Changed His Mind?

In testimony before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves Wednesday regarding the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act, Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, head of the National Guard Bureau, said in his experience, the Joint Chiefs of Staff would benefit from the National Guard having a seat on the JCS because the Chiefs are unfamiliar with some of the Guard’s unique aspects. The “present construct,” Blum said, does not mandate the Guard’s input on policy. He recalled that the Guard has been left out of some of the Pentagon’s budgetary decision-making affecting Guard personnel. The Guard’s participation in those meetings “can’t be ad-hoc,” he said. As for the NGB Chief’s potential elevation to four-star general status, Blum said the determination should be based on the scope of responsibility, and in his opinion the complexity of the position warrants a fourth star. Is this a sea change for Blum? Last year, he took the Pentagon party line that there should be no Guard JCS seat.