As of Monday morning, more than 49,000 National Guard members are supporting homeland operations at the direction of their governors. The current number represents activations for COVID-19, civil unrest, and natural disasters.
Presently, there are more than 84,000 Guard men and women engaged in homeland and overseas missions.
Nearly 37,000 National Guard professionals continue COVID-19 response efforts at the direction of their governors in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.
More than 7,000 National Guard members remain activated in states across the country to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations. The numbers are steadily decreasing as governors assess their needs.
“I’ve always believed the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. “I say this not only as the Secretary of Defense, but as a former soldier and former member of the National Guard.”
The Alabama National Guard hosted a delegation of civilian and military personnel from its partner nation, Romania, from the end of May through early June to exchange knowledge and share best practices on COVID-19 response efforts.
The visit was part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, which allows for the exchange of knowledge and experiences between states and partnered nations.
“Working with Romania increases our readiness and improves how we can work together within our individual capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Jay Skinner, the command judge advocate and delegation visit escort.
Romania and Alabama became partners in 1993. They have had numerous diplomatic visits and training missions with each other to improve interoperability and strengthen the NATO mission on both hemispheres.
Romanian Col. Teodor Spanu, branch chief of the National Military Command Bucuresti, said the two-week exchange provided opportunities to share operational tactics and training philosophies.
“It is a great experience. We have unique capabilities, and this visit lets us provide a sense of how we can help everyone in need,” Spanu said. “This is a great opportunity to discuss with the Alabama National Guard and detail ways we could train together in the future.”
Members of the West Virginia National Guard Defense Cyber Operations – Element (Cyber Team) helped safeguard the state’s June 9 primary elections and will provide critical support through the November general election cycle.
Working with the West Virginia Office of Technology and the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, WVNG Cyber Team personnel monitored potential cyber threats before and during the West Virginia primary from the West Virginia Cybersecurity Office in the state Capitol and remote locations.
“Our mission is to help state officials ensure a safe and secure voting process,” said West Virginia Army National Guard 2nd Lt. David Parsons, WVNG cybersecurity manager. “Cyberattacks are unfortunately becoming more and more prevalent and can be executed by hostile government or non-governmental players from anywhere in the world. Our job is to counter potential intrusions into our voting systems to make sure every citizen gets to vote and their vote counts and counts as it was cast.”
The Department of Homeland Security has deemed cyber threats to elections as “high risk,” from poll booths to public-facing voter registration systems. State and local voting databases could be locked by hackers demanding ransomware or manipulated by outsiders.
Additional missions currently being performed by National Guard men and women include wildfire and flood response, as well as cyber support. June 1 was the official start of the hurricane season, a response mission the National Guard routinely prepares for.
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