The Department of Defense announced today that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has acted on 23 of the recommendations made by the Commission on the the National Guard and Reserve in its recent report.
Gates has also asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) for an assessment of how the National Guard might be organized differently to better meet the national security requirements of the United States.
After carefully reviewing the recommendations of a working group, a separate assessment from the CJCS and considering alternative points of view, the Secretary of Defense concurred in whole or substantially in part with 20 of the commission’s recommendations.
In these 20 recommendations are four that require no action since they affirm current statutory authority and existing DoD policies and practices.
The Secretary of Defense has directed that the department immediately implement nine of the 20 recommendations that can be accomplished through changes in DoD policies and procedures. He also directed that legislative proposals be drafted for three of the 20 recommendations requiring a change in law.
Gates also directed that legislation be prepared to specify that the Secretary of Defense is responsible for developing and prescribing the charter for the National Guard Bureau. These legislative amendments are expected to be included in the department’s legislative program for Fiscal Year 2008.
The department will continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security to implement four of the 20 recommendations, including: establishing the roles and responsibilities of each department in meeting civil support requirements; working more effectively as a team by exchanging representatives; providing Congress with an annual report on our collaborative homeland security and civil support activities; and establishing a council of governors.
Gates did not concur with three of the CNGR’s recommendations, including: placing federal forces under the direct control of a governor; designating the National Guard Bureau as a joint activitiy of DoD; and mandating that Northern Command’s commander or deputy commander must be a National Guard or reserve officer. However, he has directed that an alternative approach to address these recommendations be explored by DoD.
The CNGR released a report of its findings and recommendations based on an extensive review of options to empower the chief of the National Guard Bureau, enhance the National Guard Bureau and determine the adequacy of the federal planning for homeland security and civil support as required by section 529 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.
The memo signed by Sec. Gates can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2007/d20070516_OSD05132-07.pdf .