Lingle fights losing power over Guard
Gov. Linda Lingle has joined chief executives from other states in opposing legislation that would allow the president to federalize the National Guard during natural disasters or a homeland security threat without the consent of the governors.
The governors sent the letter to congressional leadership protesting "an unprecedented shift in authority from governors as commanders and chief of the Guard to the federal government."
The letter said the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act "was drafted without consultation or input from governors.
"We take very seriously our constitutional duty to protect our citizens and lead our Guard. We are responsible for the safety and welfare of our citizens and are in the best position to coordinate all resources to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. The current process by which we use our National Guard in emergencies and request federal assistance when necessary works well and should not be changed," the letter said.
The National Guard is a state militia controlled by the nation's governors but can be mobilized and placed under federal control and the president for natural emergencies and war.
Last year, the nation's governors also protested to President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld about proposed cuts and restructuring of the Guard.