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Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has reportedly joined other governors in opposing a congressional plan to widen Pentagon control of U.S. reserve forces domestically.
The Honolulu Star Bulletin reported Friday Lingle has joined top state officials such as Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III in questioning a proposal that would give the Pentagon more authority over reserve troops during domestic disasters.
Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, in charge of 5,500 Hawaii Army and Air Guard troops, suggests that could cause issues about who controls reserves forces in homeland emergencies.
The National Governors Association also opposes the proposal for the 2010 Defense Authorization Act, which will be discussed in Congress next month.
The Rendell administration opposes a Pentagon proposal that would allow it to dispatch federal reservists to states during natural disasters, Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, the state's adjutant general, said Saturday.
"This is not what you want at all. It's an infringement upon states rights," said Wright, who commands all Air and Army National Guard units in Pennsylvania
Who's in charge here?
Governor Jim Douglas is telling Congress and the Pentagon to leave states in charge of their National Guards.
There’s a plan to have the military usurp state powers in times of domestic emergencies. The Pentagon is lobbying Congress to allow the Defense Department to command troops...using the Katrina debacle as an example. They'd be independent of command decisions made by Governors.
Now, Jim Douglas doesn't like that scheme. He's also Chairman of the National Governor’s Association, and so he may be able to get some folks on Capitol Hill to listen.
We hope he does.
Sending in troops without coordinating extensively with Governors who know the territory and have first-hand knowledge of the area's needs is foolish. It could lead to chaos in the field and to operational incompetence.
There's a strong case, too, to be made for State's rights here.
We hope Congress doesn't rubber-stamp a military power grab.
They ought to listen to the Governors.
That’s our opinion. What’s yours?