"The National Guard plays a major role in the defense and security of the United States under the federal component of its mission. Due in part to the military reserve component's increasing responsibilities and duties since 2001, a January 2008 report by the congressionally chartered independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves has found that the U.S. military's lack of 'sufficiently trained, ready forces available' to respond to possible domestic attacks 'is an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk.' The report estimated that fewer than 88% of Army National Guard units are 'combat-ready.' The large deployment of National Guard personnel (currently more than 28,000) and equipment deployed in what the Bush Administration terms the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) factors heavily into this situation, according to the report. Additionally, as of April 10, 2008, 2,887 National Guard forces were deployed to the southern border region of the United States to assist in border security and the interdiction of illegal aliens as part of the 2006 authorized Operation Jump Start. This report presents statistical information on the National Guard's federal role in defense and security, including its deployments in support of GWOT, OIF, and Operation Jump Start."
CRS Report for Congress, RS22451