National Guard: Role in Overseas Conflicts

Please excuse this ignorant Canadian, but what is the role of the US National Guard in foreign wars and actions? I know that National Guard troops saw active, frontline duty in Korea and Vietnam. And, as yesterday’s “friendly fire” tragedy attests, they are currently serving in Afghanistan.

But, is the Guard not charged with preserving/defending internal security? And, even if part of its mission does have to do with particpating in overseas conflicts, would that not be superfluous given the potency of the other arms of the US Armed Forces (Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines)?

So, what is the role and mission of the National Guard in foreign conflicts?

The National Guard is descended from the tradition of State militia and is run jointly by the Federal Government and each state. Each state’s NG unit reports to that state’s governor and the governor can call upon it to suppress riots, help in emergencies or natural disasters, and so forth.

In addition, the NG also acts as a reserve force (in addition to the regular Reserves, not part of the NG) and can be called upon by the President to participate in oversees wars.