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NGB Chief, House Lawmaker Address Guard Industry Partners

12-13-23 WR Industry Day WEBSITE
12-13-23 WR Industry Day WEBSITE
Washington Report

A prominent House appropriator and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff headlined the 26th Annual NGAUS Industry Day Tuesday at the National Guard Memorial, the association’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Slides are available here.

Representatives from nearly 200 companies large and small gathered to discover the Guard's requirements and how to do business with the force. They also learned about how NGAUS lobbies Congress for more equipment and better training in future defense appropriations.

Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson reflected on his time as chief of the National Guard Bureau. Hokanson has been chief of the bureau since August 2020.

"While some things are new, some things remain the same, like the commitment of our soldiers and airmen and the support of their families," he said.

Hokanson spoke about the ongoing modernization efforts in both the Army and Air Guard during his tenure as chief and the importance of keeping the force up to date to complete its missions at home and abroad.

"That is why we rely on you, our industry partners, to help us remain a lethal, fighting force," he said. "Where we can’t outspend, we must out work, out compete and out innovate."

Hokanson added the partnership between the Guard and its industry partners is critical to the Guard’s mission.

"We are a team," he stated. "We share both of our challenges and our triumphs."

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., a member of the House Appropriations’ Defense Subcommittee and a retired Army Guard colonel, discussed how to protect the Guard’s equities in Congress with attendees.

"If you’re going to rely on your Guard for a lot of these very important missions, to be co-equal to your active-duty counterparts, you’re going to have to put them on the platforms that they’re going to fall in on should they be needed," he said.

Other speakers included Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, the director of the Army Guard, and Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, the director of the Air Guard.

"Interacting with our corporate partners may actually be the highlight of this job," said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president, who's retiring next year after serving in the position since 2017. "It’s a great place to bring people in and introduce them to the Guard family."

This year's Industry Day events kicked off Monday with a mini-workshop, "Working with NGAUS and the Guard."

Speakers included Kyle Beagle, the director of NGB’s Office of Small Business Programs.

According to Blaise Lemke, the association's industry liaison, Industry Day drew more than 180 attendees Tuesday. The mini-workshop saw 120 attendees Monday.

— By Donald Lambert