Trump orders military to start arming the National Guard
Trump administration officials on Thursday announced they would begin providing support for the National Guards in a move to equip them to deal with the growing threat posed by the opioid epidemic.
The move by Defense Secretary James Mattis, a former Marine Corps general, came as Trump faces mounting criticism over his response to the deadly opioid crisis, which has left tens of thousands dead and more than 200,000 wounded.
“The U.S. military will now provide additional assistance to the National Emergency Management Agency to help equip the National Security Forces to respond to the opioid crisis,” Mattis said in a memo to staff and staff at the Department of Defense.
The announcement came after a week in which the Trump administration struggled to fill the ranks of the National Reserve Guard, the largest reserve component of the U.N. force.
Some of the more than 50,000 members of the reserve have been pushed out of the military as their numbers have declined to a mere 2,300.
But the Army Corps of Engineers announced last month that it would spend $6.6 million to arm the National guard.
The National Guard will provide more than 20,000 additional personnel to provide a more professional and responsive response to emergencies, said Brig. Gen. Chris Gorman, the commanding general of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
The Guard will also provide equipment, training, and training support to the Guard, Army and Air Force.
“We are ready to deploy, but this does not mean we will,” he said.
“We are still gathering the necessary data to make the best decision on what resources we will have to respond.”
Gorman said he was “pleased” that Mattis had authorized the Army to start the process of preparing for the possibility of an emergency.
“We are looking forward to helping our military with this important task and the thousands of soldiers we will be supporting will make an important difference,” he added.
Mattis, who will oversee the transition of the federal civilian and military services, has been criticized by Democrats and some Republicans for not adequately addressing the crisis.
Trump said last month he would not send troops into combat unless the United States were attacked, and he has continued to support the use of military force.
The administration has also raised the possibility that the Trump White House could take military action against the opioid scourge.