National Guard October 2011 : Page 14

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE A Call to Arms (Below is a portion of the Chairman’s Report to the 133rd General Conference and Exhibition in Milwaukee on Aug. 27.) T Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS Our stock is higher now than it has ever been. The knock at the door of Congress is louder than it has ever been. HE STAFF SUGGESTED that maybe I should educate our new members— our young offi cers—about NGAUS: Who we are, our building in D.C., our legislative achievements, our membership, the support of our National Guard Educa-tional Foundation through the Legion de Lafayette program and on and on. But I’ve elected not to do that because I don’t think this is a forum for NGAUS 101. Right now for us, there is no bigger issue than Empowerment. We need to secure a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff , and we need to do it now. We’ve continued to be used in every confl ict and operational contingency. If we’re not part of the plan as we draw down overseas, the Guard will be pigeonholed back into a strategic reserve. The National Guard is almost half a million men and women under arms. Just to give you an illustration, the Marine Corps is 240,000 strong, including their reserves. But they have a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff . They have fi ve four-star generals. I am damn mad about that, and you should be, too. The National Guard is more than 470,000 strong. We are 32 percent of the Army and we receive 11 percent of its budget, but we maintain over 40 percent of its operating force. We are 22 percent of the Air Force and receive 6 percent of the Air Force’s budget, but maintain 36 percent of Air Force fi ghter and tanker capacity. We’re performing 30 percent of the Army and Air Force’s mission on any given day, so why haven’t we been successful in achieving what I’ll again call a no-brainer? Because we haven’t worked it hard enough and used the great equalizer—the Congress of the United States. The founding fathers had it right when they created a military structure that called for a small standing military with a militia of citizen-soldiers who could surge to fi ght the nation’s wars and protect the homeland. Today, we call it the National Guard. Also, the last time I looked, we the people, through our elected representatives, control the military. That’s the Congress of the United States. Our unique relationships in our respec-tive states and territories can correct these inequities and allow our National Guard to take its rightful place with a seat on our nation’s Joint Chiefs of Staff . How do we do this? Legislation by our elected representatives. That legislation is Senate Bill 1025, the National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act. Think about the infl uence that you have—families, friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors. We will make it known in no uncertain terms that it’s time for the National Guard to have a seat at the table. We need a voice now. This must be our rallying cry. Our stock is higher now than it has ever been. The knock at the door of Congress is louder today than it has ever been. It’s up to all of us. It’s up to all of us here and every man and woman in our ranks. We need to use all of our allies to speak with one powerful voice. We can get this done. You have never turned away from a fi ght or failed to answer our nation or state’s call. We owe it to the great men and women who have earned this voice through their sweat, their blood and, many of them, through their lives. This is a call to arms. The enemy is bear-ing down on us again just like at Lexington and Concord. We need all of you in the fi ght. The National Guard is the solution, and that is why we’re right for America. And that’s why I’m proud to be a Guardsman. The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org. 14 | Na tional Guard

Chairman's Message

Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS<br /> <br /> Our stock is higher now than it has ever been. The knock at the door of Congress is louder than it has ever been.<br /> <br /> A Call to Arms<br /> <br /> (Below is a portion of the Chairman's Report to the 133rd General Conference and Exhibition in Milwaukee on Aug. 27.)<br /> <br /> THE STAFF SUGGESTED that maybe I should educate our new members– our young officers–about NGAUS: Who we are, our building in D.C., our legislative achievements, our membership, the support of our National Guard Educational Foundation through the Legion de Lafayette program and on and on.<br /> <br /> But I've elected not to do that because I don't think this is a forum for NGAUS 101.<br /> <br /> Right now for us, there is no bigger issue than Empowerment. We need to secure a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff , and we need to do it now.<br /> <br /> We've continued to be used in every conflict and operational contingency. If we're not part of the plan as we draw down overseas, the Guard will be pigeonholed back into a strategic reserve.<br /> <br /> The National Guard is almost half a million men and women under arms. Just to give you an illustration, the Marine Corps is 240,000 strong, including their reserves. But they have a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff . They have five four-star generals.<br /> <br /> I am damn mad about that, and you should be, too.<br /> <br /> The National Guard is more than 470,000 strong. We are 32 percent of the Army and we receive 11 percent of its budget, but we maintain over 40 percent of its operating force. We are 22 percent of the Air Force and receive 6 percent of the Air Force's budget, but maintain 36 percent of Air Force fighter and tanker capacity.<br /> <br /> We're performing 30 percent of the Army and Air Force's mission on any given day, so why haven't we been successful in achieving what I'll again call a no-brainer? Because we haven't worked it hard enough and used the great equalizer–the Congress of the United States.<br /> <br /> The founding fathers had it right when they created a military structure that called for a small standing military with a militia of citizen-soldiers who could surge to fight the nation's wars and protect the homeland. Today, we call it the National Guard.<br /> <br /> Also, the last time I looked, we the people, through our elected representatives, control the military. That's the Congress of the United States.<br /> <br /> Our unique relationships in our respective states and territories can correct these inequities and allow our National Guard to take its rightful place with a seat on our nation's Joint Chiefs of Staff .<br /> <br /> How do we do this? Legislation by our elected representatives. That legislation is Senate Bill 1025, the National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act.<br /> <br /> Think about the influence that you have–families, friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors. We will make it known in no uncertain terms that it's time for the National Guard to have a seat at the table.<br /> <br /> We need a voice now. This must be our rallying cry. Our stock is higher now than it has ever been. The knock at the door of Congress is louder today than it has ever been.<br /> <br /> It's up to all of us. It's up to all of us here and every man and woman in our ranks. We need to use all of our allies to speak with one powerful voice. We can get this done. You have never turned away from a fight or failed to answer our nation or state's call.<br /> <br /> We owe it to the great men and women who have earned this voice through their sweat, their blood and, many of them, through their lives.<br /> <br /> This is a call to arms. The enemy is bearing down on us again just like at Lexington and Concord. We need all of you in the fight.<br /> <br /> The National Guard is the solution, and that is why we're right for America. And that's why I'm proud to be a Guardsman.<br /> <br /> The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org. <br />

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