San Diego Union-Tribune

December 14, 2001

Guard leader wants anti-terrorism units

By Chris Newmarker 

WASHINGTON -- The head of the California National Guard
urged Congress yesterday to create special anti-terrorism Guard units in every state, including California.

"We need a force of 500 people (in California), and we need the resources to move them around," Adjutant Gen. Paul D. Monroe told the Senate's subcommittee on technology, terrorism and government information.

Since Sept. 11, 42,000 National Guardsmen and airmen have been mobilized to secure the homeland and serve overseas. More than 7,000 are providing security at the nation's airports.

In California, more than 1,500 Guard troops continue to protect airports, bridges and other key pieces of infrastructure.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, head of the subcommittee,
believes the National Guard should play a central role in the war on terrorism. She is drafting a bill that would create federally funded homeland security forces that governors could order out in response to terrorist threats.

A Defense Department official, however, urged a cautious
approach to ensure against undermining the Guard's main role as a military reserve force.

"We should not be premature in making judgments on how to do things until reports and studies are completed," Frank G. Libutti, special assistant for homeland security in the Department of Defense, said during the hearing yesterday.