MARCH 8, 2006 - Posted at 3:58 p.m. CST
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senator Kit Bond says the National Guard needs a greater voice in decisions that affect its structure.
The Missouri Republican made the comments before a newly formed federal commission formed to address the changing role of Guard forces.
Despite all its contributions to national defense, Bond says the Guard is often treated as a lesser partner that is pushed around in policy and budget debates within the Pentagon. Guard forces make up nearly half of the combat force in Iraq.
Bond says the guard should have more formal relationships with the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also wants the chief of the Guard to be a four-star general.
The panel plans to release a preliminary report around June 1.