Defense Secretary James N. Mattis headlines the list of military leaders set to speak when 3,000 National Guard officers and their guests from around the country gather here this weekend for the 140th NGAUS General Conference & Exhibition.
Mattis is the first defense secretary to speak at the annual NGAUS conference in a decade. Most conference events, including business sessions, are set for the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
“We’re honored to host Secretary Mattis,” said retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “Not only is he the architect of the new National Defense Strategy, he is one of the nation’s preeminent warrior-scholars. We look forward to his insights on the importance of the citizen-soldier to our nation in the 21st century.”
Mattis is set to speak at 12:15 on Saturday. He will be followed by a Mardi Gras-inspired Louisiana Welcome that includes Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
The uniformed leaders of the Army and Air Force are also scheduled to speak Saturday. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army chief of staff, is set for 3:15 p.m. and Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, is on the agenda for 4:15 p.m.
Sunday speakers include Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, the commander of U.S. Northern Command, the combatant command with responsibility for the defense of the continental United States.
Most speakers are expected to touch on the conference theme, The National Guard: America's Trusted Sword & Shield. They are also certain to address the new National Defense Strategy, which shifts the U.S. military’s focus from terrorism and extremist insurgencies to the threats posed by an increasingly provocative and capable Russia and China.
The conference is the annual NGAUS business meeting. Conference delegates from all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia will set their 2018 legislative agenda and elect members to their governing board.
Also included in the event is a large trade show featuring more than 300 companies and organizations that market products and services to the Guard.
More conference information, the full business agenda and a complete list of exhibitors are available at www.ngaus2018.org.
REPORTERS: Conference press credentials will be available onsite at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. YouTube videos of each speaker will be posted at www.youtube.com/user/NGAUS1878 by 6 p.m. local time each day.
NGAUS: The association was created in 1878 to provide united Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by educating Congress on militia requirements. Today, 140 years later with nearly 45,000 members nationwide, NGAUS has the same mission.