Dempsey advises against adding National Guard to Joint Chiefs

Tuesday - 11/8/2011, 7:21am EST

By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said he will recommend to Congress that the chief of the National Guard bureau not become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey, who spoke at the National Guard's 2011 Joint Senior Leadership Conference, said he wanted the guard to hear it from him first, before seeing it on the news.

"I wanted you to hear it from me, before you saw it on CNN," Dempsey said, according to a DoD release. The chairman is set to testify before Congress about the matter later this week.

The reason for the omission is two-fold, he explained.

Each of the other service chiefs is "accountable for that institution across the components," Dempsey said. For example, the Army chief of staff is responsible for soldiers and the chief of naval operations is in charge of the Navy's sailors.

"Only one person can be in charge of the 'brand,'" he added.

The National Guard chief's lack of budgetary authority is the other reason. "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.

Dempsey emphasized the decision had nothing to do with his esteem of the guard and its work, citing the "truly one force," he said the military has become.

"I can't tell who is in the active component, who is in the National Guard, or who is in the reserves,"he 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.

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