Former TAGs Now Fill Top 3 National Guard Bureau Posts
For the first time since 1954, three former adjutants general are serving the National Guard Bureau’s top three positions.
Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson was sworn in as chief of the National Guard Bureau on Aug. 3, with Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen and Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh taking on the roles of Army and Air Guard directors, respectively, in August as well.
Hokanson said serving as an adjutant general, the military head of Guard forces in a state or territory, brings additional insight into making national-level decisions.
“Our Guard members in the states face unique challenges in their warfight and domestic response missions,” said Hokanson, a former adjutant general of Oregon. “The experience we gained as [adjutants general] provides us perspective on those challenges. Ultimately, this will help inform our decisions and factor into the advice we provide to key leaders going forward.”
In his change of responsibility ceremony, Loh acknowledged the currently serving adjutants general and the continued support they can expect to receive at the national level.
“I know firsthand the amount of work you put in, especially during these challenging times,” said Loh, who served as the adjutant general of Colorado.
Jensen, who served as the adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, echoed a similar sentiment during his change of responsibility ceremony.
“To the great collection of senior leaders we have serving as adjutants general, I look forward to serving you all as we meet the challenges that face our nation, our states, and our Army at this time and into the future,” he said.
In 1954, Maj. Gen. Edgar C. Erickson, who served as the adjutant general of Massachusetts, was the NGB chief. Brig. Gen. William Abdenroth headed the Army Guard, while Brig. Gen. Earl Ricks oversaw the Air Guard.
Abdenroth had been commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, and Ricks was the adjutant general of Arkansas. But while Abdenroth and Ricks headed up the Army and Air Guard, neither was referred to as “director.”
“The precursor to the service director positions was established at the rank of brigadier general in the mid-1940s, with the establishment of the Air National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Adam Morgan, an NGB historian.
The director positions were then known as the chief of the Army Division and chief of the Air Division, with the NGB chief having oversight on the Guard as a whole, he said. By the early 1970s, the positions had evolved.
“Around 1970, [the] Total Force policy emerged, prompting structural changes designed to improve the process of integrating the National Guard and reserve with the active component,” Morgan said.
Those changes, he added, were in part reflected in the progression of the positions’ rank. “The top positions were designated as directors and then elevated to the rank of major general, and further elevated to the lieutenant general rank in 2001,” Morgan said.