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Fri Mar 14, 2014, 09:52 AM

Army, Guard Chiefs Strive For Compromise As Subordinates Quarrel


Army, Guard Chiefs Strive For Compromise As Subordinates Quarrel
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on March 13, 2014 at 7:01 PM

WASHINGTON: Poor General Ray Odierno. While the Army Chief of Staff took pains this morning to have only kind words for the National Guard (watch the video clip), one of his subordinates’ statements about the Guard’s post-9/11 performance keeps causing angry ripples across the Internet.

Those ripples started spreading after I reported what Maj. Gen. John Rossi told me: that Guard brigades couldn’t handle the most tactically complex counterinsurgency missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since we published Rossi’s remarks, our website and that of military satirist, cartoonist, and commentator Doctrine Man, who picked up the story, have been deluged with hundreds of comments pro and con. There are active-duty troops who feel relieved that someone has finally attacked a sacred cow, and there are Guard soldiers who feel personally insulted. Those comments include a fierce refutation by Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, no less a figure than the state commander of the California National Guard. Some highlights:

“(S)top lying about our potential, instead of defending an anachronistic Cold War construct of an expensive, large standing Army,” Baldwin wrote. “Don’t get me started about the disengenious [sic] narrative that Guard units never took on any tough jobs overseas. Who assigned those missions?”

“What terrifies Senior Army Leaders most in the past decades and today isn’t a resurgent Soviet/Russian Threat or The Dreaded Chinese,” Baldwin went on (the capital letters are his). “It is the very real risk that if the Congress figures out that the 80-Day or Less Major Conflict never has and never will happen and that Guard units can be ready to deploy for full spectrum combat ops by the time strategic lift is available, then there is no need for a large Active Component.”

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