Bureau Chief Testifies to Congress
General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the US National Guard Bureau, testified before Congress on 24 May that the Guard is intensifying efforts to train its five armoured brigade combat teams to meet the US Army’s aspiration to deploy them in the same manner as active combat units.
Lengyel revealed that the number of combat training centre rotations – either at the National Training Centre at Ft. Irwin, CA or the Joint Readiness Training Centre at Ft. Polk, LA – would double from two to four this year. This compares with an increased total of 15 rotations the regular Army will conduct. His testimony before the Defence Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee came just a day after the Army revealed its FY2018 budget request: at $137.2 billion, the request stands $3.9 billion above the 2017 figure as recently enacted.
Against a background of the annual number of training days for National Guard troops having been increased from 60 to 90, Lengyel acknowledged there is a retention issue and an employer education challenge too. “This is a leadership issue,” he told lawmakers, adding that personal engagement at every level of command from himself down to individual unit commanders was being carefully monitored for results. In the final analysis, however, his objective is to meet the Army’s requirement. “The plan is for the Army to use these forces and deploy them,” he stated unequivocally.