A full house of state National Guard association executive directors is attending the 19th NGAUS Legislative Workshop today at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C., where they will hear from lawmakers, defense leaders and other experts.
"The purpose is to provide our members and executive directors from the field a look at how things get done in the nation's capital," said Mike Waite, the NGAUS legislative director. "We have a full slate of speakers to address the converging interests of state issues, national issues and where the Guard fits in the process."
He said about 80 people are attending the day-long workshop.
Waite hopes the executive directors will return to their states with a better understanding of the current agenda in Congress and how they can motivate their members to help win some legislative battles on Capitol Hill.
Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, got the day off to a fast start. He told of his travels around the globe where "men and women of the National Guard are making a difference." He said his priority is preparing the Guard for the future and that requires proper funding for the proper resources.
Click here to view Gen. Grass' slide.
Speakers also included Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., and Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, who gave a perspective on being lawmakers and Guardsmen. Retired Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, the chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, discussed the role of the reserve component in national security.
Click here to view Maj. Gen. Punaro's presentation.
Congressional staffers and representatives of the National Governors Association were also on the agenda.
"It's exciting for us to host this event," Waite said. "It lets us 'talk shop' with Guard folks from across the country. We learn from them what concerns they and others have in the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia."