Scaling Down the Guard Push

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have reduced their highest expectation—that of securing a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the head of the National Guard Bureau—in an amendment they have proposed for the 2007 defense authorization bill. The new measure still would make the NGB chief a four-star general, and it would put a Guardsman in the No. 2 spot at US Northern Command and give the Guard greater say over equipment needs. The legislation introduced in April by the co-chairs of the Senate Guard Caucus that would give the NGB chief JCS status has faced stiff resistance from Pentagon leadership. As of Monday, though, it still exists and still is under review by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. (We remind you that a similar effort failed in 1998.)