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Beyond squabbling over helicopters, National Guard commanders have a point. The guard is an essential component of the Army. Maintaining a trained and ready guard can’t be an afterthought. Unless all the Army has what it needs to protect us, our military will be hollow force that won’t be prepared to respond to the needs of the nation when the nation calls.

The Army and the Guard obviously need to do a better job of working together. The problem, however, will only really be solved when the president and Congress provide the leadership that the times demand.

James Jay Carafano, a 25-year Army veteran, is vice president of defense- and foreign-policy studies at the Heritage Foundation (