As Deployments to Iraq Strain National Guard, Senate Passes Menendez Amendment Calling for Necessary Equipment for Guard to Protect Homeland

As Deployments to Iraq Strain National Guard, Senate Passes Menendez Amendment Calling for Necessary Equipment for Guard to Protect Homeland

A 2007 National Guard Bureau report showed shortfalls of up to $4 billion for emergency readiness equipment

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) successfully attached an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill, which gained final passage in the Senate today, that calls for sufficient equipment for the Army and Air National Guard to achieve their missions inside the United States and to protect the homeland. The amendment was introduced in response to the growing concern over the depletion of the National Guard because of deployments to Iraq and the need to adequately respond to domestic emergencies.

"From natural disasters to man-made disasters, threats against our hometowns certainly have not diminished since the beginning of the Iraq War, nor has the need for the National Guard here at home," said Menendez. "The reported four billion dollar shortfall in funding for equipment seriously hampers our ability to deal with tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires and the terrorist threat that our nation faces. This amendment is also a reminder that, just as we talk about supporting our troops on missions abroad, we must also support them here at home"

In February 2007, the National Guard Bureau released a report entitled "National Guard Equipment Requirements," which detailed the "Essential 10" equipment needs to support domestic missions. The shortfalls in equipment total $4 billion, and they cover areas including logistics, security, transportation, communications, medical, engineering, aviation, maintenance, civil support teams and force protection, and joint force headquarters and command and control. Without the proper equipment, the National Guard will not be able to respond as quickly and effectively in missions here at home.

###