National Guard Personnel and Deployments: Fact Sheet

The National Guard plays a major role in the defense and security of the United States under the federal component of its mission. A January 2008 report by the congressionally chartered independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves has found that the U.S. military's lack of "sufficiently trained, ready forces available" to respond to possible domestic attacks "is an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk." The report estimated that fewer than 88% of Army National Guard units are "combat-ready." This report presents statistical information on the National Guard's federal role in defense and security, including its deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation Jump Start.

Order Code RS22451 Updated May 1, 2008 National Guard Personnel and Deployments: Fact Sheet Michael Waterhouse and JoAnne O’Bryant Information Research Specialists Knowledge Services Group Summary The National Guard plays a major role in the defense and security of the United States under the federal component of its mission. Due in part to the military reserve component’s increasing responsibilities and duties since 2001, a January 2008 report by the congressionally chartered independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves has found that the U.S. military’s lack of “sufficiently trained, ready forces available” to respond to possible domestic attacks “is an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk.” The report estimated that fewer than 88% of Army National Guard units are “combat-ready.” The large deployment of National Guard personnel (currently more than 28,000) and equipment deployed in what the Bush Administration terms the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) factors heavily into this situation, according to the report. Additionally, as of April 10, 2008, 2,887 National Guard forces were deployed to the southern border region of the United States to assist in border security and the interdiction of illegal aliens as part of the 2006 authorized Operation Jump Start. This report presents statistical information on the National Guard’s federal role in defense and security, including its deployments in support of GWOT, OIF, and Operation Jump Start. Introduction The National Guard plays a major role in the defense and security of the United States. Traditionally, the Guard has been both a domestic state-level security force and a major federal component of U.S. combat power for overseas operations. Since 2001, it has become an integral force in what the Bush Administration terms the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). More recently, the National Guard has been deployed under Operation Jump Start (OJS) on the southern border region of the United States to assist in interdicting illegal aliens crossing the border into the country. CRS-2 A final report was issued in January 2008 by the congressionally chartered Commission on the National Guard and Reserves that examined and proposed recommendations on the readiness of reserve component units, including the National Guard.1 The report disclosed that the U.S. military’s lack of “sufficiently trained, ready forces available” to respond to possible domestic attacks “is an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk.” The report estimated that fewer than 88% of Army National Guard units are “combat-ready,” based largely on the ongoing overseas commitments and missions of the National Guard, participating in the war in Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism. In response to the report, U.S. Air Force General Gene Renuart, chief of U.S. Northern Command, denied a lack of readiness, stating “[t]he capability for the Defense Department to respond to a chemical, biological event exists now” though he acknowledged, “[i]t, today, is not as robust as we would like because of the demand on the forces that we’ve placed across the country.” 2 Selected statistics on the force levels of the National Guard within the mix of U.S. military forces deployed in the major warfighting and national security ongoing operational missions are presented below. Information was developed and provided from official sources within the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Guard Bureau. Force levels for Iraq and Afghanistan are provided in rounded estimates only, as specific personnel levels are classified. Selected U.S. National Guard Statistics Table 1. National Guard Strength (as of 4/16/08) Army National Guard 357,053 Air National Guard 106,031 Total Strength 463,084 Source: National Guard Bureau, April 16, 2008. 1 Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, Transforming the National Guard and Reserves into a 21st-Century Operational Force, Final Report, January 31, 2008. [http://www.cngr.gov/Final%20Report/CNGR_final%20report%20with%20cover.pdf]. 2 Lolita C. Baldor, “U.S. Military Not Adequately Prepared for Homeland Attack, Report Says,” Associated Press, February 1, 2008. CRS-3 Table 2. Current Major National Guard Deployments (as of 4/01/08) In Iraq — Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Army National Guard 16,900 16,000 Air National Guard 900 In Afghanistan — Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Army National Guard 5,800 5,400 Air National Guard 400 In the United States — Operation Jump Start (OJS) as of 1/04/08 Army National Guard 2,887 2,415 Air National Guard 472 Source: Department of Defense, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Affairs; April 28, 2008; and National Guard Bureau, Public Affairs, April 16, 2008. Total National Guard Personnel Ever Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, September 2001 - February 29, 2008 261,260 Source: Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Legislative Affairs, April 2008. CRS-4 National Guard and Reserves in Iraq The percentages of National Guard and Reserves troops in Iraq who were deployed as of April 1, 2008, are shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. Composition of U.S. Forces in Iraq by Component 83% 10% 7% Active Component Reserves National Guard Source: Percentage calculations by CRS. Data from Department of Defense, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Affairs, April 28, 2008. Table 3. Reserve and Active Component Forces in Iraq Reserve Component 27,900 National Guard 16,900 Army National Guard Air National Guard Reserves 16,000 900 11,000 Army Reserve 5,400 Air Force Reserve 1,000 Navy Reserve 1,300 Marine Reserve 3,300 Active Component Army 134,500 97,000 Air Force 9,000 Navy 5,500 Marines 23,000 Source: Data from Department of Defense, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Affairs, April 28, 2008. CRS-5 National Guard and Reserves in Afghanistan The percentages of National Guard and Reserves troops in Afghanistan who are currently deployed as of April 1, 2008, are shown in Figure 2. Figure 2. Composition of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan by Component 76% 6% 18% Active Component Reserves National Guard Source: Percentage calculations by CRS. Data from Department of Defense, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Affairs, April 28, 2008. Table 4. Reserve and Active Component Forces in Afghanistan Reserve Component 7,800 National Guard 5,800 Army National Guard Air National Guard Reserves Army Reserve 5,400 400 2,000 1,300 Air Force Reserve 300 Navy Reserve 400 Marine Reserve Active Component Army 0 25,200 17,700 Air Force 3,200 Navy 1,500 Marines 2,800 Source: Data from Department of Defense, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Affairs, April 28, 2008. CRS-6 Total U.S. Forces Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, September 2001 - February 29, 2008 Between September 2001 and February 29, 2008 a total of 261,260 National Guard, 207,331 Reserves, and1,229,308 Active Component personnel have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, as shown in Figure 3. Figure 3. Deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-2008 1,229,308 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 261,260 207,331 200,000 0 National Guard Reserves Active Component Source: Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Legislative Affairs, April 2008.