WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Guard Association of the United States today released the following statement by retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president:
"The passage of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill conference report last night brings the National Guard to the cusp of its greatest legislative victory in more than a century. Not since the Militia Act of 1903 created the modern, dual-mission National Guard have we seen approval of legislation that could have such a significant positive impact on our force.
"But this is so much more than about giving the Guard a voice at the Pentagon by adding the chief of the National Guard Bureau to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It's about ensuring our civilian leaders have access to expertise on the Guard's domestic-response capabilities in a crisis.
"On this, the 375th birthday of the National Guard, we thank the conferees for honoring the will of the House and the Senate by keeping the fundamentals of National Guard Empowerment intact in their final report.
"We also thank the principle sponsors ― Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Lindsey Graham in the Senate and Representative Candace Miller and Representative Nick Rahall in the House ― for their support, their leadership and their determination. We know they were inspired by the daily sacrifice and service of our Guard men and women around the globe, and for that all who lead the National Guard are deeply humbled.
"Presuming the House and Senate follow historic precedent and approve the conference report, I respectfully urge President Barack Obama to honor his 2008 campaign promise to us and with his stroke of a pen provide the National Guard with a seat at the table."
About NGAUS: The association includes nearly 45,000 current or former Guard officers. It was created in 1878 to provide unified National Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by petitioning Congress for more resources. Today, 133 years later, NGAUS has the same mission.
Internet Availability: This document and other Guard and NGAUS news and information are available at www.ngaus.org.
SOURCE National Guard Association of the U.S.