National Guard Seat

  • Published
  • By Lisa Hoffman
  • Scripps Howard News Service
Backers of the National Guard say it's time for President Barack Obama to make good on his 2008 campaign promise to give the Guard a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ever since Obama's vow, congressional supporters of the Guard have pushed to pass legislation to add a citizen-soldier representative to the military's powerful forum where the top brass of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps set policy, wrangle with budgets and advise the secretary of defense and president.

The reason: Guard personnel now number nearly 470,000, and occupy a front-line role in fighting America's wars, aside from their duties in disaster response and border protection.

A bipartisan brigade of 61 senators has signed on to a measure that would grant the Guard the seat. The House included the same directive in its defense authorization bill in May. While this is the strongest support yet for the JCS expansion, a vote has not yet been scheduled in the Senate on the final defense legislation and the White House hasn't been engaged.