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National Guard to undergo force structure and stationing changes

RAPID CITY- The South Dakota Army National Guard will undergo unit force structure, task organization and relocation changes beginning next year to optimize its organizational readiness and capabilities to respond to state and federal missions.

As part of the reorganization, the SDARNG will deactivate three units, activate three new units, relocate six units to existing National Guard communities, and close its armory in De Smet. The majority of the changes are expected to be completed by September 2020.

The changes are a part of U.S. Army Total Force initiatives and are an evolutionary response to an ever-changing operational environment characterized by emergent threats, changing force structure to meet operational needs, and greater reliance upon the National Guard as an operational force for the U.S. Army.

“We will plan for and implement these changes to ensure we maintain a high state of readiness with the right mix of capabilities across the state,” said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG. “These changes will enhance the National Guard to meet the operational demands of the future in support of its war-time mission and response to state emergencies or natural disasters.”

The reorganization and relocation of units will maximize resources, training and facilities, ensure efficient mission command for operational readiness, develop more cohesive units, match units in communities that optimize recruiting demographics for future projected growth, and ensure coverage of state mission requirements.

The SDARNG will increase its overall force structure allowance from 3,012 to 3,097, adding 85 soldier positions and allowing more opportunities for people to serve.

The force structure changes include the deactivation of three units: 139th Brigade Support Battalion based in Brookings; Company A, 139th BSB in Watertown; and Company B, 139th BSB in Mitchell.

Replacing these units will be the activation of the 109th Engineer Battalion and a Forward Support Company to be based in Rapid City, and the 665th Surface Maintenance Company in Mitchell.

Scheduled unit relocations will take place for the following units:

*152nd Combat Sustainment

Support Battalion from Pierre to Brookings

*115th Signal Company from Brookings to Sioux Falls

*155th Engineer Company from Rapid City to Wagner

*Detachment 1, 155th Engineer Company from Wagner to Parkston

*Detachment 1, 153rd Forward Support Company from Parkston to Huron

*Detachment 1, 211th Engineer Company from De Smet to Madison

As part of the reorganization, some units will be task organized under a different battalion headquarters to optimize stationing proximity and ensure effective command and control for operational, administrative, training and logistical support.

“We strategically position forces and capabilities in the state to maintain readiness and allow the National Guard to respond in support of civil authorities,” Reisch said. “As the National Guard continues to transform now and into the future, we will meet those changing needs and determine the best composition and locations to make us as efficient and effective as possible.”

The De Smet-based Detachment 1, 211th Engineer Company, will relocate and consolidate with its company headquarters in Madison. The unit armory is currently co-located with the high school and their lease with the SDARNG will be terminated. Exclusive use of the armory space will be turned over to the school district and is expected to be completed by December 2019.

While these changes will reduce the SDARNG’s community presence from 22 to 21 state locations, it will not impact the organization’s ability to respond to state mission requirements and support any communities.

“It is with genuine sadness that we will be relocating from De Smet – a community that has supported the National Guard in a truly outstanding manner for decades,” said Reisch. “We will continue to maintain our ties to De Smet through recruiting and support of community events, and there will be no change in our ability to respond to their needs should an emergency occur.

“The National Guard is dedicated to serving the citizens of South Dakota and support of all of our communities,” continued Reisch. “Never in our history, have we been better trained, equipped or more heavily relied upon than we are today.”

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