National Guard Officer Joins Joint Chiefs of Staff: Move Puzzles Existing Members

From Army Times:

The National Guard Bureau’s top officer is now a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31 by President Obama, adds the Guard leader to the nation’s highest military advisory group.

As of Tuesday, the biography of the current chief of the Guard, Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, was on the Joint Chiefs website, alongside bios for the other military service chiefs.

The addition of the top Guard officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been hailed by Guard historians as the “most significant development” since the Militia Act of 1903 codified the modern day dual-status structure of the Guard, according to a statement from the Guard Bureau.

“We are grateful for the efforts the executive and legislative bodies have gone to in placing the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” McKinley said in a statement. “We look forward to working alongside the other Joint Chiefs to provide our nation’s senior leaders with a fuller picture of the non-federalized National Guard as it serves in support of homeland defense and civil support missions.”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff advises the president on national security matters.

Its members voiced firm opposition during a hearing on Capitol Hill in November as lawmakers pushed to create a seat for the Guard.

Before the authorization act was passed and signed into law, the Joint Chiefs was made up of the four service chiefs — the Army chief of staff, Air Force chief of staff, chief of naval operations and Marine Corps commandant — and a chairman and vice chairman appointed by the president.

During the Nov. 10 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the six four-star generals voiced opposition to the proposal, saying it would create needless confusion and reduce their authority.

“There is no compelling military need for this change,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said at the time.

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