Background Info

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Background Info

History of the National Guard

The Army National Guard (ARNG) is one branch of The Army (which consists of the Active Army, the A

rmy National Guard and the Army Reserves.) The Army National Guard is composed primarily of tradit

ional Guardsmen — civilians who serve their country, state and community on a part-time basis (us

ually one weekend each month and two weeks during the summer.) Each state, territory, and the Dist

rict of Columbia has its own National Guard, as provided for by the Constitution of the United Sta


The National Guard has a unique dual mission that consists

of both

Federal and

State roles. For state missions, the governor, through the state Adjutant General, commands Guard forces. Th

e governor can call the National Guard into action during local or statewide emergencies, such as storms, fires,

earthquakes, or civil disturbances. In addition, the President of the United States can activate the National Gua

rd for participation in federal missions. Examples of federal activations include Guard units deployed to Bo

snia and Kosovo for stabilization operations and units deployed to the Middle East and other locations in the war

on terrorism. When federalized, Guard units are commanded by the Commander-in-Chief (CinC) of the theatre in whi

ch they are operating.

The National Guard Bureau (NGB) was formed to assist the 54 states and territories to procure funding, administer

policies, and act as a liaison between the Departments of the Army and Air Force and the states.

The NGB is a joint bureau of the Departments of the Army and Air Force and functions in both staff and operatin

g capacity for each component. The NGB administers the federal functions of the Army National Guard (ARNG) and

Air National Guard (ANG). The senior leader at NGB is the Chief, National Guard Bureau, usually a Lieutenant Ge


The Army and Air National Guard are led by their own

Director, who is selected by the Secretary of the Army (for the DARNG) or the

Secretary of the Air Force (for the DANG). Both Directors report to the Chief of

the NGB. Full time staffs support both the Chief and the