Rahall Advances National Guard Initiatives

From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the House considered the National Defense Authorization Act late Wednesday, U.S. Representative Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) was successful in helping to secure adoption of a bipartisan amendment to provide a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the National Guard and a second amendment to bolster funding opportunities for National Guard construction projects that provide benefits to local communities and civic organizations.

“I am pleased the House recognized that the Guard and Reserve have been called upon to assume more mission responsibility with far more complexity, not only here at home, but around the globe,” said Rahall. “We need to do all that we can to ensure that the Guard and Reserve have sufficient funding for up-to-date training facilities and the resources to maintain readiness as they carry out their dual roles.”

"Having the Chief of the National Guard on the Joint Staff is critical to the future of our nation and the right thing to do for our Guardsmen," said Major General James Hoyer, West Virginia's Adjutant General. "The Guard has been a vital part of our nation’s security both at home and abroad, particularly since September 11, 2001. We make up almost 45% of combat power and are the lead in the defense of the homeland. The joint effort by Congressman Rahall and Senator Rockefeller demonstrates their advocacy for what is best for our National Guard and our National Defense.”

The first amendment mirrors Rahall’s Guardians of Freedom Act of 2011, introduced earlier this year to elevate the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to a permanent seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The Joint Chiefs are responsible for ensuring policy, planning, and training of their respective military services, and serve collectively and individually as military advisors to the President of the United States and Secretary of Defense.  Elevating the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff places the Chief in a position to influence Department of Defense planning and budgetary deliberations, and advocate for troop readiness and response utilization in the home front mission.

“Certainly, our Guard members deserve such a degree of recognition as well as a strong voice at the table when military strategies are developed.  I am so proud of West Virginia’s Guard members and glad to have supported this amendment as one way to help raise the profile and address the needs of these dedicated, loyal men and women in uniform,” said Rahall.

The second amendment sought by Rahall would restore $10 million in funding to the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Program, a training and readiness initiative of the National Guard and Reserves.  The IRT program can be a source of funding that also enables the National Guard to provide labor and engineering assistance in building facilities with ancillary benefits to the communities in which the facilities are located.

“The National Guard has provided assistance to the Boy Scouts during their National Jamboree – last year supporting over 40,000 scouts with more than 600 Guard Members from 15 States.  I hope that this amendment enables the Boy Scouts of America and the National Guard to continue their collaboration and beneficial relationship as the Boy Scout Reserve in Fayette County takes shape to host the 2013 National Scout Jamboree and the 2019 World Scout Jamboree,” said Rahall.

The National Defense Authorization Act is expected to pass the House this week and then moves to the Senate for consideration.

 

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