Why does the President and certain members of Congress continue to push for the "National Guard Empowerment Act" (S 1025) when the Joint Chiefs of Staffs once again unanimously testified against it on November, 10, 2011 before Senate Committee Chairman, Carl Levin (D-MI)?  This has been a hot topic since 2007.

Is it a power play by the federal government to gain additional control over the largely state controlled National Guard?

Congress should listen to the Joint Chiefs of Staff when it comes to military command/control decisions, defense preparedness, and national security.

  • This act would elevate the bureaucratic advisory level "Chief of the National Guard Bureau" to a sitting position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff which currently includes six military commanders:   a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and one military leader from each of the four branches (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force).
  • The President appoints this adviser (does not train, command, deploy like the four branches).
  • It would upend the Goldwater Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 which clearly delineated military roles and federal/state relationships.
  • All members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are opposed to the measure for good reason -- it will confuse the chain of command and impede military operations as well as drive a wedge between the main military branches, reserves, and the National Guard.
  • There is no compelling problem or need for the Act according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and could actually hurt military command/control and operations.
  • This political appointee can give the President additional control over the National Guard to for a host of uses including suppress insurrection, etc., when it is rightfully more the role for the states.

The Senate bill, S 1025, is called the National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act of 2011.  Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., co-chairmen of the Senate National Guard Caucus, are chief sponsors of the bill.   Similar "riders" to defense appropriations, etc., were sponsored by Leahy and Kit Bond in 2007.

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Source for the following article:

Source for below:

National Defense University Library

Goldwater Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986


The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, sponsored by Sen. Barry Goldwater and Rep. Bill Nichols, caused a major defense reorganization, the most significant since the National Security Act of 1947. Operational authority was centralized through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as opposed to the service chiefs. The chairman was designated as the principal military advisor to the president, National Security Council and secretary of defense. The act established the position of vice-chairman and streamlined the operational chain of command from the president to the secretary of defense to the unified commanders.

Since 1986, Goldwater-Nichols has made tremendous changes in the way DOD operates-joint operations are the norm-Arabian Gulf, Zaire, Haiti, and Bosnia. Implementation of the act is an on-going project with Joint Vision 2010 (1996) and Joint Vision 2020 (2000). Both documents emphasize that to be the most effective force we must be fully joint: intellectually, operationally, organizationally, doctrinally, and technically. The joint force, because of its flexibility and responsiveness, will remain the key to operational success in the future.

Read Vice Chairman of Joint Chief of staff Statement on 11/10/2011:

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