Majority of Senators Sponsoring Bill to Give National Guard More Input
New legislation that aims to allow the National Guard more of a voice in resource allocation decisions held in the Pentagon now has 52 senators supporting it as sponsors. The bill was first introduced by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy in May. S. 1025, also known as the National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act of 2011, has had 50 more Senators sign it as sponsors since it first reach the Senate.
The senior officer of the National Guard would become one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to represent this arm of the military service. A similar bill passed the House in May, so if the Senate approves it, it will move on to the final step of approval from the President. President Obama has already said that he would support giving the Guard greater recognition in his official campaign booklet. The National Guard Association of the United States is pushing the bill to gain even more co-sponsors before the final decision is made. Since over 50% of senators have already signed it, and a few have announced they will vote for it but won’t join as a sponsor, the group expects it to pass without a problem.
The bill came as the recognition grew that the National Guard needs to be able to represent themselves in the Pentagon. As defense spending is cut, a Joint Chief of Staff from the Guard will be able to explain why the branch deserves funding without having to rely on leaders from different military branches to do it for them. The Guard chief does participate in some resource allocation discussions, but he has no actual voting rights and doesn’t get to attend all of the meetings. This is important because only the Guard chief has certain experience and information on homeland defense, while the other military branches focus primarily on overseas events.