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Guard to Align With Army; Better Training on the Way.

National Guard combat divisions are going to need better training if they are to play a more prominent role in future U.S. defense operations, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki.

The chief unveiled his plan to align eight Guard combat units with Army active-duty forces, at the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) annual conference, which took place in September, in Atlantic City, N.J. This means that the combat units will have a redefined set of missions and training requirements.

The combat divisions will be aligned with four Army corps:

* The 1st Corps, at Fort Lewis, Wash., will align with the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard.

* The 3rd Corps, based in Fort Hood, Texas, will consist of three National Guard divisions-the 49th Armored of Texas, the 34th Infantry of Minnesota and the 38th Infantry of Indiana.

* The 5th Corps will consist of the active-duty 1st Infantry Division and 1st Armored Division, at Fort Riley, Kan., and the 35th Infantry Division of the Kansas National Guard. Also joining the corps will be the 256th Infantry Brigade of the Louisiana National Guard and the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the Tennessee National Guard. The 5th Corps is stationed in Heidelberg, Germany.

* The 29th Infantry Division of the Maryland and Virginia National Guard will join forces with the 18th Airborne Corps, at Fort Bragg, N.C. Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Guard Division and New York's 42nd Infantry Guard Division also join the corps.

"Those alignments are intended to bring us to the level of readiness we always talked about getting to," said Shinseki, "and this is our commitment to get there. We will all be expected to respond to missions and operational requirements that span the entire spectrum of operations."

These changes come at a rime when leaders have been unclear as to what role the Guard plays in national security, during peacetime. The alignments could mean that Guard units will take part in peacekeeping missions.

The Army National Guard makes up 34 percent of the Army, with more than 350,400 men and women. Its budget is $8 billion, or 10 percent of the entire Army budget. The Air National Guard is comprised of more than 106,600 personnel, or 25 percent of the Air Force. Its annual budget is around $6 billion, or 7 percent of the Air Force budget.

President Clinton, for fiscal year 2001, approved $15.2 billion for the collective National Guard--$8.8 billion for Army and $6.1 billion for Air. The Army Guard will designate $140 million for aircraft modernization.

Shinseki spoke about the Army's need to modernize its helicopter fleet. The National Guard is supposed to receive 122 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 68 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from active Army forces in 2002, to replace the aging UH-1 Hueys. Shinseki wants these helicopters to be delivered to the Guard sooner.

"We're looking to accelerate cascading of helicopters," said Shinseki. "I think the [projected] figures [for fiscal year 2002 show that] 122 UH-60s and about 68 attack helicopters, Apaches, are going to be cascaded to Guard units.

"We're trying to accelerate that, because we want to get the readiness of our formations up. UH-1s and AH-1s are great. They've been great aircraft. They have served us well in the 35 years I've been in the Army. But if you were to ask me, 'are we going to deploy that in a warfight?' I don't think so. Not unless there was a dire emergency, and we were throwing everything we had, including the Washington police force into the fray. I don' think so. So if we're not, then let's start training on the things that will count."

Shinseki said better training must start at the top. The lines separating active and reserve training are disappearing, he said, as commanders at both levels receive improved training. As Guard units take a more active role, they need to be trained in an active-duty manner, he said. In fact, a Guardsman presides over one of Army's interim combat brigades.

"You all know that we have a growing exchange program where active and reserve component commanders share the experience across the lines that used to divide us as components," Shinseki told the conference. "Why? Because we need to know more about each other and be able to explain to the rest of the component what it's like, what are the challenges, what we need to be sensitive to.

"In fact, we have a Guardsman command one of the interim battalions in the first interim brigade combat team [at Fort Lewis]. Ernie Aldino is commanding one of those units today. And this is not a check block. The intent here is not to just be able to say Ernie Aldino commands a battalion there, but as we look at these interim brigade combat teams, one of those brigades--at least one--is going to be a guard formation."

Shinseki said that Guard leaders need to be trained ahead of time, so that they are prepared when their equipment arrives. The Army chief reiterated his highly touted vision of having an objective force of lighter, more lethal and more agile units. He believes that Army now will be able to achieve this in the 2008-2010 timeframe.

"And what we need to understand is, start training the leadership here, so that when that happens, we don't hand you a set of equipment and then begin the process of training the leadership. And this will give us a vehicle by which Ernie can begin to inform all the rest of us what challenges are going to be there, when we go to a Guard formation as an interim brigade combat team--one of these early-deploying, off-the-shelf capabilities that is going to help us bridge the gap. But more importantly, when that objective force arrives in the year 2008, 2010, that we have spent the time training a set of leaders to accomplish that."

Vehicle Sims on Display at Guard Exhibition

As the National Guard gains a more active role in U.S. military posture, officials are seeking new technology to modernize its equipment. Guard units must train on a level equivalent to that of their active-duty brethren, officials acknowledged. And that means having access to up-to-date technology.

Suppliers were hard pressed for floor space at the 2000 National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) Conference, in Atlantic City, N.J. Everything from life-size helicopters and armored vehicles to crackers one would find in a soldier's MRE (meals ready-to-eat) were on display, at the conference. There also were several simulation and training systems available for demonstration, including the following two military vehicle simulators.

* I-Sim Corporation, of Salt Lake City, offers the MVS (Military Vehicle Simulator) driver training simulator. This system is an open-seat driver station that offers the outside view from inside a military vehicle, such as a humvee. The simulator incorporates high-tech graphics and automotive expertise to provide a realistic training environment, according to company officials. "This won't necessarily make [soldiers] better drivers," said Darren A. Somsen, I-Sim marketing programs manager. "But it will help them make better [driving] judgments."

I-Sim is a part of the TRW team building the $40 billion National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) program for the Department of Transportation.

* The Raydon Corporation, of Daytona Beach, Fla., brought to bear AFIST (Abrams Full-crew Interactive Simulation Trainer) XXI, a training system for M1A1 Abrams tank crews. This system turns the tank, itself, into a training environment. "By engaging the students in the full operational capacity of the ballistics computer, the commanders panel and the GPS [global positioning system], the student completes the training better equipped to operate all the components of the tank," according to company literature. AFIST XXI runs on PC-based open architecture, commercial off-the-shelf hardware, and interoperable terrain databases and training matrices.

The Army and National Guard will conduct all of their MlAl tank operational training using this system, officials said.
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Author:Kutner, Joshua A.
Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2000
Words:1329
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