We echo National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson’s respectful concerns over extending the National Guard security mission at the U.S. Capitol for another two months.
As Gen. Hokanson stated in his memo earlier this month to senior Pentagon leaders, Guard officials had difficulty finding enough volunteers to continue the mission. This is not due to a reluctance to serve. Not hardly.
Rather, it is a reflection of the continuing demands of training and missions back in the states on a predominantly part-time force that must always balance military duties with civilian employers and families. It is also increasingly difficult to convince Guard soldiers and airmen that their continued presence at the Capitol is warranted.
The last year has seen unprecedented demand on the Guard to respond to an unanticipated series of domestic disasters. We are proud of the confidence the nation has placed in us in this time of great need. And we continue to hear how grateful our soldiers and airmen are for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their fellow Americans.
Meanwhile, the same force continues to train for and serve overseas as the primary combat reserve of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.
National Guard soldiers and airmen here in Washington need to return home to their families, civilian employers and regular military obligations. They have completed their mission. They have made us all proud.
It’s time for local law enforcement to take it from here.
Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire is the National Guard Association of the United States chairman and current adjutant general of Arizona and the director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. Retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson is the NGAUS president.