National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel cautioned against a federal National Guard activation as the Trump administration considers the move to continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think you can get everything you need from the National Guard more efficiently and more effectively if you leave them in a state status,” the Air Force general said at a news conference Thursday, according to Air Force Magazine.
As of Saturday morning, governors across 28 states had mobilized components of the Army and Air National Guard, according to the Military Times.
However, Lengyel said it “would not make sense in this situation” for President Donald Trump to call for federal activation of the National Guard.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has not committed to federal activation at this time.
“As we get requests in, we will look at activating, if we need to, at the federal level or using the reserves, whatever the case may be,” Esper said at a news conference Tuesday, the Military Times reported.
“We want to be very supportive with regard to our prioritization in terms of supporting the American people and the governors.”
This would mean the guardsmen could be deployed to another state and that deployment would be funded by the federal government, which would “cost billions and billions and billions of dollars,” according to Lengyel.
“There is no need right now to have 450,000 guardsmen on duty in any given state,” he said, according to Air Force Magazine.
“As states need the National Guard to react to this kind of pandemic, governors have the authority to bring them on active duty, as there are tasks and purpose for them to be used.”
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