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Thought for the Week...

No matter how big your house is, how recent your car is, or how big your bank account is.  Our graves will always be the same size.  Stay humble.

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Pentagon charts its own course on COVID-19, risking Trump's ire

The Pentagon is actively planning on living with the coronavirus well into 2021, putting it at risk...
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Celebrating

This month we choose to celebrate the support of the U.S. military to the ongoing pandemic and in particular the many different types of support being provided by the National Guard. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing response in the United States is unprecedented. Because of the scope of the crisis, there’s not a perfect historical example for comparison. In some recent domestic disaster responses, like the Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy responses, the affected area was limited to a few states. With COVID-19, every state is dealing with its own portion of the crisis. For this reason, and a variety of others, the National Guard remains best postured to support civil authorities.

The National Guard’s flexibility allows for the state and local leaders to tailor a response that is effective while protecting the rights of the citizens. Some states may use transportation assets in the Air National Guard to move bulk supplies; others might employ Guard medics to help run medical screening sites. Yet other states may employ their Guardsmen to conduct distribution of food and water to areas where at-risk individuals cannot venture out of their homes.

There have been approximately 15,000 National Guard troops deployed in all fifty states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. These units are all under the command and control of their individual states. Those numbers are likely to increase as states become more reliant on National Guard assets to meet a variety of needs. It is highly unlikely that a state would activate their National Guard to enforce a mandatory quarantine. With food and basic needs supply chains still functioning, that scenario just doesn’t make sense for this type of response. And it’s almost impossible under the Posse Comitatus Act for the federal government to do so, making that scenario even more unlikely.

A decision point for many states (or the National Guard Bureau) may be if or when to transition those responding units from a SAD status to Title 32 full-time status, like those in eight states and two territories currently. Key factors for this decision are the continued assessment of the length of time National Guard units are required and federal resources involved in the response, and the potential impacts on longer-term recovery. In most cases, state authorities seek to remove external support as quickly as possible once a local area can function without the need of state or federal resources.

Moving forward, we can expect that military units (almost exclusively National Guard) continue to be required to support the increased logistics and medical needs of each state. We can also expect that the military response in each state will continue to be led at the lowest level and will remain under the authority of state leadership. Whatever the military support requirements look like for each state, those units are there to provide surge support to civil authorities so the community can return to normal as quickly as possible.

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