02.05.10

Comment On The President’s Appointment Of A Council Of Governors (Including Governor Douglas as Co-Chair) To Implement Leahy’s National Guard Empowerment Act

[Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairs the Senate National Guard Caucus (Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., is the Republican co-chair).  Leahy is the author and chief sponsor of the Guard Empowerment Act, signed into law in 2007.  The Leahy legislation, among other steps, directs the President to appoint a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise on Guard issues.  Governor Douglas of Vermont has been appointed co-chair of the Council.] 

“I commend President Obama for this step in implementing the Guard Empowerment Act, and it is fitting that Vermont will have a voice on the Council of Governors because Vermont’s Guard has long been a leader on so many fronts.  The reason I wrote the law is to help give the Guard a greater voice in policy, staffing and budget decisions.  There are important command and tactical control issues during national emergencies that need to be addressed this year.  Today’s Guard units are superb 21st Century organizations that have had to operate under a 20th Century Pentagon bureaucracy.  That now is beginning to change, and the input that governors now will have through this Council will help it to change.”

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(for additional information, below – release from Governor Douglas’ Office)

JAMES H. DOUGLAS

            GOVERNOR

State of Vermont

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release:

February 5, 2010 

Contact:  David M. Coriell

(802) 828-3333  

Governor Douglas Appointed By the President to Co-Chair Council of Governors 

Governors will work with federal officials on issues related to the use of military reserve forces in domestic emergencies 

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas has been appointed by President Obama to co-chair the Council of Governors, a bipartisan group of 10 governors who will work closely with the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as other defense and national security officials to advise on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions. 

“It is a great honor to be asked by the President to co-chair the Council,” said Governor Douglas.  “Ensuring that the state and federal governments are coordinated in response to domestic military operations and disasters is critical to the safety and security of our Vermont residents, and citizens across the country.” 

The National Guard Empowerment Act of 2007 directed the President to establish a bipartisan Council of Governors – five from each party – who will work with defense and homeland security officials on issues regarding the command structure for National Guard and active duty military forces operating within states in response to domestic disasters and emergencies. 

“Governors appreciate the opportunity to exchange ideas and views about military operations within their states,” said the Governor.  “This Council will provide a forum for the discussion of issues that might arise and ultimately lead to more effective responses to domestic disasters and emergencies.”   

On January 11, President Obama issued an executive order to formally establish the Council.  Its membership includes: 

Ø  Governor James H. Douglas, Co-Chair

Ø  Governor Chris Gregoire, Co-Chair

Ø  Governor Janice K. Brewer

Ø  Governor Luis G. Fortuño

Ø  Governor Brad Henry, Member

Ø  Governor Robert F. McDonnell

Ø  Governor Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon

Ø  Governor Martin O’Malley

Ø  Governor Beverly Eaves Perdue

Ø  Governor M. Michael Rounds

Ø  Secretary of Defense

Ø  Secretary of Homeland Security

Ø  Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

Ø  Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Ø  Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs

Ø  Commander, U.S. Northern Command

Ø  Chief, National Guard Bureau

Ø  Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard 

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