U.S. Military Not Ready?

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
January 31, 2008 NBC Nightly News, 7:00 PM
BRIAN WILLIAMS: The U.S. military is apparently not prepared to defend the United States from attack within the United States. It’s a devastating statement and it comes from the men and women put together as a commission by Congress to study the National Guard and Reserves and the U.S. Northern Command put together after 9/11 to oversee it all.
The retired U.S. Marine colonel in charge of this group said today, quote, “You couldn’t move a Girl Scout unit with the kind of planning they’re doing.” It’s where we begin tonight at the Pentagon with correspondent Jim Miklaszewski.
Jim, good evening.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: Good evening, Brian. Since 9/11, more than 600,000 Guard and Reserve forces have fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but today’s report warns they’re nowhere near fully capable of defending the homeland.
With the U.S. military still locked in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, today’s 400-page report from a congressional commission warns that the U.S. National Guard and Reserves are not prepared to respond to a catastrophic chemical, biological, or nuclear attack here at home. And the report calls it an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk.
ARNOLD PUNARO [Commission Co-Chair]:In this business, with the kinds of threats that we face, you’re either ready or you aren’t, and we currently are not ready.
MIKLASZEWSKI: After the attacks on 9/11, the Pentagon created Northern Command to focus more on defense of the U.S., but the commission claims the Pentagon has not committed enough time, money, and planning for WMD attacks.
MICHAEL O’HANLON [Military Analyst]:There’s no doubt the National Guard, like the rest of the military, has been focused first and foremost on the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and that we are worrying more about playing offense than playing defense.
MIKLASZEWSKI: The problem is repeated deployments to the wars overseas have overly stretched the U.S. military. Eighty-eight percent of National Guard forces are rated not ready for service. In addition, much of the Guard’s equipment was destroyed or still remains in Iraq, and the Guard has not been given enough money to replace it all.
GEN BARRY MCCAFFREY [U.S. Army (Ret.)]: We use the National Guard clearly in a role for which it was neither designed nor prepared as a full-time combat force. Many of these Guard brigades are on their second involuntary year-long combat deployment.
MIKLASZEWSKI: The commission recommends that the Pentagon upgrade and transform the Guard and Reserve into a more active force, with increased capabilities and funding. But that’s going to take a lot of time and even more money, so in the meantime experts recommend that the Pentagon and Congress just has to fully fund and fix the Guard forces we already have. Brian?
WILLIAMS: Jim Miklaszewski leading us off from the Pentagon tonight. Jim, thanks as always.