"The National Guard is playing an increasingly vital and growing role in the defense and security of the United States under the federal component of its mission. While that military reserve component's responsibilities and duties have increased, a March 2007 major report by the congressionally chartered independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves has found that many Army and Air National Guard units stationed in the United States are rated 'not ready.' That rating is based primarily on current military equipment shortages and concerns for long-term operational reserve capacity. These domestic equipment shortfall and reserve capacity issues are attributed, in part, to the large deployment of National Guard personnel (currently over 31,000) and equipment deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq in the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Meanwhile, in May 2006, more than 6,000 National Guard personnel were authorized to be sent to the southern border region of the United States to temporarily assist in interdicting illegal aliens. As of March 8, 2007, at least 6,511 National Guard forces were deployed for this border security operation (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