18 February 2011

2011 Condition of the Iowa National Guard

Certain uniquely Iowa events help mark the passage of time beyond the seasonal ebb and flow of planting and harvesting. Like the state high-school wrestling and basketball tournaments, Pella's Tulip Time Festival, and the Iowa State Fair.

For political junkies and policy wonks, the dead of January also brings the governor's annual "Condition of the State" address, an event that echoes the U.S. presidential tradition of the "State of the Union" address. (In fact, Iowa's event was once called the "State of the State" address, as it is in other states.)

There's also an annual "Condition of the Judiciary" address, given by the chief justice of the state supreme court. And a "Condition of the Guard" address by the Iowa adjutant general--the top-ranking National Guard official in the state. (The National Guards of the 54 U.S. states and territories, unless called to federal service, report to their respective state governors as commander-in-chief.) I've not been able to find any other state that conducts a "Condition of the Guard" speech.

Such events provide an opportunity to reflect on where we've been--as an economy, as a school, as a government, as a military force--and where we may be going.

Army Maj. Gen. Tim Orr gave the 2011 "Condition of the Guard" speech--his second--at the Iowa State capitol Wed., Feb. 16. An excerpt is presented below, with emphasis added. In reading the first paragraph presented here--the one that mentions "more than 16,000 of our men and women"--keep in mind that the assigned strength of the Iowa National Guard is approximately 10,000. Some soldiers have deployed multiple times. Some have retired. Still others have joined up.
Since 9/11, the Soldiers and Airmen of the Iowa National Guard, their families, and their employers have made significant sacrifices on behalf of the American people. More than 65 percent of our Soldiers and Airmen currently serving are combat veterans. More than 16,000 of our men and women have served in the ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, peacekeeping duties in the Balkans and the Sinai Peninsula, and during emergency response missions in Iowa and across the country.

Through multiple combat deployments and domestic support missions, the men and women currently serving in the Iowa National Guard are among the most seasoned and experienced military professionals our state has ever fielded in the more than 170-year history of the Iowa National Guard. [...]

The demand for National Guard forces over the past two decades has required almost continuous use of Active, National Guard, and Reserve forces in order to meet the operational requirements of our armed forces. Our experience during this timeframe has validated the Total Force concept in support of our national security interests.

We are now at a point where current and projected demands for Army and Air Force assets will require continued access to the National Guard and Reserve forces, making very real what has been a policy for some time. This means that the mobilization and operational use of National Guard Soldiers, Airmen, and units will continue for the foreseeable future, despite ongoing reductions in U.S. forces overseas.

The National Guard of the 21st century will require a versatile mix of tailorable, modular and adaptable organizations, interdependently operating on a predictable, rotational deployment cycle. This new concept is what we call the Operational Force, which is part of the Department of Defense’s Total Force Policy.

Over this last year, the Iowa National Guard has remained a national leader in many categories, consistently ranking near the top among the 54 states and territories. The Iowa National Guard remains a national leader in personnel recruiting and retention. Both the Iowa Air and Army National Guard began fiscal year 2011 with over 100 percent of authorized strength. And our retention rates exceed national goals and are among the highest in the nation. We have been at, or exceeded, 100 percent strength every year since 2003 – a significant accomplishment considering that we have been at war as a nation with an all-volunteer force for nearly 10 years. [...]
Read the whole speech in its entirety here.

Read news summaries by the Des Moines Register's William Petroski here, or read and listen to Radio Iowa's coverage here.

1 comment:

  1. I have intel that the Oklahoma National Guard left Wed. for pre-deployment training. The 45th ID will replace the 34th. I dont want to start a forest fire, but you all do the math on there arrival time to send our troops home safe. Rangerpop.


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