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Saturday, February 03, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 2/2/2007

Guard Relationship with DoD, DHS ‘Hit-and-Miss,’ Says Blum.
Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves Wednesday that other agencies have somewhat adapted to the Guard’s more significant national security role, but the Guard’s charter should formally recognize that role.

“It’s ad hoc and hit-and-miss,” General Blum said, adding that the NGB chief should have a formal relationship with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the defense secretary.

Lawmakers’ answer to this—and a top NGAUS priority—is the National Guard Empowerment Act of 2007, which would, among other things, make the NGB chief a four-star general with a JCS seat.

But Defense officials continue to resist such legislation.

“I would encourage that in whatever is rewritten in the charter that we recognize the unique capabilities of the chief of the National Guard Bureau,” said Gen. Peter Pace, JCS chairman, but he is against making the NGB chief a JCS member.

“If you make this individual a member of the Joint Chiefs, you create two armies and two air forces,” he said. “You will do major damage to the synergy that we’ve gotten. We are there and should not take a step back.

Last year’s defense authorization act asked the commission to offer a recommendation on such legislation by March 1.

General Blum testified five days after the Senate confirmed a two-year extension in his term.

He has served as NGB chief since April 2003.

Kiefner, Former NGAUS President, Dead at 76.
Retired Lt. Gen. (Mo.) Charles M. Kiefner, NGAUS president from 1988 to 1990 and Missouri adjutant general from 1973 to 1977 and from 1981 to 1993, passed away in Dothan, Ala., Saturday.

He was 76.

General Kiefner was the youngest officer ever to lead the Missouri National Guard.

In 1973, then-Gov. Christopher “Kit” Bond appointed the Cape Girardeau, Mo.-born lieutenant colonel, then only 42.

General Kiefner was a political supporter, a friend and a great leader, now- Senator Bond told the Southeast Missourian.

“He had great leadership ability and he related to the men and women of the Guard,” Senator Bond, R-Mo., co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus. “He was not only very popular but a very effective adjutant general.”

Senator Bond recalled his first year as governor as a time he relied heavily on General Kiefner.

A major Mississippi River flood, tornadoes and prison unrest all required a close working relationship, he said.

“It seems like I spent almost every weekend with Charlie and the Guard,” Senator Bond said.

General Kiefner is survived by his wife, Marilyn, and sons, John and Keith.

His visitation (9 a.m.) and funeral service (1 p.m.) are set for tomorrow at the First Presbyterian Church in Perryville, Mo.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the either the National Guard Educational Foundation (www.ngef.org) or the Missouri Military Family Relief Fund (www.mmfrf.mo.gov).

Senate Confirms General to Implement New Iraq Troop Plan.
The Senate confirmed Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus last Friday for promotion to general and assignment as commander of Multinational Force Iraq.

President Bush said he wants General Petraeus to report to Iraq quickly to “implement a plan that we believe will yield our goals.”

The president said that despite criticism of his plan to increase U.S. troop presence in the Iraqi capital and in the country’s troublesome Anbar province, he has to do what needs to be done.

Most members of Congress, he said, recognize that failure in Iraq “would be a disaster for the United States.”

“I’m the decision maker,” Mr. Bush said. “I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster. In other words, I had to think about what’s likely to work. And so I worked with our military, and I worked with Secretary Gates to come up with a plan that is likely to succeed.”

Mr. Bush also said that critics of the plan have an obligation to propose a plan they think will work.

“I’ve listened to lots of members of Congress; I’ve listened carefully to their suggestions,” he said. “And I have picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed, because I understand, like many in Congress understand, success is very important for the security of the country.”

No date has been set for General Petraeus to succeed Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who has commanded coalition forces in Iraq since July 2004.

The president nominated General Casey to become Army chief of staff to replace Gen. Peter Schoomaker.

NGAUS Welcomes New Legislative Staff Members.
NGAUS has rounded out its legislative staff in the past month, filling two vacant positions.

Retired Col. Peter J. Duffy is the legislative department’s new deputy director and joint lobbyist. Colonel Duffy is from New Hampshire and previously served as an Army judge advocate general. He left a law practice in Manchester, N.H., after 30 years as a civil litigator.

Colonel Duffy spent his active-duty years as a defense counsel, legal assistance officer and counsel to the tri-service Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a doctor of jurisprudence from the University of California at Davis and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

The legislative department also welcomes Emily Breitbach as the new Air issues lobbyist. Ms. Breitbach has served as a NGAUS legislative analyst since June 2006.

A native of Iowa, she graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is also a traditional member of the Pennsylvania National Guard and former intern for U.S. Reps. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa.

This Week in Guard History.
Feb. 2, 1951: Unnamed Hill, South Korea - The 65th Infantry, a Regular Army regiment composed entirely of men from Puerto Rico and assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, captures a strategic hill after a three-day fight.

Organized in 1899 as the Puerto Rican Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, an overwhelming number of enlisted personnel spoke only Spanish.

As a result, the officers assigned were required to speak both English and Spanish, often a hard language requirement to fill at the time.

After the Korean War, as the Army began to reduce strength and open all units to integration, officials transferred the 65th to the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1959.

NGAUS History.
The NGAUS Executive Council approved the Associate Member Program in 1989 allowing individuals other than National Guard officers to become NGAUS members.

This made association membership accessible to friends, family and other Guard supporters.

One of the first new associate members was Brig. Gen. Roger C. Bultman, then-deputy chief of the Army Reserve.

You can join online or download an application from the “Membership & Benefits” section of the NGAUS Web site at www.ngaus.org.

Annual memberships are $45 per year; life memberships are $500.

Calendar.
Feb. 7: Connecticut Guard Breakfast - The National Guard Memorial.
Feb. 8: Arkansas Guard Breakfast - The National Guard Memorial.
Feb. 14: Texas National Guard Visit - The National Guard Memorial.
Feb. 19: Presidents’ Day - Memorial Closed.
Feb. 25 to March 1: AGAUS Winter Conference - The National Guard Memorial.

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