COLUMBUS, Ohio (2/1/13) — The National Guard Association of the United States might have appointed a new vice chair for Army to its board of directors, but one thing that won't change is the association's dedicated support to Army and Air National Guard members by working to provide them the resources needed to successfully complete their missions.
Maj. Gen. Deborah A. Ashenhurst, Ohio adjutant general, was sworn in as the new vice chair for Army Sept. 12, 2012, at the annual NGAUS conference, held last year in Reno, Nev., becoming only the second female to hold the position.
As vice chair for Army, she represents the Army National Guard component of the association, and is responsible for updating the board of directors with the latest issues concerning the budget, equipment and training that affect National Guard Soldiers in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
NGAUS is the nation's oldest military association lobbying solely for the benefit of the National Guard and educating the public about the Guard's role and history in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, Missouri adjutant general and current NGAUS chairman of the board, said he has a great deal of respect for Ashenhurst and thinks she'll be a wonderful asset for the Guard in the coming years.
“It's important to have someone who not only is knowledgeable of the business that we are about as adjutants general in our own states, but has that broader knowledge of the United States and has the capability to communicate that knowledge to the board,” Danner said. “These qualities prove to be invaluable right now, in our efforts to lobby Congress on specific issues affecting the National Guard.”
NGAUS worked regularly with congressional leaders on how the National Guard could help reduce budget costs that coincided with the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the underlying legislation by which the National Guard operates, which was signed by President Barack Obama at the beginning of this year.
Danner said that as far as costs go, he believes the National Guard is America's best value.
“We provide a professional military force at less than one-third of the cost per person as the active component. For taxpayers, you get more for a lot less with the Guard. We have a tradition in America of being a militia nation. It's a tradition of a small standing Army that is there at the tip of the spear to meet immediate needs,” Danner said. “I think now that we are getting to times of budgetary constraints and so forth, that America again will look back to its roots and see that we really are engrained in a militia nation and I think that's what we'll return to in these coming years.”
Moving forward, Ashenhurst said she envisions the National Guard playing a dynamic role as the active-duty components are required to downsize.
“I see us being the receivers,” Ashenhurst said. “We hate to lose that talent and experience of those who have to leave the active-duty component because of cost cuts. What we see is the ability for them to transfer into the National Guard so that we maintain that experience and develop an even stronger Guard.”
For more information on the National Guard Association of the United States, go to www.ngaus.org.