WASHINGTON - The chief of the National Guard Bureau is a statutory member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
With the stroke of a pen, the same month the nation's oldest military institution celebrated its 375th birthday, President Barack Obama today signed legislation that includes a provision adding the CNGB to the Joint Chiefs.
The provision - part of the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act - ushers in a change some National Guard historians have called the most significant development since the Militia Act of 1903 codified the modern day dual-status structure of the Guard.
"We are grateful for the efforts the executive and legislative bodies have gone to in placing the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff," said Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau.
"We look forward to working alongside the other Joint Chiefs to provide our nation's senior leaders with a fuller picture of the non-federalized National Guard as it serves in support of homeland defense and civil support missions," McKinley said.
The provision is part of an annual federal law that has for the last half-century specified the Defense Department budget.
The 2012 NDAA authorizes $670 billion in spending for Defense Department programs and Energy Department nuclear weapons programs.
Other provisions of the bill that affect the National Guard include re-establishing the position of vice-chief of the National Guard Bureau at the three-star level while rescinding the two-star position of director of the NGB's joint staff.
The bill also requires that National Guard general officers be considered for command of Army North and Air Force North and authorizes funding for the National Guard State Partnership Program.