National Guard November 2011 : Page 10

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS Members of Congress know the Guard. But we must make sure they know a Guardsman. WAS REFLECTING ON where we’ve come since the conference in Milwau-kee two months ago and was struck by the growing number of senators who have signed on to support the eff ort to put the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff . As I write this, that number is at 67—65 who co-sponsor comprehensive Guard Em-powerment legislation and two more who pledged to support a Guard seat at the table should it become a separate amendment to the fi scal 2012 defense authorization bill. We should celebrate that even as we wonder why 33 senators wouldn’t want to be connected to this eff ort. But the important thing for me is how we got that many of these busy, important men and women to give us their backing. Sure, the Guard is an easy sell. Our per-formance in the last 10 years both at home and abroad has been well-documented. We’re only asking for what we deserve. But reputation isn’t enough. Members of Congress are besieged by worthwhile causes and they have their pick from which to choose when it comes to who and what they support. No, I think the key to our success in gathering so much support from Capitol Hill comes from the eff orts of our members to reach out to their elected representatives. Our adjutants general burned rubber making it to the offi ces of their senators to state our case for a voice on the Joint Chiefs. We’ve also sent a clear message to the president regarding empowerment by elec-tronically signing a White House petition. This all goes to show where our real strength lies—with all of you, our mem-bers. Members of Congress know the Guard. But we must always make sure they know a Guardsman. We go back to the Constitution and demonstrate that “we, the people,” through our elected offi cials, can plot our destiny. We can ensure our success. It’s important that we sustain the pres-I Our Real Strength sure for empowerment, as well as any and all issues that aff ect the well being of our Guard family, both active and retired. Much deserved credit, of course, goes to the NGAUS staff in Washington, D.C. Re-tired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett and his hard-working staff have displayed remarkable tenacity, knowledge and professionalism in presenting our concerns on Capitol Hill. But it’s the power of the masses—you, our trusted members—that ultimately tips the scale toward action. It’s you, the life-blood of the association, who focuses the attention of our federal and state legislators on what’s important to our Guard family. Whatever the issue is—from giving the Guard this needed voice in the Pentagon to providing a veteran the right to call him-self one to securing the best equipment possible for our units—you are the ones whose voices must be heard in the halls of Congress. We can never forget that. We must continue to beat the drum in telling the Guard story to legislators at all levels, to civic groups and to anyone who wants to know more or who may seem un-clear about the advantages of today’s Guard. Let me quote from Maj. Gen. Mike Dubie’s letter last month to the chairs and ranking members of the armed services committees of both the House and the Senate. The president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States wrote, “The National Guard is America’s battle-ready, accessible, fl exible, aff ordable and sustain-able military force … which provides solu-tions to our nation’s most pressing fi nancial and national security concerns.” With all of us working together, failure is not an option. Failure can’t happen if we are committed and willing to do our part as individuals and members of the Guard. It’s this commitment to advancing the objectives of our Guard at all levels and in every arena that makes me proud to be a Guardsman! The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org. 10 | Na tional Guard

Chairman’s Message

Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala

Our Real Strength<br /> <br /> I WAS REFLECTING ON where we’ve come since the conference in Milwaukee two months ago and was struck by the growing number of senators who have signed on to support the effort to put the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff .<br /> <br /> As I write this, that number is at 67—65 who co-sponsor comprehensive Guard Empowerment legislation and two more who pledged to support a Guard seat at the table should it become a separate amendment to the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill.<br /> <br /> We should celebrate that even as we wonder why 33 senators wouldn’t want to be connected to this effort.<br /> <br /> But the important thing for me is how we got that many of these busy, important men and women to give us their backing.<br /> <br /> Sure, the Guard is an easy sell. Our performance in the last 10 years both at home and abroad has been well-documented.We’re only asking for what we deserve.<br /> <br /> But reputation isn’t enough. Members of Congress are besieged by worthwhile causes and they have their pick from which to choose when it comes to who and what they support.<br /> <br /> No, I think the key to our success in gathering so much support from Capitol Hill comes from the efforts of our members to reach out to their elected representatives.<br /> <br /> Our adjutants general burned rubber making it to the offices of their senators to state our case for a voice on the Joint Chiefs.<br /> <br /> We’ve also sent a clear message to the president regarding empowerment by electronically signing a White House petition.<br /> <br /> This all goes to show where our real strength lies—with all of you, our members.<br /> <br /> Members of Congress know the Guard.But we must always make sure they know a Guardsman.<br /> <br /> We go back to the Constitution and demonstrate that “we, the people,” through our elected officials, can plot our destiny.We can ensure our success.<br /> <br /> It’s important that we sustain the pressure for empowerment, as well as any and all issues that affect the well being of our Guard family, both active and retired.<br /> <br /> Much deserved credit, of course, goes to the NGAUS staff in Washington, D.C. Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett and his hardworking staff have displayed remarkable tenacity, knowledge and professionalism in presenting our concerns on Capitol Hill.<br /> <br /> But it’s the power of the masses—you, our trusted members—that ultimately tips the scale toward action. It’s you, the lifeblood of the association, who focuses the attention of our federal and state legislators on what’s important to our Guard family.<br /> <br /> Whatever the issue is—from giving the Guard this needed voice in the Pentagon to providing a veteran the right to call himself one to securing the best equipment possible for our units—you are the ones whose voices must be heard in the halls of Congress. We can never forget that.<br /> <br /> We must continue to beat the drum in telling the Guard story to legislators at all levels, to civic groups and to anyone who wants to know more or who may seem unclear about the advantages of today’s Guard.<br /> <br /> Let me quote from Maj. Gen. Mike Dubie’s letter last month to the chairs and ranking members of the armed services committees of both the House and the Senate.<br /> <br /> The president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States wrote, “The National Guard is America’s battle-ready, accessible, flexible, affordable and sustainable military force … which provides solutions to our nation’s most pressing financial and national security concerns.”<br /> <br /> With all of us working together, failure is not an option. Failure can’t happen if we are committed and willing to do our part as individuals and members of the Guard.<br /> <br /> It’s this commitment to advancing the objectives of our Guard at all levels and in every arena that makes me proud to be a Guardsman!<br /> <br /> The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org.

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