NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., Nov. 7, 2011 — Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey will not recommend Congress enact legislation making the chief of the National Guard Bureau a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs spoke at the National Guard’s 2011 Joint Senior Leadership Conference here today.
Dempsey will be testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee later this week and expects to address the issue. “I wanted you to hear it from me, before you saw it on CNN,” the chairman told the National Guard leadership.
The chairman is recommending against making the chief of the National Guard Bureau a member of the Joint Chiefs, because he feels “only one person can be in charge of the ‘brand,’ ” he said.
The Army chief of staff is in charge of soldiers, the chief of naval operations is in charge of sailors, the Air Force chief of staff is in charge of airmen, and the commandant is in charge of Marines, Dempsey noted. “That person, who is accountable for that institution across the components, in my feeling, should be the service chief,” he said.
Another reason Dempsey believes the chief of the National Guard Bureau should not be a member of the Joint Chiefs is because the chief has no budget. “The service chief, along with the service secretary, has the responsibility to organize, train and equip the force using the resources given him by the Congress of the United States,” he said.
The chairman said his decision has nothing to do with his high esteem and respect for the National Guard leaders and the contributions National Guardsmen have made. “We are truly one force today,” he said.
The general asked for a show of hands in the crowd for those Guardsmen who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Almost all service members raised their hands.
“I can’t tell who is in the active component, who is in the National Guard, or who is in the reserves,” Dempsey said. “It wasn’t always possible to say that. The way we’ve grown together over the past 10 years is something I find incredibly healthy for the nation. As we move forward and face the challenges that are very clear to us, we have to make sure we don’t lose that.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)