During a prime-time address tonight, President Bush will “outline immigration reform proposals,” including a controversial plan to deploy several thousand National Guard troops to the US/Mexican border.
Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America a few minutes ago, White House Counselor Dan Bartlett was asked about concerns that the National Guard was under strain:
GIBSON: So you reject the argument that some Republicans made yesterday that the Guard is already stretched too thin?
BARTLETT: Well, absolutely.
Here are the facts about the state of the National Guard:
– 352 National Guard soldiers have died in Iraq.
– The National Guard Bureau estimated that “nondeployed units had only about 34 percent of their essential warfighting equipment as of July 2005.”
– The Army National Guard “reported that it had less than 5 percent of the required amount of more than…220 critical items.”
– In response to equipment shortages, governors from all 50 states called for the White House to better equip the National Guard so they can “carry out their homeland security and domestic disaster duties.”
– In April, both the Army Reserve and Army National Guard missed their recruiting goals “amid persistent concern among potential recruits over the Iraq war.”
– With hurricane season quickly approaching, the National Guard will have “more troops at home than last year but with less equipment to handle emergencies.”