McKinley: Guard’s Voice Deserves to be Heard

The National Guard’s roll has changed significantly since Sept. 11, 2001, and those increased responsibilities should be recognized by giving the Guard a permanent seat at the table of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Gen. Craig McKinley, National Guard Bureau chief. The Guard chief “still does not have an institutional position from which I can advise the President, the [National Security Council], the Homeland Security Council, and Congress on non-federalized National Guard forces that are critical to homeland defense and civil support missions,” stated McKinley during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week. Adding a Guard seat would ensure that happens, he said. If Congress made the NGB chief a statutory member of the Joint Chiefs, the Air Force and Army Secretaries would continue to “prescribe the training of the National Guard, procure its equipment, and validate its requirements,” explained McKinley. He—as well as some SASC members—asserted that a Guard presence would be no different than having the Marine Corps Commandant and Navy Secretary as JCS members, a view not shared by those two service Chiefs. (McKinley’s written testimony)