A proposal to give the National Guard an equal voice on the Joint Chiefs of Staff hit a brick wall of opposition from a steady stream of top military commanders during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday.
"In the end, I am not sure what is broken and what we are fixing," said Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. James Winnefeld.
"I am bound to voice my explicit opposition to this post as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," said Gen. Ray Odierno, who heads the Army.
But perhaps the knockout blow for the National Guard came when both Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey, told reporters at a Pentagon press conference that they were both against the idea.
"I stand with this guy," Panetta said with a laugh, pointing to Dempsey who had expressed his opposition earlier in the day during that same Senate hearing.
Panetta suggested the Guard just doesn't have the budget or the same command authority to justify the change.
"National Guard is important. The Reserves are important. It's important to hear their views. But in terms of being a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that's something that I think ought to be reserved for those that have ... direct command and direct budgets that -- that deal with our military," Panetta said.
However, President Obama supported the idea during his 2008 campaign, promising the Guard a seat at the table.
Panetta responded to that during the briefing: " I haven't really talked with the president about this -- this particular issue, but I think -- if I know this president, I think he would seriously take into consideration the recommendations of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs."
Opponents say giving the National Guard a seat on the Joint Chiefs would be redundant since the top general in the guard already attends Joint Staff meetings.
"I think we should consider the time has come, given post-9/11 duties of the National Guard, to have a seat at the table. It doesn't change command authority, doesn't turn the world upside down," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at the Senate hearing.
The man who would be the new chief, Gen. Craig McKinley, says he wants to be a spokesman for the non-federal functions of the Guard who work for the governors of their home states when not deployed overseas.
"Our nation's military planning and resourcing would be vastly improved in my opinion," he said of the proposed arrangement. He added it would be "more comprehensive, more effective, and more efficient."
Members of the National Guard Bureau have said the change would prevent the Guard from reverting to its pre 9-11 days when it was undertrained and poorly equipped.
The Senate is likely to take up the issue before Thanksgiving.