National Guard February 2011 : Page 12

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE A Turning Point Proud to be a Guardsman! P ANY OF US start the new year with a list of resolutions. I ask that you include one more to your list in 2011: Let your employer and all of your 2 elected and appointed officials at the local, e state and federal level know that you are s proud to be a Guardsman. p As the most recent elections reminded a all of us who serve in uniform, the people w we serve have a vote. The election season that ended in November brought to the forefront many N issues, with the economy and the budget is deficit occupying center stage. d From the statehouses where 23 new governors are taking charge to the 112th Congress where more than 100 new members were sworn in last month, the economy remains a priority. The continuing resolution act passed in the closing days of the 111th Congress was a result of the Senate having difficulty finding common ground on the earmarks passed in the budget. Many are calling for serious budget cuts to bring federal spending under control. In fact, many elected officials, influential policy makers, advocates and members of the media are now pointing to the Defense Department’s budget as a place to look for additional cuts. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ad-vanced the conversation last month when he proposed slowing the growth of the Pen-tagon budget over the next few years. He took aim at both programs and processes. He even called for cutting troop levels in the Army and the Marine Corps. His comments are sure to kick-start many other ideas. What does this mean for the Guard? We are at a turning point. Are we the answer for a more cost-effective Total Force or another budget line to be reduced or elimi-nated? At last count, there were at least a dozen studies underway attempting to answer M Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS Are we the answer for a more cost-effective Total Force or just another budget line to be cut? these and other questions about the Guard in the 21st century. Too often in Washington, studies provide an opportunity to choose talking points that support a particular interest. As Guard officers, you need to be armed with a strategy and a message to tell the Guard story. It is your grassroots effort that will prevail. Years ago, this association unasham-edly predicted that a properly resourced National Guard was the answer for the all-volunteer force. For the Guard, at home or abroad, your performance and effectiveness is not a Pow-erPoint slide. It is a reality. As proud Guardsmen, you have validat-ed the promise of the Total Force policy. We need to ensure in this difficult econ-omy that our national, state and community leaders—your circle of influence—are made aware that the Guard, now more than ever, is the solution, not part of the problem. If you believe we are the answer, these three issues going forward are my priorities: Z Engage the new Congress, governors and senior Defense Department officials in a collaborative dialogue on adequate re-sourcing for the Guard as an operational force for state and federal missions; Z Energize a nationwide grassroots effort so that “Proud to be a Guardsman” reso-nates in each statehouse, legislature and community, so they will know that the National Guard is the answer for a cost-effective volunteer force; and Z Build upon the community-based con-cept for the Army and Air Guard. “Proud to be a Guardsman” is not just a slogan. It is who we are and what we stand for. It is my pleasure to serve. I welcome your ideas and suggestions. And as always, because the Guard is everything right about America, I’m proud to be a Guardsman. The chairman can be contacted at frank. vavala@ngaus.org. 12 | Na tional Guard

Chairman's Message

A Turning Point<br /> <br /> Proud to be a Guardsman!<br /> <br /> MANY OF US start the new year with a list of resolutions. I ask that you include one more to your list in 2011: Let your employer and all of your elected and appointed officials at the local, state and federal level know that you are proud to be a Guardsman.<br /> <br /> As the most recent elections reminded all of us who serve in uniform, the people we serve have a vote.<br /> <br /> The election season that ended in November brought to the forefront many issues, with the economy and the budget deficit occupying center stage.<br /> <br /> From the statehouses where 23 new governors are taking charge to the 112th Congress where more than 100 new members were sworn in last month, the economy remains a priority.<br /> <br /> The continuing resolution act passed in the closing days of the 111th Congress was a result of the Senate having difficulty finding common ground on the earmarks passed in the budget.<br /> <br /> Many are calling for serious budget cuts to bring federal spending under control.<br /> <br /> In fact, many elected officials, influential policy makers, advocates and members of the media are now pointing to the Defense Department's budget as a place to look for additional cuts.<br /> <br /> Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates advanced the conversation last month when he proposed slowing the growth of the Pentagon budget over the next few years. He took aim at both programs and processes.<br /> <br /> He even called for cutting troop levels in the Army and the Marine Corps.<br /> <br /> His comments are sure to kick-start many other ideas.<br /> <br /> What does this mean for the Guard? We are at a turning point. Are we the answer for a more cost-effective Total Force or another budget line to be reduced or eliminated?<br /> <br /> At last count, there were at least a dozen studies underway attempting to answer these and other questions about the Guard in the 21st century.<br /> <br /> Too often in Washington, studies provide an opportunity to choose talking points that support a particular interest. As Guard officers, you need to be armed with a strategy and a message to tell the Guard story. It is your grassroots effort that will prevail.<br /> <br /> Years ago, this association unashamedly predicted that a properly resourced National Guard was the answer for the all-volunteer force.<br /> <br /> For the Guard, at home or abroad, your performance and effectiveness is not a PowerPoint slide. It is a reality.<br /> <br /> As proud Guardsmen, you have validated the promise of the Total Force policy.<br /> <br /> We need to ensure in this difficult economy that our national, state and community leaders – your circle of influence – are made aware that the Guard, now more than ever, is the solution, not part of the problem.<br /> <br /> If you believe we are the answer, these three issues going forward are my priorities:<br /> <br /> • Engage the new Congress, governors and senior Defense Department officials in a collaborative dialogue on adequate resourcing for the Guard as an operational force for state and federal missions;<br /> • Energize a nationwide grassroots effort so that "Proud to be a Guardsman" resonates in each statehouse, legislature and community, so they will know that the National Guard is the answer for a cost-effective volunteer force; and<br /> • Build upon the community-based concept for the Army and Air Guard.<br /> <br /> "Proud to be a Guardsman" is not just a slogan. It is who we are and what we stand for.<br /> <br /> It is my pleasure to serve. I welcome your ideas and suggestions.<br /> <br /> And as always, because the Guard is everything right about America, I'm proud to be a Guardsman.<br /> <br /> The chairman can be contacted at frank. vavala@ngaus.org.<br /> <br /> Are we the answer for a more cost-effective Total Force or just another budget line to be cut?<br /> <br />

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