NGAUS Hosts Company Grades in Nation’s Capital

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Washington Report

Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, advocated for NGAUS Monday when he addressed about 40 Guard company-grade officers at the National Guard Memorial, the association headquarters.

“I have come to see this organization works for us,” he said. “And nobody but us works for us.”

He spoke at the National Capital Summit, an event sponsored by NGAUS that brings company-grade officers from each state and territory to the nation’s capital for a quick up-close look at the federal government. This is the third year for the event that is held twice each year. Another group of young officers will come to Washington, D.C., at the end of this month.

The Guardsmen arrived Sunday and attended a barbecue at Lengyel’s home on Fort Lesley McNair in Virginia. The agenda includes a visit to the Capitol, the Pentagon and the Herbert R. Temple Jr. Army National Guard Readiness Center.

Lengyel said he hopes someone from the group will be speaking as bureau chief in 20 years.

“We are a better organization compared to when I joined 27 years ago,” he said. “And we became better by developing a culture of respect, candor and integrity.”

While Lengyel discussed the importance of remembering the Guard’s beginning and its evolution to an operational reserve, Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy, the Army Guard director, discussed where technology will take the Guard in the near future.

“Imagine in five to seven years that a single Guardsman will have the tools they need to do everything their company does today,” he said. “We are integrating physical space and cyberspace into our air, land and sea operations. This is how the next war will be fought.”

Retired Col. Mike Hadley, the NGAUS legislative director, talked about the association’s priorities in Congress, but also stressed the impact each Guardsman can have as a member of NGAUS.

“Don’t believe you don’t have input on Capitol Hill, because you do,” he said. “Grassroots organization is the strongest voice in advocacy here.”

First Lt. Stephanie Enloe of the Texas National Guard hadn’t heard of NGAUS until she was offered this trip to the nation’s capital.

“I’ve only had exposure with the regional variant of this organization,” she said. “But after today, I’m glad I came. Advocacy is important, and [NGAUS] is a good avenue for soldiers.”

Retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president, welcomed the visitors and said NGAUS is a steady presence on Capitol Hill, where even the most patriotic leaders and advocates of the Guard can get lost in the white noise of legislation.

“NGAUS provides a steady beat that cuts through that noise,” he said. “We keep them focused.”