Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves Wednesday that the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 “went over the Guard like a speed bump.” He believes that the Guard was not taken seriously at that time and that it is time to overhaul Titles 10 and 32. He wants the titles to be “fully integrated” and maintains that “they don’t need to be fire-walled.” He emphasized that the two separate titles create an “obstacle course” for federal officials during national emergencies. Overall, Blum thinks the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act “creates more unity of effort.” (Blum also now agrees with the legislation’s provision to give the NGB chief a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.) Congress has directed the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves to report on the advisability and feasibility of implementing the legislation by March 1.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.