Isle Guard chief backs
proposal to consolidate

Three headquarters would be
combined under a national plan

The head of the Hawaii National Guard has endorsed a proposal by the Guard's national commander to consolidate its three headquarters.

The move is part of a proposal that covers the Air National Guard and Army National Guard in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It was proposed by Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, Hawaii state adjutant general and commander of more than 5,400 citizen soldiers and airmen, said his office has been "looking at making it joint for some time."

Lee said he has been considering combining the operations of headquarters of the Hawaii Army National Guard, which supervises 2,970 soldiers; the Hawaii Air National Guard which controls 2,450 airmen; and his office.

Like other states and territories, Hawaii has separate headquarters governing the Air National Guard, the Army National Guard and the office of the adjutant general. In Hawaii, these headquarters are in separate offices in Diamond Head and each has a separate staff.

Maj. Chuck Anthony, Hawaii National Guard spokesman, said he does not "see any dramatic changes" if the new proposal takes effect.

Blum wants a similar consolidation of the three commands in each of the states and territories by Oct. 1. He plans to present this proposal at the spring conference of the Adjutants General Association of the United States in Columbus, Ohio, tomorrow.

Blum said yesterday that other elements of his plan for transforming the National Guard include expanding its role in national missile defense and creating 10 National Guard groups capable of responding to chemical and biological incidents. He said the Guard must transform to meet the new threat of terrorism at home and abroad.

There are about 350,000 members of the Army National Guard and about 105,000 people in the Air National Guard. The Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve would not be affected by the plan.


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