Dec. 2, 2011

Guard chief set to get a seat at the table with Joint Chiefs

Courtesy of Sen. Mark R. Warner's Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and a bipartisan group of senators this week successfully amended the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to clear the way for the Chief of the National Guard to join representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The amendment was adopted on Monday, and the NDAA legislation passed the Senate on Thursday night. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted similar legislation in May.

Warner said the change is overdue. “As a former governor I know first-hand about the incredible contribution the Guard makes to our national defense, and I deeply respect and appreciate the sacrifices made everyday by our Guard personnel, their families and employers. The military has evolved in recent years, and our Guard members have stepped-up in a huge way through repeated deployments and exemplary front-line military service in war zones overseas. I believe it is critically important that Guard members have a direct voice through co-equal representation on the Joint Chiefs."

House and Senate members now will meet to negotiate a compromise bill, and it is widely expected that the final compromise bill will include the Guard/JCS provision. Senator Warner said he expects this to occur without delay. "We are so close to making this important step a reality, and I know how important this is to our Virginia Guard, so we will continue to work in a bipartisan way to push this proposal across the goal line.”

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