From the New York Times via Minneapolis Star Tribune:
WASHINGTON – Governors of both parties said Sunday that Bush administration policies were stripping the National Guard of equipment and personnel needed to respond to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, forest fires and other emergencies.
Tens of thousands of National Guard members have been sent to Iraq, along with much of the equipment needed to deal with natural disasters and terrorist threats in the United States, the governors said at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
The National Guard has a dual federal-state role. Governors normally command the Guard in their states, but Guard members deployed overseas in support of a federal mission are under the control of the president.
The governors, who were guests for dinner at the White House Sunday night, said they would present their concerns to President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today. In a preview of their message, all 50 governors signed a letter to the president opposing any cuts in the size of the National Guard.
“Unfortunately,” the letter said, “when our National Guard men and women return from being deployed in foreign theaters, much of their equipment remains behind.”
The governors said the White House must immediately reequip Guard units “to carry out their homeland security and domestic disaster duties.”
Well, it’s not like they’re needed at home or anything. After all, if we get hit with a flood or a tornado or a hurricane, there’s always FEMA.