May 16, 2014

HIRONO FIGHTS FOR NATIONAL GUARD

Introduces Bill To Ensure National Guard Chief Has Input Into Selection Of Leadership Team

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced the National Guard Leadership Act, legislation to provide the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (NGB) with greater input into the selection of senior leadership for the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Currently, the NGB’s internal recommendation process is fluid and not governed by law or regulation. As a result, the input of the Chief of the NGB may or may not be sought. This legislation ensures that the Chief of the NGB plays a larger role in determining who leads the men and women of our Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

“The citizen soldiers of the National Guard do an outstanding job protecting our families both abroad and at home. From counterterrorism missions to providing relief following natural disasters like Hurricane Iniki, it has been a privilege to see firsthand what the Hawaii National Guard and Air National Guard accomplish for our communities,” said Hirono. “Given the importance of the National Guard, especially as our nation rebalances to the Asia-Pacific region, I have introduced the National Guard Leadership Act to help the Chief of the National Guard Bureau have a stronger role in the selection of his or her leadership team. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief of the National Guard deserves consistent input into who occupies critical leadership positions within the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.”

“Congress has wisely enacted several laws in recent years to raise the profile of the National Guard within the Pentagon. This bill follows that basic intent,” said retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, the president of the National Guard Association of the United States. “We thank Senator Hirono for recognizing that the Chief of the National Guard Bureau should be able to shape his leadership team and his organization. We know we can always count on her to give careful consideration to any legislation that improves the nation’s defense.”

With the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau has been designated a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Department of Defense. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2007 also made the Chief of the NGB a 4-star General and the NGB a “joint activity” of the Department of Defense. Both these laws require the National Guard Bureau to reorganize in order to reflect these new duties and responsibilities.

Hirono greets men and women of the Hawaii Air National Guard during her tour last summer of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.