I’m beginning to suspect that there is a bit of mission creep in the National Guard.
The National Guard has been mobilized in Massachusetts to ferry kids to and from school amid a nationwide shortage of bus drivers exacerbated by COVID.
Up to 250 members of the Guard will be activated to address the shortage, following a direct order from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to deploy the servicemen, as school and state officials across the country have been forced to deal with the dearth of drivers.
The Army National Guard’s federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances).
Does a bus driver shortage really meet this threshold? Remember that members of the Guard have day jobs. They have to leave those jobs, travel away from their families, and give up their personal time when they are called into action. I expect that serving members are more than willing to do that to keep a city from being burned by rioters, helping recover from a hurricane, or going to actual war, but to drive kids to school?
Given the personal sacrifices that Guard members make whenever they are called up, we shouldn’t be so cavalier about it. They are not just a bunch of temp employees for the governor to use at will. They have a specific mission.