Governors of both parties said Sunday that Bush administration policies were stripping the National Guard of equipment and personnel needed to respond to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, forest fires and other emergencies.
Tens of thousands of National Guard members have been sent to Iraq, along with much of the equipment needed to deal with natural disasters and terrorist threats in the United States, the governors said here at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
The National Guard, which traces its roots to the colonial militia, has a dual federal-state role. Governors normally command the Guard in their states, but Guard members deployed overseas in support of a federal mission are under the control of the president.
The governors said they would present their concerns to President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday. In a preview of their message, all 50 governors signed a letter to the president opposing any cuts in the size of the National Guard.