Chairman of Guard Bureau joins Joint Chiefs
Published: January 3, 2012
The Joint Chiefs of Staff has grown by one, with existing members, however reluctantly, welcoming the chairman of the National Guard Bureau as a full member.
Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley took his place among the president’s top military advisers on Saturday when President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
McKinley joins the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, as well as the chiefs of staff from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. His presence is controversial, drawing significant support from Congress but unanimous opposition from within the Joint Chiefs. Each member expressed that opposition during a hearing on Capitol Hill in November, arguing that the chiefs of staff for the Army and Air Force represent the full spectrum of their services, including National Guard elements.
“There is no compelling military need to support this historic change,” Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said at the hearing.
But those backing the change point to the increased responsibilities given to National Guardsmen during the last decade, one that saw Guard troops deploy often to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as tend to various disasters in the United States.
“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 nonfederalized National Guard as it serves in support of homeland defense and civil support missions.”