Comment of the day: We need an agency with prosecutorial power to investigate National Guard

Here’s a comment from reader Lynn Willis on the National Guard situation in Alaska:

What happened to the soldiers and the overall breakdown of discipline and loss of effectiveness to any degree within the organization, followed by what happened to the concerned Officers and NCOs who advocated for correction, is cause for deep concern by Alaskans.

Why were two political appointees, one a State Commissioner, allowed to wear the uniform of an Army Lt. General and the other, a Civilian Deputy Commissioner, given rein to do such damage to the organization over such a long period of time? Why did the Legislature with a standing Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and whose party holds the Governorship refuse to exercise any oversight?I am dismayed that the Office of the State Attorney General and other state law enforcement agencies were not involved, and apparently still are not, given the number of transgressions reported over time. Now that we have heard from an outside National Guard Bureau Office of Complex Investigations, only resignations are being requested.

What we need  now are firings and the involvement of an authority, State and/or Federal, with subpoena power and the associated authority to prosecute for criminal conduct including perjury. Sometimes in the military you have to deal with people who are not motivated by what you can do for them if they obey, but what you will do to them if they don’t.


13 thoughts on “Comment of the day: We need an agency with prosecutorial power to investigate National Guard

  1. jack

    A special prosecutor is the only way to weed out the slime-balls and “alleged” rapists. The foxes won`t guard the hen-house, let alone clean it up. If anything called for a special prosecutor this does. Justice delayed is justice denied…. still…. under this governor.

  2. Ethan

    I appreciate the thoughtful insight from those familiar with the inner dynamics of the ANG. However even from an uninformed bystander’s perspective, one can tell the difference between those at fault receiving actual punishment, or just being politely dismissed, as though that is somehow enough. I am waiting for a thorough investigation to determine the full scope of the CRIMES that are alleged to have been committed, and if criminal actions are proven to have happened, I will be watching to see if the criminals are punished. I realize that this is still an ongoing debacle, but so far I am unimpressed with the delivery of any sort of ‘justice’.

  3. LysanderSpooner

    I appreciate your tacit acknowledgement, at last, that the behavior of some in the administration was not exactly exemplary.

  4. lana jones-edwards

    Today I post with my full name to show support for the survivors of these assaults. I appreciate Lynn’s analysis and hope the Governor, at least now, takes this seriously. Because the nifty slogan of “Choose Respect” means nothing without action.

  5. Rosa Melson

    As a soldier who is currently still serving in the ARANG, and also a victim who has pushed for change, I am more than outraged and embarrassed by the way that this investigation and subsequent actions have played out. There is no consideration for the consequences for the soldiers who are most affected by these choices.

  6. Garand Fellow

    So can victims file complaints in civil court? Would that not lead to a good remedy for any victim?

  7. Lynn Willis

    I served 22 years in the Alaska National Guard and I find this situation personally embarrassing and hurtful. You are correct that the Governor can only fire one person in uniform and that is his appointed Commissioner who also wears a uniform as a state National Guard officer; however that has nothing to do with this scandal.
    Every person suspected in this situation is punishable under civil law. This is not a jurisdictional problem that requires application of the UCMJ under Title 10 USC. The guard, unless on federal active duty, operates under Title 32 USC so the Federal UCMJ will not apply in this case. Many states incorporated the UCMJ into state law for use by the National Guard. I know this was talked about in Alaska; however I don’t know if that was ever done. I do know that there is a reference in State Law about applicability of Federal Law to the Guard:
    Sec. 26.05.060. Control of Alaska National Guard and Alaska Naval Militia. The governor as ex officio commander of the militia of the state has command of the Alaska National Guard and the Alaska Naval Militia while they are not in active federal service. The governor may adopt necessary regulations for them. The Alaska National Guard and the Alaska Naval Militia and their members are subject to all federal laws and regulations relating to the National Guard and Naval Militia of the several states and territories and of the United States.
    But not to worry, Alaska civil law provides the resolution because of the serious nature of these matters. This is not a case of “Failure to Salute” which has no analogous crime under civil law. Sean Parnell had and has more than enough resources to have addressed this issue years ago and can still do so. Now he needs to rise above politics and play hardball to end this by punishing the offenders and to bring justice to those harmed and exonerate those who raised the alarm.

  8. Garand Fellow

    Earlier today I was talking with someone who retired after a long career as an officer with the ANG. I am told that the only personnel decision so far as uniformed people the governor can make is with the one top position. The Alaska governor can fire no one else in uniform. Of the 14 departments this one is unique in the almost total lack of control from the 3rd Floor, and therefore it is by far the most autonomous department. It has operated exactly that way whether the governor was Republican, Democrat or Independent. The governor cannot choose the guns they use, the planes they fly, or the way they are deployed overseas. It should likely be changed in all 50 states.

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