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National Guard Magazine |
September 2021

Last Word

This is the last time I’ll have an opportunity to talk to you as the chairman of the board. And I want to talk to you about three quick things that we did last year in that virtual convention.

Chairman's Report Video Digital Version

Three principles that every officer and warrant officer in the Guard needs to never, ever, ever forget…

First, and foremost, we are the primary combat reserve of the United States Army and the United States Air Force. We are the forebearers of the great Army, Air Force and every other service that has sprung from it. And soon to be partners with our great brothers and sisters in arms in the Space Force.

Never forget that.

Second, we are a unit-based organization. No evidence of the need to understand how to sustain, operate and integrate in our great states, territories and the District of Columbia, has ever unfolded than what we have faced in the last 18 months.

Never, ever, ever let anybody outside of your great state or territory convince you that you don’t need to train to those multitude echelons of command to manage those types of crisis.

And finally, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says that the federal government will organize, arm and provide a training discipline for the National Guard. The advent of Title 32 and that requirement for the federal government to provide federal resources under state control to train to those standards is something we cannot walk away from.

If the last week and the last 20 years has proven one thing, it is the National Guard is truly always ready and always there. And the most important component of the fact that we’re always ready and always there, is not that we are a proven choice in the warfight or the first choice in the homeland, but we are the enduring choice for the partnership in every city, county, tribal nation, state, district and territory in this great nation.

Never, ever, ever forget that the patriotic and political capital of this great nation is harvested by it and through the officers and enlisted members of our great National Guard.

And those of us in the officers’ association have just one duty: You are the vanguards of that principle. You are the ones that your neighbors look to. And with times like this with all that is happening in this nation, I can tell you, safety and security is foremost not just here, but for all of our partners abroad. And the enduring partnerships that we have sown since 1636, is the reason this is the most powerful and greatest nation in the history of the world.

It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your chairman. And I’m absolutely confident the business we conduct at this association in the next two days will further advance that partnership; further prove why we’re the proven choice; provide the strength and mass that [Lieutenant] General [Jon A.] Jensen, [Lieutenant] General [Michael A.] Loh, and ultimately General [Daniel R.] Hokanson will need to fight and win the battles inside the District of Columbia.

As I’ve said many, many times, centralization of control of all of the gunpowder is not good for the survival of this great republic.

Hamilton and Jefferson hated each other. They hated each other. But they agreed about two things: greatest threat to the republic…a large standing Army and oppressive taxation.

I would argue, unfortunately, we have arrived. But the answer to the problem is to not build an Army without hope, but to turn to the Guard, the leaders of the Guard, to explain how we have endured every crisis, have been there every time.

We’re flying guys out to Louisiana and Mississippi tonight [ahead of Hurricane Ida]. And you know what’s going to happen? We are going to be there again and everything is going to be just fine because we are not a nation without hope because of you, my partners in the Guard.

Thank you very much and I look forward to the next 230 years for this great nation.

The above is the NGAUS chairman’s report from the 143rd General Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas. He is now the association’s immediate past chairman. He can be reached via [email protected].

The chairman's report and many other conference speeches are available on the NGAUS YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/NGAUS1878.