About the National Guard

The Army National Guard is one of three components of the U.S. Army. The National Guard consists of both Army National Guard and Air National Guard components. The other two consist of the Active Army and the Army Reserves. The Army National Guard has been an indispensable part of America's defense network for over 366 years. It is a direct reflection of the American's spirit and declaration to Live Free or Die.

The National Guard has a unique dual mission that consists of both Federal and State roles. The President of the United States can activate the National Guard for participation in federal missions. Examples of federal activations include Guard units deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo for stabilization operations and units deployed to the Middle East and other locations in the war on terrorism. When federalized, the Guard units are commanded by the Combatant Commander of the theater in which they are operating and, ultimately, to the President.

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The National Guard consists of both Army National Guard and Air National Guard components. The National Guard is composed of full time and part time soldiers, as well as civilians, who together serve their country. Each state and territory has its own National Guard, as provided by the United States Constitution.

Would you like to earn an extra paycheck while serving your country and community right in your hometown? You can do that too, when you join the Army National Guard.

For state missions, the governor, through the state Adjutant General, commands Guard forces. The governor can call the National Guard into action during local or statewide emergencies,such as storms, fires, earthquakes, civil disturbances, or to support law enforcement. Even when not federalized, the Army National Guard has a federal obligation (or mission.) That mission is to maintain properly trained and equipped units, available for prompt mobilization for war, national emergency, or as otherwise needed.

National Guard vs. Army Reserve

The Army Reserve is completely controlled by the federal government and serves solely as a federal reserve to the Active Army. The Army National Guard, on the other hand, may be controlled by either the state or the federal government, depending on the circumstances. The Army Guard force structure consists of Combat, Combat Support and Combat Service Support units, while the Army Reserve force is primarily comprised of Combat Support and Combat Service Support. The ARNG consists of approximately 340,000 soldiers versus just over 200,000 in the USAR. Both organizations are part of The Army, which consists of the Active, Guard and Reserve components.

Your Commitment to the National Guard

Army National Guard members are required to attend one drill weekend each month and one annual training period each year. Weekend drills are usually scheduled over one weekend - a Saturday and Sunday each month, but can occasionally include reporting for duty on Friday night. In addition, units have a two week annual training (AT) period every year which is usually scheduled during the summer. Initially, all personnel are required to attend initial entry training (IET), which can usually be scheduled to meet civilian occupation scheduling requirements. Duration and location of IET varies according to career specialty - a recruiter can provide specific information for each Military Occupational Specialty.

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Upon commiting to serving as a citizen-soldier, you are obligated to drill attendance. Each commander, however, is provided the latitude to make exceptions or to offer an alternative drill date (referred to as "split training") under exceptional circumstances, such as a family emergency or a significant civilian employment conflict.