WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NGAUS released the following statement by retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association president:
"We welcome a Senate hearing on legislation that would add the chief of the National Guard Bureau to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The proposal would be the first change in the composition of the panel since 1986 and it deserves careful consideration, including input from a representative cross section of all the agencies and institutions impacted.
"Unfortunately, today's announced list of those scheduled to testify at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the matter Thursday morning looks more like a Defense Department show of force than an objective legislative hearing. Of course, Army and Air Force officials will oppose the proposal. They have historically fought― in some cases fairly, in others not so fairly― every attempt to give the National Guard and the states a greater voice at the Pentagon.
"Today the American homeland is part of a global battle space and the governors, state Guard leaders and homeland security officials down to the local level are in the fight. Yet they will have no representation at a hearing to determine if they need a statutory channel of communications to the nation's senior panel of defense advisors.
"The House of Representatives and 68 members of the Senate, including a majority of those on the Armed Services Committee, support a Guard seat at the table. Thursday's hearing, as now planned, is at best a last ditch, desperate attempt by the opposition to bully just enough votes to blunt on procedure the will of Congress and so many others."
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.
SOURCE National Guard Association of the U.S.