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WASHINGTON — The Senate has voted to expand the Joint Chiefs of Staff to include the National Guard despite the opposition of the current chairman and service chiefs.
The Senate approved an amendment to the sweeping defense bill by voice vote Monday night. The effort led by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had overwhelming support with some 70 co-sponsors.
Leahy argued that the roles of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard have changed significantly in a post-Sept. 11 world. Significant numbers of guardsmen and reservists have seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The service chiefs had testified earlier this month against expansion, saying there was no compelling reason to alter the status quo.