I'll begin at the end of the article:
The "Ms Sebelius" quoted there is Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas. Kansas is where on Friday a tornado touched down and basically wiped the town of Greensburg (pop. 1574) off the map. The National guard was called in to help, but:
Late Tuesday, in a statement, Ms. Sebelius repeated her message:
“I have said for nearly two years, and will continue to say, that we have a looming crisis on our hands when it comes to National Guard equipment in Iraq and our needs here at home.”
Tornado hits on Friday, and it's only Sunday night that military vehicles of "significant number" began to arrive.
“As you travel around Greensburg, you’ll see that city and county trucks have been destroyed,” Ms. Sebelius, a Democrat, said Monday. “The National Guard is one of our first responders. They don’t have the equipment they need to come in, and it just makes it that much slower.”
For nearly two days after the storm, there was an unmistakable emptiness in Greensburg, a lack of heavy machinery and an army of responders. By Sunday afternoon, more than a day and a half after the tornado, only about half of the Guard troops who would ultimately respond were in place.
It was not until Sunday night that significant numbers of military vehicles started to arrive, many streaming in a long caravan from Wichita about 100 miles away.
And of course, the White House deflected any criticism:
Ms. Sebelius’s comments about the slow response prompted a debate with the White House on Tuesday, which initially said the fault rested with her. Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, said the governor should have followed procedure by finding gaps after the storm hit and asking the federal government to fill them — but did not.
“If you don’t request it, you’re not going to get it,” Mr. Snow told reporters on Tuesday morning.
While things have settled down between Kansas and the White House, the problems with the Guard remain. From Jennifer Lowen of the AP:
Sebelius has long spoken out about the fallout from sending National Guard units and equipment overseas. She says the war in Iraq is damaging domestic disaster readiness, because needed manpower is drained from states and the Pentagon is not replacing equipment at a fast enough rate.
And across the nation, the problem seems to be one of equipment rather than personnel. From the GAO this past January:
The high use of the National Guard for federal overseas missions has reduced equipment available for its state-led domestic missions, at the same time it faces an expanded array of threats at home.Just some more fallout from dubya's mistake.