RENO, Nevada (Aug. 18, 2023) — The civilian head of the Air Force and the senior officers of the Army and the National Guard will top the agenda when more than 2,000 current and retired Guard officers gather for the 145th NGAUS General Conference & Exhibition.
The conference is the annual meeting of the nation’s oldest military association, which today is the voice in Washington for Army and Air National Guard officers nationwide. Conference business sessions open tomorrow with presentations by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau.
“This is the most important meeting of the year for the National Guard,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president.
“Not only will we conduct the business of our association, which includes setting our legislative agenda, we will hear from Pentagon leaders and see the latest products and services from the defense industry,” Robinson said.
Speakers include Gen. Randy A. George, the Army vice chief of staff acting as the Army chief of staff.
Most speakers will address the conference theme, America’s National Guard: A Local Force with Global Reach.
It is an especially appropriate slogan this year as the Guard celebrates the 30th anniversary of its State Partnership Program, which now includes 100 countries worldwide. The Guard has also contributed to operations and exercises in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.
The National Guard’s contributions to the nation’s defense illustrate why the conference will attract more than 320 defense firms.
In addition to serving as the military’s first responder during domestic emergencies, the National Guard provides 39% of the Army’s operational force and 30% of the Air Force’s operational force at a much smaller percentage of each service’s budget.
The National Guard currently has soldiers and airmen deployed to Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia also have 94 individual strategic partnerships with nations across the globe, including Ukraine.
The largest NGAUS trade show is the first big event of the conference. It opens at 10 a.m. tomorrow with a ribbon-cutting. Among the exhibitors are some of the world’s largest defense contractors, but also some are smaller companies attempting to break into the market.
NGAUS has added a special spouses seminar on Sunday featuring presentations on family issues. Kelly Hokanson, the wife of Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Margo Berry, the wife of Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the adjutant general of Nevada and the association's vice chairman-Air, will host the seminar.
More conference information, the full business agenda and a complete list of exhibitors are available at www.ngaus.org/events/145th-general-conference-exhibition.
Reporters: All major conference events will be held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. A press office will be established in the facility.
NGAUS: The association was created in 1878 to provide united Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by educating Congress on militia requirements. Today, 145 years later with more than 40,000 members nationwide, NGAUS has the same mission.