National Guard February 2012 : Page 10

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE Our Next Challenge A Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS It is imperative that we not lose what we have built in the decade since 9/11. FTER THE “SHOT heard ‘round the Pentagon,” as I call our successful eff ort to put the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff , we popped the cork on the Champagne and celebrated with great dignity and un-derstatement our achievement. I hope you, too, took a few seconds to congratulate yourself for your contribution and perhaps toasted Gen. Craig R. McKin-ley, who will certainly justify this historic victory. But the time for celebration had to be brief. There is more work to be done. The president and the secretary of defense released last month their defense strategic guidance, and it’s clear that some tough decisions will have to be made. The result will be a military with a diff erent look, but one with the same responsibilities. The question is how to defend our na-tion and its global interests while cutting $487 billion in defense spending over the next 10 years. The task is daunting, but not impos-sible. And we recently demonstrated that we’re not easily dissuaded. Certainly, the Guard will be aff ected. We know that. As our new Army National Guard director, Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., said recently, “As we get leaner, we will train diff erently, and that is where leadership really counts.” But leadership also will be important in other areas. One is communications. Now more than ever, we have an obliga-tion to enlighten decision-makers as to how we can become an even more vital player in our nation’s security. You are all leaders. You lead men and women in the roughest game there is. For more than a decade, you have proved your worth. And now is the payoff , not just for us, but for the United States of America. Now is the time we demonstrate not only our capability to accomplish the mission, but how we do it in an effi cient manner. We must emphasize our cost-eff ectiveness as much as we do our skill at taking the fi ght to the enemy and bringing aid to those struck by disaster. We also need to keep up the momentum NGAUS has created over the last two years. Now is the time to convince our com-mander in chief and our defense secretary and our service chiefs that not only can we do whatever they ask of us, but we can do it at a lower cost than the active component. We’ve proven our skills. We can mobi-lize and deploy quickly. We can contribute to a military surge with a range of capabili-ties useful both on faraway battlefi elds and here at home. We have to make this point time and time again, in our hometowns and in our states and to our elected offi cials. We must keep making this point until conventional wisdom is that the Guard is too capable, too experienced and too much of a bargain to be turned back into a strategic reserve. We are the solution our nation’s leaders desperately need. We won’t move ahead unscathed, of course. Even under the best of scenarios, the Guard will likely lose assets, and perhaps manpower. The Guard will be a diff erent Guard down the road. But it is imperative that we not lose what we have built in the decade since 9/11. Our units need to be manned, equipped and trained to be America’s go-to force, especially when budgets tighten and big changes are in the offi ng. The Guard is the answer to the nation’s security question in these hard economic times. You know that and I know that. Our job now is to convince those outlin-ing the future military force. The time for celebration has passed. It’s time the Guard overcomes another chal-lenge. We can and will once again do it. That’s why I’m very proud to be a Guardsman. The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org. 10 | Na tional Guard

Chairman’s Message

Our Next Challenge<br /> <br /> AFTER THE “SHOT heard ‘round the Pentagon,” as I call our successful effort to put the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff , we popped the cork on the Champagne and celebrated with great dignity and understatement our achievement.<br /> <br /> I hope you, too, took a few seconds to congratulate yourself for your contribution and perhaps toasted Gen. Craig R. McKinley, who will certainly justify this historic victory.<br /> <br /> But the time for celebration had to be brief. There is more work to be done.<br /> <br /> The president and the secretary of defense released last month their defense strategic guidance, and it’s clear that some tough decisions will have to be made. The result will be a military with a different look, but one with the same responsibilities.<br /> <br /> The question is how to defend our nation and its global interests while cutting $487 billion in defense spending over the next 10 years.<br /> <br /> The task is daunting, but not impossible.And we recently demonstrated that we’re not easily dissuaded.<br /> <br /> Certainly, the Guard will be affected. We know that.<br /> <br /> As our new Army National Guard director, Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., said recently, “As we get leaner, we will train differently, and that is where leadership really counts.”<br /> <br /> But leadership also will be important in other areas. One is communications.<br /> <br /> Now more than ever, we have an obligation to enlighten decision-makers as to how we can become an even more vital player in our nation’s security.<br /> <br /> You are all leaders. You lead men and women in the roughest game there is. For more than a decade, you have proved your worth.<br /> <br /> And now is the payoff , not just for us, but for the United States of America.<br /> <br /> Now is the time we demonstrate not only our capability to accomplish the mission, but how we do it in an efficient manner. We must emphasize our costefCosteffectiveness as much as we do our skill at taking the fight to the enemy and bringing aid to those struck by disaster.<br /> <br /> We also need to keep up the momentum NGAUS has created over the last two years.<br /> <br /> Now is the time to convince our commander in chief and our defense secretary and our service chiefs that not only can we do whatever they ask of us, but we can do it at a lower cost than the active component.<br /> <br /> We’ve proven our skills. We can mobilize and deploy quickly. We can contribute to a military surge with a range of capabilities useful both on faraway battlefields and here at home.<br /> <br /> We have to make this point time and time again, in our hometowns and in our states and to our elected officials. We must keep making this point until conventional wisdom is that the Guard is too capable, too experienced and too much of a bargain to be turned back into a strategic reserve.<br /> <br /> We are the solution our nation’s leaders desperately need.<br /> <br /> We won’t move ahead unscathed, of course. Even under the best of scenarios, the Guard will likely lose assets, and perhaps manpower. The Guard will be a different Guard down the road.<br /> <br /> But it is imperative that we not lose what we have built in the decade since 9/11.Our units need to be manned, equipped and trained to be America’s go-to force, especially when budgets tighten and big changes are in the offing.<br /> <br /> The Guard is the answer to the nation’s security question in these hard economic times. You know that and I know that.<br /> <br /> Our job now is to convince those outlining the future military force.<br /> <br /> The time for celebration has passed. It’s time the Guard overcomes another challenge.<br /> <br /> We can and will once again do it.That’s why I’m very proud to be a Guardsman.<br /> <br /> The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org.

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