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INsight & Perspective

Process | Discipline | Expertise


The National Guard: Cost Efficient Capability

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 46,500 National Guardsmen were on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight – even as the active duty military and other federal agencies struggled to find relevance. The National Guard is a cost-efficient military force serving both federal and state missions with strong bi-partisan political support. Guard units train to the same military standards as their active counterparts and serve with distinction around the globe. At the same time, Guardsmen have supported over 200 state and local missions since 2016. The COVID-19 crisis once again demonstrated America’s needs for a strong, well equipped, and capable National Guard.

To ensure the Guard is properly equipped, Congress supports the National Guard with NGREA (National Guard & Reserve Equipment Appropriation) funding. Federal law requires the Guard to use NGREA for cost-efficient, off the shelf solutions.  The funds are the Guard’s primary funding source for the modernization of legacy weapons and equipment for Guard specific missions – including state taskings, delivering capabilities to Governors that would otherwise be unavailable. These capabilities have proven invaluable during domestic emergencies including the ongoing COVID-19 response. Examples of these capabilities include:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Deployable Hospitals
  • Command and Control
  • Airborne Firefighting
  • Security
  • Cyber Defense
  • Search & Rescue
Guardsmen stand ready to defend their nation, state, and communities for a fraction of the cost of their active duty counterparts. The efficiencies of NGREA funding are only one facet of these savings. Other key data points to consider:

  • $58,460 – The average annual cost savings in pay and benefits of a Guardsmen compared to active duty member
  • $12 Billion – The savings in military construction realized through using shared municipal facilities/bases
  • 9% – The percent of the annual DoD budget allocated to the reserve components… Which supply 40% of DoD’s operational capability
Compared to large scale DoD weapons programs, the Guard enjoys strong political support across the spectrum for a range of reasons, many of which are linked directly to the nation’s long-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Local Jobs
  • Technology Insertion
  • Training and Education
  • Community Anchor
  • Shared Infrastructure
  • Emergency Response
  • Hometown Basing
Download the analysis here.

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