Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin Commander and Chief Of Alaska's National Guard

Andrew Halcro once again is showing his lack of telling the whole story. He did it before on Troopergate and he is now doing on the Alaska National Guard in Alaska.

He is now coming across as an individual who has an axe to grind and his opinion comes across with bias. He now leaves himself open to the criticism that he is an individual with "sour grapes" because he thinks he was the better candidate and lost to Palin.

The story Halcro writes about is here:

However Palin's response to Gibson about putting government back on the side of the people seems to mean adopting a populist approach to foreign policy. What does that mean given that a recent CNN poll showed 64% of Americans opposed the war in Iraq?

And to address the qualifications that McCain touted about Palin; obviously being close to Russia doesn't translate into experience but commanding the Alaskan National Guard just might. So how is the ANG doing under Palin's watch?

According to a March 1, 2008 memo from Brig. Gen. Deborah McManus, "personnel strength levels continue to decline and is just slightly above 81%, the lowest in the nation, aggressive action must immediately be taken to correct this manpower problem. Missions are at risk."

The 81% figure he cites isn't correct, it is 84% and Halcro knows this. Why? It was cited in a CBS article that referenced Halcro's web site.
In a response also posted on Halcro's site, Campbell said that several officers have been promoted, due to what he called "not only high professional competence in their technical career field, but also an ability and understanding of the responsibilities necessary to hold the higher rank."
On the recruiting program, Campbell said he was focusing on these ranks so they would understand "their significant responsibility for improving the current manpower problem." He also said the Alaska Air Guard has only 84 percent of its assigned positions filled, the lowest rating in the country. There are only eight other states below 90 percent. Campbell said the 84 percent rating is higher than the 81 percent he reported in the March memo.

Now I am going to speak from what I know and that is the Alaska National Guard has always had a problems with recruitment and with 9-11, the role the Alaska Air National Guard has played in our national defense has grown.

In 1991, I left the active duty Air Force and joined the 210th and became a radio operator on the HC-130 with the 210th Rescue unit.

My enlistment with them was short because it is difficult to hold a full time job and fulfill training requirements and missions that took you to places like Kuwait and Turkey.

Other missions included relief efforts like Operation Pacific Angel in Cambodia. Thirty members of the 168th Security Forces Squadron had served at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since September 2007.

Task Force Raven was the aviation component of Operation Jump Start in Arizona,the two-year, presidentially-mandated mission aiding U.S. Customs and Border Protection in securing the U.S./Mexicoborder. The Alaska Air National Guard was involved with its helicopter unit.

Arguably, the federal government can be criticized for the requirements that have been placed on National Guard Units. Trying to find qualified applicants to fill active guard positions is difficult at best. Added to this, the National Guard is no longer considered a "weekend warrior" position. It has the connotation that if you enlist, you could be overseas for months and the Alaska National Guard has played that role.

Moreover, ask any retail employer to find an employee that passes a drug test or background test and they will tell you it is slim pickens. That is a fact.

The Alaska National Guard has always had a shortage of personnel, so Andrew's take is disingenuous at best.

Halcro also left out legislation that Palin signed that was an effort to help with retaining members.

House Bill 326,
Senate Bill 214

It wasn't much, but there isn't much you can do when you have trouble finding qualified people to enlist. That is the fact.

And last, if there is one thing Governor Palin has learned is the demands that are being placed on the National Guard units by the missions that the federal government has placed on them.

No comments: