Dempsey to Recommend Against Adding Guard to Joint Chiefs

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)