|Guard Bureau Chief Speaks at Homeland Security Conference|
Guard Bureau Chief Speaks at Homeland Security Conference
By Rudi Williams, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) February 28, 2002 -- Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell C. Davistold top industry and government conferees how the National Guard can communicate better with federal, state and local officials and help improve homeland security.
Davis, chief of the National Guard Bureau, was among several high-ranking industry and government speakers at a homeland security conference here.
The conference, sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, addressed the lessons learned from September 11th and its aftermath. Participants discussed what steps have been taken to organize, protect, secure and reconstitute the information infrastructure. They also shared information on new requirements and ways to address shortfalls.
The conference also highlighted the new security challenges facing the information technology community and identified technology solutions, as well as the resources needed.
Davis told the gathering that there are three duty statuses under which guardsmen perform their duty, which national leaders can put to use, depending on the mission.
The first status is state active duty, under which guardsmen remain under the control of, and fares paid by the state governor. "This is the type of duty in which you usually see guardsmen responding to natural disasters," Davis explained. "The average state has about six call-ups of this nature each year."
Guardsmen worked under this status in support of the World Trade Center attack aftermath, with the federal government reimbursing the state's costs, he said.
The second status is Title 32, under which guardsmen performs monthly weekend training and annual two-week training. The guardsmen remain under the control of the state governor, but are paid and equipped by the federal government.
"Guardsmen operating in this status are not subject to the restrictions of the posse comitatus law that typically prohibits military personnel from doing law enforcement duties," Davis said.
He said the National Guard has had "tremendous success in the war on drugs" by helping law enforcement conduct counterdrug operations.
"Under Title 32, there is tremendous state and federal potential as a tool for the war on terrorism, too," Davis said. "This is illustrated by the fact that we have been able to successfully execute our airport security mission in Title 32 status as well."
The third status is Title X, under which a National Guardsman is mobilized, goes overseas, and performs a federal wartime mission, the general noted.
"When placed on full-time Title X duty, the National Guardsman becomes a full-time member of the active duty Army or Air Force," Davis pointed out. "This dual state and federal status provides the nation with a very flexible force for homeland security."
Today, guardsmen are on duty in each status, he said. The Army and Air Force have mobilized more than 26,000 guardsmen under Title X to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle.
Noble Eagle is the official name given to the U.S. military operations associated with homeland defense and support to federal, state and local agencies in the United States. More than 80 percent of the aircrews flying more than 120 Air Force fighters in Noble Eagle combat patrols are Air National Guardsmen.
Operation Enduring Freedom is the code name for the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.
"We have more than 7,000 people providing security at airports and another 2,200 providing security at National Guard facilities under Title 32," Davis said. "We also operated under this status to provide more than 4,000 guardsmen from 23 different states to bolster security at the Winter Olympic Games. There were more American soldiers in Salt Lake City than there are in Afghanistan."
Governors are using guardsmen for homeland security missions, too, Davis noted. "They currently have about 1,500 people on duty in various states providing security at nuclear power plants, ports, bridges and other potential targets."
He noted there's a National Guard armory in nearly every hometown in America. "We expect our long experience and demonstrated ability to serve as a channel of communication between the federal government and the states provides a strong basis upon which to build stronger homeland security in the future," Davis said.
The general said the Guard's Distributive Technology Training Project enhances communications connection between the National Guard and civilian governments. He noted that the system of 300 classrooms across the nation allows information in a variety of media – audio, video and data – to flow to multiple locations at the same time.
"In addition to training, this system has also been successfully used to augment our operational command and control needs from time to time," Davis said. "Most recently it filled a critical need in support of the World Trade Center and the Olympics.
"We see some real potential for this system to compliment the nation's abilities in homeland security," he said.