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Leahy And Graham: Final Defense Bill Elevates National Guard To Joint Chiefs Of Staff And Includes Other Elements Of The Leahy-Graham Guard Empowerment Bill
Victory Arrives On Guard’s 375th Birthday
WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, Dec. 13) – In a far-reaching and historic advance for the National Guard’s role in the nation’s defense and security structure, bipartisan conferees on the annual Defense Authorization Bill have agreed to give the National Guard its first seat on the nation’s highest military council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the Senate’s sponsors of the Guard reforms, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
In addition to adding the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Conference Committee also included other important provisions from the Leahy-Graham bill. They include:
· reestablishing the position of the Vice Chief of the Guard Bureau at the three-star level;
· increasing the number of Guard general officers considered for senior positions at U.S. Northern Command;
United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM, or informally just NORTHCOM) is a Unified Combatant Command of the United States military. Created on 1 October 2002 in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, its mission is to protect the United States homeland and support local, state, and federal authorities.
· helping to clarify the disaster response command relationship among the Guard and the U.S. military commands;
· authorizing the National Guard State Partnership Program;
· and requiring reports by the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office on the cost of National Guard and Reserve units compared to similar active component units.