Leaders Detail Future of National Guard | Article

General Daniel Hokanson, head, National Guard Bureau, and Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony L. Whitehead, the office's senior adviser to the head of the National Guard Bureau, will discuss Hokanson's requirements for the job.  National Guard - people, ready, modern, and change - and reporters at the Pentagon Jan.  24, 2023.

General Daniel Hokanson, head, National Guard Bureau, and Air Force Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony L. Whitehead, the office’s senior adviser to the head of the National Guard Bureau, discuss Hokanson’s priorities for the National Guard – people, readiness, technology. , and change – with reporters at the Pentagon Jan. 24, 2023.
(Photo Credit: Army National Guard Master Sgt. Jim Greenhill)


ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Guard is still the most important part of the US military, and it is changing to remain active in the future, Major General Daniel R. Hokanson, head of the National Guard Bureau, said on Tuesday.

Hokanson and Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony L. Whitehead, senior adviser to the head of the National Guard Bureau, held a press conference on the challenges facing the National Guard and its 430,000 members.

The National Guard is the reserve of the US military. Guards are ready today and must be ready for the future. He was part of the army that fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, and also worked for the governors of the state. They also have missions on the US-Mexico border. Guardians are called upon to help Americans after fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and more. Thousands of National Guardsmen have helped Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today’s National Guard is ready and capable and an integral part of the nation’s security,” Hokanson said. “Like an Army combat center [and] The Air Force, our Soldiers and Airmen were built to fight our nation’s wars. It is the management, training and combat equipment that allows us to serve our communities in times of crisis. “

With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over, the National Guard still has 22,000 personnel deployed overseas. “In 2022, we provided land and air forces to all American forces,” the official said. “This includes military forces in the Middle East and Europe; the support of tanker aircraft around the world and fighter jets; and training with our allies and partners around the world.”

With an eye to the front, Hokanson and Whitehead began researching programs for the “people” since everything depends on Guard members and their families.

The general said nearly 60,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are without health care. “That’s why the Health Care for Our Troops Act is on my radar,” he said.

The bill would provide free health insurance to members of the National Guard and other reserve units.

“This is the right thing to do for our members and their families, who often have financial and medical problems,” he said. “Yes, there is a cost to this, but I believe the cost of lost preparation is greater than the cost of medical care. The Health Care for Our Troops Act is the right thing to do, morally and in terms of medical care. Our strength.”

Hokanson also argues that Guardsmen who perform the same duties as their co-workers should receive equal pay. “Like them, we spend weeks, months, even years away from our families, but being side by side doing the same work and the same jobs and not being treated the same is something that needs to be addressed,” he said. he said. “Job reform goes a long way toward addressing this imbalance, which is also critical to our recruitment and retention efforts.”

On the operational side, the Army will reorganize its forces and units to form combat units for all allied forces in the near future, he said. “This will bring us closer to the Army, make rotation more predictable, and give our guards more leadership opportunities. Above all, it will ensure we are ready whenever our country calls.”

The Guard also has a military planning unit off the coast of the US. The Guard’s State Partnership Program is in its 30th year. It partners with state and foreign military forces. A notable example is California’s long-term partnership with Ukraine.

The last challenge is power management. “We did a 25-year state-of-the-art map of all of our major equipment,” Hokanson said. “We are at odds with the Army on things like multi-role missions, long-range fires, main battle tanks, air defense, future mobility upgrades and more.”

The Guard will not appear in tomorrow’s fights with yesterday’s weapons. “We need to be united and have the same equipment whenever possible,” he said. “In terms of the size of the Air Force, we have 25 combat groups, and we need to maintain all 25 combat groups because our country needs them. These groups need modern fighters to provide the strength to fight and the depth of the ways that our country needs to deter our enemies.”

The Guard played an important role in Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression. The California-Ukraine agreement extends to the establishment of the Partnership for Peace project after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Warsaw Pact. In 2014, after Russia’s first invasion of Crimea, the Guard worked to “identify areas where [the Ukrainian military] “He felt that he could do better to prepare,” said the official.

Hokanson and Whitehead said that last year, there were many people who thought that Russia would defeat their neighbor. But the training they received – especially the development of the non-commissioned military – helped to undermine Russia’s interest in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

“As our security forces have been around since 2015 with a joint military force [in] In Ukraine, we have been focusing on developing their non-commissioned officers, as well as several other areas that they really want to work with,” said the official. their country. But it was one of the things we worked on, and we continue to work with the Ukrainian people right now. The important thing is [to work on the] The areas they ask us to help with are education. We try and focus on that. “

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