During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to follow through on legislation he co-sponsored as a senator that would "elevate the chief of the National Guard to the rank of four-star general and make the chief a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
Part of that promise was implemented before he became president, and part has not advanced.
The part that was implemented was to bump up the National Guard chief to four-star general rank, rather than three-star. That shift -- recommended by the Commission on National Guard and Reserves in its report to Congress on March 1, 2007 -- was made law on Jan. 28, 2008, when President George W. Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.
The part that was not implemented was to place the Guard chief on the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- something that the commission did not recommend.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 15, 2009, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Michael Mullen, said that he continued to believe that the position should not be elevated to the Joint Chiefs.
"The Joint Chiefs of Staff consists of the chairman, vice chairman and the chiefs of staff of the armed services," Mullen said. "The National Guard is a component of the armed services and is represented on the Joint Chiefs of Staff by the chiefs of staff of the Army and Air Force. A separate representation of a portion of the reserve components from a portion of the services would be inappropriate, and in my view divisive of a Total Force. As a four-star general officer, the [Guard chief] is already participating in all appropriate JCS Tank sessions when domestic issues, which fall under the purview of our National Guard, are involved. This is similar to the methodology used to include the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard when specific Coast Guard equities are involved. In addition, if I am confirmed, the [Guard chief] will continue to have full access to the upper echelons of the Joint Staff and me."
We were unable to locate any legislation that would elevate the position to the Joint Chiefs. So we rate this promise Stalled.