Overuse and abuse of the National Guard and Reserves. According to a report by an independent commission on the National Guard and Reserves released January 31, 2008, more than 88% of these units were not combat ready or prepared to deal with a catastrophic attack on the country. They had an equipment shortfall in 2007 of $48 billion. In more than half the states, they had less than half the equipment they needed. A lot of equipment is in Iraq intact, worn out, or destroyed there.
One recommendation was to place active duty troops directly under the authority of governors in an emergency, which would almost certainly be a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
National Guard and Reserve troops have been used extensively in Iraq. This was not what they were really envisioned to do, or what many of them had signed on to do. They often lacked adequate training and equipment. On the other hand, they were cheaper than active duty Army soldiers and were essential to Bush’s strategy of keeping large numbers of troops deployed in Iraq.
One sign of just how dismissively the National Guard has been treated is the following. In a story reported October 3, 2007, the Pentagon wrote orders for 1,162 members of the Minnesota National Guard (who served 22 months in Iraq, the longest tour of any ground unit there) for 729 days in order to avoid giving them GI Bill education benefits which they would have been entitled to if they had served one single day more.