To the Citizens of Minnesota:
In 2013, the Minnesota National Guard continued solidifying our role as an important part of state and national defense in this time of fiscal austerity. More than a decade of war has shaped the Minnesota Guard as an effective force, and our Soldiers and Airmen embrace the role of being “always ready” for our state and nation.
First and foremost, the National Guard is more cost effective when compared to active component forces. While our Soldiers and Airmen only train 39 days per year, we sustain readiness levels comparable to the active component that enable combatant commanders to call our forces for missions around the world at any time. Since 9/11, Minnesota National Guardsmen have deployed more than 26,000 times on behalf of the nation.
Next, we are an accessible and capable force to Minnesotans. Operating in 63 communities across the state, our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen represent our state’s diversity and demographics. As you have no doubt seen firsthand, when one of our hometown units goes to war, Minnesota goes to war with them. This can be seen in more than 250 “Yellow Ribbon Networks” across the state, as well as through the support of our tremendous employers. With so many prominent companies in Minnesota, this employer support is invaluable to the Department of Defense.
Third, when the National Guard is not on federal duty, our Service members and equipment remain in Minnesota as valuable assets available to local authorities. The National Guard leverages our federal military resources to assist local authorities during disasters or homeland security events. We provide the governor a unique ability to respond to events in Minnesota through trained manpower and ready equipment.
Finally, future threats to our nation will not subside. Our highly trained Civil Support Team and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package train routinely with local emergency management to ensure there will be a synchronized response in a future homeland security situation. The Minnesota National Guard trains with state and county agencies with our aviation, communication platforms and joint-use facilities to make sure we are prepared. Our combat-proven forces will provide our state the greatest capacity to respond to future threats in the most cost effective manner.
While the fiscal challenges facing the Department of Defense are great, I am convinced that the Minnesota National Guard can provide maximum effects while minimizing costs. The Minnesota National Guard looks forward to continuing to be of service to our state and nation in 2014.
Major General Richard C. Nash
Minnesota National Guard
The Adjutant General