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The National Guard Citizen-soldier

Mark P. Meyer, Colonel, ANG
1996, 38 pages
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Cost: $0, AU Press Code: MP-6

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It is my distinct pleasure to sign the foreword to the first Air War College paper to win the General Ronald R. Fogleman Award. As we move into the next century we must appreciate the fact that the United States is a militia nation, and the large standing military of the last 50 years is an aberration. The significance of the militia nation culture cannot be underestimated, and it must be ingrained into the force designers and force maintainers of the future as tomorrow’s Air Force continues to play an important role in supporting our national security policy. In "The National Guard Citizen-Soldier," Col Mark P. Meyer provides an excellent examination of the linkage between responsible national security policy and the will of the people. He argues that for our democratic government to act responsibly, it is imperative that national policy reflects the will of the people. It is especially important when the policy involves the use of the armed forces. In the United States, the National Guard and its citizen-soldiers are an essential part of the linkage. Without the existence and use of the National Guard, the nation treads dangerously toward inconsistency between the will of the people and national security policy. Colonel Meyer builds his case on the assumption that National Guardsmen contribute to the legitimacy of the military’s role as protector of the country. Citizen-soldiers provide a unifying bond between liberal democratic society and the authoritarian hierarchy of the armed forces. Nevertheless, to make the citizen-soldier role work, employers, coworkers, and indeed families must all be supportive. Laws have been necessary to protect guards men’s reemployment rights. Born in the Nixon administration, the total force policy has finally achieved a very effective blending of Guard, Reserve, and active duty elements. American performance in the Gulf War proved it. An understanding of the principles addressed by Colonel Meyer in this paper will serve the reader well and will assure that the United States future armed forces will continue to have the support of the people of our great nation.

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