Defense amendment would elevate National Guard chief

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is moving to get the National Guard chief a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Leahy introduced an amendment to the Defense authorization bill Thursday to elevate the Guard chief. The amendment is based on Leahy’s bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the two co-chairs of the National Guard Caucus.

Supporters say they have the votes in the Senate to pass the proposal, and Leahy’s original bill had 69 co-sponsors as of Thursday afternoon, a spokesman said.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey is opposed to adding the Guard chief, arguing there’s no problem with the way the set-up currently stands. The Joint Chiefs testified against the idea in the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.