December 07, 2021

The National Guard Is Stuck in the Middle of Political Infighting, and It’s Getting Worse


Journalist: Steve Beynon

The governor of Oklahoma versus the Biden administration. The governor of Texas versus the Biden administration. The governor of South Dakota versus the Biden administration.

Three recent battles between political forces centering on COVID-19 public health policies and immigration.

And caught in the middle, between state politicians and federal political appointees, are National Guard troops.

After spending two decades in near constant rotations to the Middle East, National Guardsmen have found themselves in the very center of some of the most heated American political battles of the last few years. The Guard by its very nature is meant to balance a carefully calibrated set of dual roles -- answering to governors but paid for through federal funds and trained by military commanders to handle the national security needs of the nation.

But sometime in the last few years, the balance between two responsibilities has begun to resemble a tug-of-war.

"It's the fault of the elected officials," Nathalie Grogan, a research associate for the Center for a New American Security, told "They are politicizing members of the military; this is almost unprecedented."

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  • Nathalie Grogan

    Former Research Associate, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Nathalie Grogan is a former Research Associate for the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at CNAS. Her research focused on the National Guard and military families. Groga...