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National Guard’s advocate presses for representation on panel

An advocate for the National Guard is urging the Obama administration not to shirk the service when an independent board considers making changes to Army policies.

The National Commission on the Future of the Army was created by a defense bill approved by Congress this month.

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It will examine and evaluate the Army’s makeup, training and deployment, and offer recommendations on how to reshape the service.

That could have major implications for the National Guard, which has implored Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history John Kirby to reprise role as Pentagon press secretary under Biden 10 former Defense secretaries call on Pentagon to stay out of election fight MORE not to reduce the size of its force.

Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association, said the commission “should have an understanding of each Army component and possess experience in cost and capability analysis.”

“We need to have individuals who thoroughly understand the National Guard's 24/7/365 domestic mission,” he added.

Hargett’s statement signaled that he and other advocates for the Guard are worried the panel could be filled with people more sympathetic to the active Army than the Guard and Reserves.

He said the association was “confident that eight objective individuals will see Army National Guard capabilities and cost-effectiveness as a major solution to the defense and security challenges ahead.”

The commission, he said, should hear from “a broad range of perspectives and then, after careful consideration and without regard to component, recommend what best serves our nation.”