Gates rejects gubernatorial control of Guard forces

Published 11 May 2007

Defense secretary accepts most of the recommendations of an independant commission; National Guard chief to get a fourth star?

Recent events in Kansas, when seen in light of earlier ones related to Hurricane Katrina, have underlined the importance of the National Guard in any credible disaster recovery plan. Nevertheless, the administration continues to hold the position that command of National Guard forces during emergencies must rest in the Pentagon, and not in the office of the governor, as some governors have suggested. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s comments came as as part of his announcement that he had approved twenty of the twenty-three recommendations of an independant commission charged to look at the Guard’s role in emergency planning. The commission found that federal authorioties generally failed to take into consideration the views of states and governors, a problem Gates vowed to fix. He then descended into flattery, the AP reported. “Specifically, he said, he approved making the chief of the National Guard a four-star general, rather than a three-star.”