point I want to make here is that the Guard is pretty darned good deal for our country and when we need to cut costs start where the highest costs are and pay it where the return is the greatest.


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