The Magazine of the NJ National Guard
volume 32 number 1

Guardlife Index

TAG'S Message - Transformation and Future Missions
By Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General - New Jersey
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Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth (left) watches as Governor Jon S. Corzine (center) and an aide prepare for the Inauguration. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.
The last issue of Guardlife addressed how transformation would affect the individual Soldiers of the New Jersey Army National Guard. In this issue, I think it's important to discuss how transformation will affect the organization overall, so that you understand the entire concept.

By definition the word Transformation means change. Change is not always welcome and is often resisted. You've heard clichés such as 'Change is Good' or you may have seen ad slogans that state 'We are changing for the better'. Many of New Jersey's Soldiers have lived through change before, with the deactivation of the 50th Armored Division. This was a difficult time in our history, but ultimately we came through the change and emerged into a stronger, better force.

I believe that the changes that the Army's transformation will bring to the Garden State will not weaken our structure, but instead we must work to right size the force, to strengthen the overall Guard.

To explain the changes in the most straightforward terms, the National Guard will continue to move from our former role as a Strategic Reserve to a more modern Operational Force. The Guard has evolved into a force that will be a full-partner with the Active Component and the Army Reserve. We will be organized and will deploy exactly as the Active Component does. Our units will be tasked-organized in such a way that we will be able to deploy more rapidly and we will be more self-sustaining. Transformation will bring a broader force structure and additional military occupational skills to the state. This will help us to be better equipped and trained to secure and defend New Jersey - which is the core competency of the National Guard. By design, the Guard has both a federal and a state mission. We are required to provide combat ready, mission capable forces across the entire spectrum of operations, if and when called upon by the President. What makes us unique is our state mission. We provide military support to civil authorities and we respond to state emergencies and natural disasters when ordered to do so by the Governor.

It's true that we will lose combat arms positions and equipment, but in turn we will increase our combat service and combat service support units, along with the equipment needed to support the new units and their missions. Ultimately we will be trading treads for wheels, as we lose the last of our armor assets. But we will gain additional transportation assets that will be more conducive to today's force structure and missions. Some of our current "tankers" will be given the opportunity to reclassify and become trained in skills such as engineering, water purification or military police.

Many of our field artillery Soldiers have already retrained as military police and served in the European Theater of Operations. They will have the opportunity to use these new skills in the MP companies or the Law and Order Detachment that are part of the transformation. In addition to being a much-needed skill in the Active Component and in the Southwest Asia area of operation, this skill will be an asset to the state and the Governor in terms of Homeland Security.

Upon completion of the transformation in FY08, New Jersey's homeland security assets will include highly trained personnel with military equipment suited for today's mission as well as future missions. These changes will further enhance our working relationship with the New Jersey State Police as well as other state and federal agencies. New Jersey is not alone in this change, as transformation will affect nearly three-quarters of the National Guard nationwide. The Guard will be more modular and better prepared to support the state and nation.

Although we lose armor, infantry, field artillery and signal skills, the new units and skills we adopt will help our team to grow professionally both in and out of uniform. They say 'Change is inevitable'. I believe it is necessary. In the ongoing Global War on Terrorism, the changes we experience today will make the state of New Jersey and its citizens safer and more secure for the future.
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs