Leadership: The Guard Gets a Voice on the Joint Chiefs


March 11, 2006: A four star National Guard general will be joining the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Well, at least that's what the reservists want, and may get. The Iraq war has proved to be the heaviest use of American reserve troops since World War II. The reserve component that got the heaviest workout, was also the largest, the 350,000 strong Army National Guard (ANG). Actually, the ANG currently has only 333,000 troops, because the heavy use of this force has made it difficult to recruit new members, and keep existing ones. The shrinkage would have been worse had not the army reacted with a lot of reforms and new policies (many of them considered long overdue). The new bonuses and personnel policies have helped, but one of the biggest complaints was that National Guard specific problems were not being heard at the top. Thus the proposal to add an ANG to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the committee of service commanders that runs the American armed forces). The ANG general would keep everyone aware of the concerns of the reservists and, in the case of the National Guard, the state governors that control the National Guard in peacetime. These governors have tremendous political power in the United States, as they control local political organizations, and have a lot of impact on the election of members of Congress, and the president.


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