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Minnesota National Guard
The Adjutant General answers questions about force structure

Minnesota National Guard Army force structure issues have been at the forefront of the discussion as military leadership decides what the future US military force will look like Maj. Gen. Richard C Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, and other National Guard leaders are focused on ensuring that the National Guard continues to function as a full partner in not only domestic response, but also in support of overseas operations as directed by the president

We spoke with Nash recently about the current state of the organization and how budget and personnel cuts could impact the Minnesota National Guard

Q: Why is it important to Minnesotans that the Minnesota National Guard maintain its current force structure?
We require sufficient Army and Air National Guard force structure and personnel to effectively respond to emergencies declared by our Governor, whether man-made or natural disaster or 'no notice' events working with our inter-agency partners We also need to not only meet the challenges in Minnesota but also have sufficient response capabilities to deploy alongside our neighboring states for regional or national requirements Finally, we have to retain sufficient equipment, trained Soldiers and Airmen to meet our federal mission at the call of the president for worldwide deployment that challenge our national interests or freedom of movement

Q: What would you hope to see the force structure of Minnesota National Guard look like in the future?
: I continue to fight and propose force structure in Minnesota that is balanced and can respond to the critical needs of our citizens that is modern, well-maintained and manned to the level we are organized We have deployed Soldiers and Airmen 26,000 times in the last 13 years supporting efforts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries around the globe We are now the best trained, equipped and led force our nation has ever experienced We are truly an accessible, available and interoperable operational force that is available to our service, government and president

Q: How would a significant cut in personnel affect the Minnesota National Guard's ability to respond to disasters?
We would end up with a less geographically-dispersed force due to the need to close facilities that support our communities and first responders when called upon We have Soldiers and Airmen living, working and serving from every zip code in Minnesota The very core of being a local Citizen-Soldier/Airmen would be at risk and we would lose our connection to the citizens we serve

Q: How has the Minnesota National Guard contributed to the nation's overall security in the last 12 years?
We have supported our Governor, first responders, local authorities and our community every time we have been asked and have completed every mission assigned We have been available and used for tornado aftermaths, floods, fires and severe winter weather We provide an extraordinary amount of planning and training in that area, working with state agencies and the Governor's office developing response plans and executing training and exercises with our partners

Q: What do Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard stand to lose if we can no longer support the training and equipping momentum we've worked toward in the last 12 years?
Soldiers and Airmen need sufficient, modern and technologically-advanced equipment in order to maintain the skills and talent required to operate effectively and efficiently We are a highly-trained and educated force that can employ our resources at a moment's notice in our homeland and equally capable of performing any mission when federalized by the President The record in Minnesota is clear: our Soldiers and Airmen have performed magnificently at home and abroad and accomplished every mission with honor and success We are very proud and grateful to our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, their families and employers Minnesota and our nation could not be better served Always Ready, Always There

March 24, 2014
by Sgt John Angelo
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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