View Full Version : Pentagon Rejects Post-Katrina Command Plan

05-17-2007, 09:40 PM
Pentagon rejects post-Katrina command plan


Published: May 16, 2007 at 5:47 PM

WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has rejected a post-Katrina proposal that would put all federal National Guard troops under the command of a state governor in times of crisis.

The proposal came from the Commission on the National Guard and Reserve, and sought to address a conflict that arose in Louisiana in 2005 as the state struggled with the flooding disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina.

In the week that followed the hurricane, the White House pressured Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to "dual-hat" National Guard troops, putting them both under the command of an active-duty general who reports to the president, while at the same time keeping her command. On the advice of the National Guard chief who warned officers could be caught in the cross fire if there were conflicting orders from her office and the White House, she refused.

The White House vowed thereafter to seek the authority to seize control of state Guard forces at its own discretion in times of crisis.

The commission, created by Congress, recommended the opposite: expanding gubernatorial authority in times of crisis.

"We do not agree with that," said Thomas Hall, the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. "The secretary did not agree because this is a matter of governance. It is his belief ... that the commander in chief, the president, should determine who best commands forces in any situation, either active duty, National Guard or Reserve."

The Pentagon rejected two other proposals: separating the National Guard bureau from the Army and Air Force to give it a greater voice in command decisions, and to designate the position of deputy NORTHCOM commander a set-aside for the National Guard.

It accepted 20 of the recommendations, a fact Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress last week.