A Meeting of the Guard Enlisted Chiefs

Earlier this month some 80 senior enlisted members from Air and Army National Guard units in 46 states and territories gathered at Sarasota Springs, N.Y. to better understand the two cultures and how to work more jointly. It was the first Senior Enlisted Leaders Conference sponsored by the National Guard Bureau, according to an April 22 NGB release. Command Sgt. Maj. David Hudson, senior enlisted advisor to NGB chief Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, said, “I truly believe that jointness for the National Guard in the future is rock solid,” despite the current disparity in cultures and funding mechanisms. During the conference, Blum told attendees: “If we’re really going to make this joint force work, you have to be the bricks and mortar to hold it together. … You’re going to have to get the young noncommissioned officers to understand what you’re living.” He reminded them that the Fiscal 2008 defense authorization act made the NGB a joint activity under the Secretary of Defense, one of several initiatives set forth under last year’s National Guard Enhancement Act. (A new version is in the works.) Blum declared, “It’s not going away, and we’re not going back.” (NGB report by MSgt. Bob Haskell)