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CGOs Get Close Look at How Washington Works

10-12-22 WR Capitol
10-12-22 WR Capitol
Washington Report

Nearly 50 company-grade officers from across America saw the legislative process and the role NGAUS has in it during the association’s second Capitol Summit in Washington, D.C., last week.

Attendees heard from — and questioned — NGAUS leaders, former lawmakers, congressional staffers and senior National Guard Bureau generals.

The visitors also received a bus tour of the District, breaking into small groups and visiting Capitol Hill offices.

Most of the trip's events occurred at the National Guard Memorial, the association’s headquarters in the nation’s capital.

"I thought that it was an amazing experience that is not normally afforded to company-grade officers,” said 1st Lt. Christian Williams of Ohio.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity for a lot of us at the company level to come up here and actually have that opportunity to, to get answers and to understand the process."

NGAUS conducts two Capitol Summits annually.

Each state and territory can select one participant for each summit.

The association covers the full cost of attendance — travel, hotels and meals.

"It's definitely eye-opening,” said Cpt. Amanda Short of Oregon.

"I think taking perspective back to our states is definitely the most important part, as well as understanding what our role is in how our representatives and senators operate here."

Williams said one of the program's standout moments was learning about how legislation passes.

"It definitely gave me a little bit more clarity as to how things are managed along that annual timeline,” he said.

"It actually kind of mirrors a lot of things that we do as a company-grade officers when it comes to our train management cycle."

Scott said she learned the importance the Guard plays in shaping legislation impacting the armed forces.

“I think, really, it boils back down to perspective,” she said.

"Perspective of me as a company leader, how I can best take care of my troops, how I can best train the next leaders behind me and understand how they can influence, because I think it's part of just being present," she continued.

“Being present in any professional organization and understanding how they play a role in the greater government is going to keep things rolling along and make sure that progress is happening."

Williams added meeting congressional staffers was another highlight as the experience let him share his unit's needs.

"That was really cool that we actually had got to have those conversations,” he said. “I really love that."

Ultimately, Scott said the Capitol Summit was an opportunity to expand networks.

"I've made some points of contact for personal vacations or future career possibilities,” she said.

— By Donald Lambert