The new secretary of veterans affairs and senior Army and Air Force leaders will top the agenda when more than 3,000 current and retired National Guard officers and their guests gather in Las Vegas later this month for the 143rd General Conference & Exhibition.
The event, from Aug. 27 to 30, will be the first in-person NGAUS conference since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Confirmed speakers include Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, who will speak on Aug. 28; and Gen. David W. Allvin, the Air Force vice chief of staff; Gen. James H. Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command; and Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough. All three will speak on Aug. 29.
The final day of the event, Aug. 30, will feature remarks from Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff.
Most speakers will address the conference theme, The National Guard: All-In for America’s Defense. They are also certain to touch upon emerging national security threats, future defense budgets and the Guard’s place in U.S. defense strategy.
The event follows a period in which the National Guard has been repeatedly called into service amid the COVID-19 pandemic, periods of domestic unrest and repeated natural disasters, all while continuing to provide support to overseas missions.
“We’ve been apart far too long,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “The 143rd General Conference & Exhibition is our opportunity to bring the Guard family back together, celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and set the foundation for the association’s future efforts.”
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 2022 legislative agenda and elect members to their governing board.
Also included in the event is a large trade show featuring nearly 300 companies and organizations that sell or want to sell products and services to the Guard. Among the companies are some of the world’s largest defense contractors, but many are small companies attempting to break into the market.
More conference information, the full business agenda and a complete list of exhibitors are available at NGAUS.org.
In addition to announcing guest speakers, NGAUS is also working to address concerns related to the ongoing pandemic.
The association will follow local mandates on the wearing of face coverings in common areas inside regardless of vaccination status. The association will include masks in the registration bags. In addition, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the official conference hotels observe the MGM Resorts Seven-Point Safety Plan, which includes enhanced sanitation, extra air circulation, and employee screening and temperature checks.
While NGAUS encourages attendees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, neither proof of vaccine nor a negative COVID-19 test will be required to attend.
NGAUS is requesting attendees to stay home, however, if they have COVID-19 symptoms or come in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19.