Uniformed Leadership Against JCS Change

Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz joined the Joint Chiefs Chairman, vice chief, and other Service Chiefs last week in unanimously recommending against giving the National Guard Bureau chief a permanent seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lawmakers, such as Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, are pushing for this change, which the Guard favors (see below). Discussing this issue at a SASC hearing on Nov. 10, these military leaders said the change is unnecessary, de facto would give the Air Force and Army a second seat at the JCS table, and would be unfair to Reserve forces that would have no similar representation. Schwartz said one of the primary roles of the Joint Chiefs is to provide military advice at a federal level, something that goes against the Guard’s state mandate. “Total Force employment considerations are best served by those who possess supervisory and moral authority over field units; who organize, train, and equip personnel of all components of each service; and who are responsible as force providers to the combatant commands,” stated Schwartz in his prepared testimony. “Moreover,” he added, “interactions with interagency and international partners could be confused.” (Dempsey statement) (Winnefeld statement) (Odierno statement) (Greenert statement) (Amos statement) (See also Dempsey Against Adding Guard Chief to Joint Chiefs of Staff.)