Tate Zeigler (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON – The United States Senate last night approved an amendment introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) giving the National Guard a seat on the nation’s highest military council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"I’m very pleased the Senate has voted to allow the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Guardsmen and Reservists are citizen-soldiers,” said Graham. “Since 9/11, the National Guard and Reserves have done tremendous work at home and abroad in defense of our nation. They have been called up to duty, taken away from their work and families, and sent to far-away lands for long tours to protect our nation. They have earned a seat at the table where our most important military decisions are made.”
South Carolina Adjutant General MG Bob Livingston said, “This is a great day for our nation and our military. We face difficult times in terms of the variety and magnitude of foreign threats while dealing the reality of limited resources. The inclusion of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff brings the Citizen Soldier to the discussion. The Citizen Soldier has proven himself to be the innovator with civilian skills, the tie to the community and the proven hardened combat troop that is so critical in these tough times. This tradition of citizen responsibility is one of the essential threads in the fabric of our nation. It has made our nation great and will propel us into the future. The appointment of the Chief of the National Guard is a return to the basic values of our county and will pave the way to great innovation in the defense of our nation."
The amendment, also sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) attracted 71 cosponsors, and was added by voice vote to the annual Defense Authorization bill. The Senate continues to debate the measure and a final vote is expected later this week.
“The Senate vote last night was a long-overdue recognition and fitting tribute for our citizen-soldiers and the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation,” said Graham. “The Guard and Reserve is indispensable to fighting the War on Terror and protecting the homeland. Their voice needs to be heard.”
The legislation was endorsed by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the National Governors Association, the National Guard Association of the United States, the Adjutants General Association of the United States, and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States.
(Audio/Video) Graham Discusses National Guard Legislation on the Floor of the Senatehttp://youtu.be/bnGVBPzhcbY and http://youtu.be/pnfBKMogCEw