Incoming Joint Chiefs Chairman addresses Guard leadership

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By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell | National Guard Bureau
Dempsey
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chief of staff of the Army, speaks with Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau and Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, Vermont National Guard adjutant general, before Dempsey spoke to National Guard senior leadership during the 2011 Adjutants General Association of the United States annual conference, June 7, 2011.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Orrell)

INDIANAPOLIS (6/8/11) - If the National Guard is to remain a fully operational force they must continue to develop programs within the joint structure, the 37th chief of staff of the Army said here Tuesday.

"As [the Department of Defense] articulates their organizational designs, their modernization strategies and whatever they are going to do to maintain the Guard … as an operational force, the [National Guard] should increasingly talk about what they can bring to the joint fight," Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said.

Dempsey – nominated on Memorial Day by President Barack Obama to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – spoke to Guard senior leadership during the 2011 Adjutants General Association of the United States annual conference.

He focused on his leadership and future vision as the current chief of staff and the vision he plans to pass along to Army Gen. Ray Odireno, nominated to be the next chief of staff.

His connection to the National Guard is a great asset, said Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard.

"From 2001 to 2003, he served in a training and advisory role as the program manager for the Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program," Carpenter said. "That's the kind of experience he is bringing to the table."

Dempsey, who commanded the 1st Armored Division in 2003 and served first as the deputy and then as the acting commander for U.S. Central Command, said he wants an American military that will continue to dominate.

"I feel that we have a military who are indestructible," Dempsey said. "Our challenge going forward is to keep it that way.

"That's what this nation needs. It doesn't need an Army that's fragile, an Army that is on equal footing with other armies around the world. It needs to be indestructible, and it needs to be dominant."

Dempsey unveiled a list of focus areas and detailed how he works day-to-day to ensure every part of his list garnering the proper amount of attention.

His list focuses on areas such as the nation, the joint fight, the profession and families.

Dempsey works to maintain the relationship that has been forged over the last 10 years between the military and the American people, he said.

The support from the American public has come in large part from programs the Defense Department now has in place, and all service members must work hard to maintain that level of support, he said.

"When the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan decline … the fair question to ask ourselves is how do we maintain that connection?" he said. "We can't take that for granted … it's something that takes work."

When it comes to the families, he sent a clear message to Guard leadership that he does not want service members and their families to feel they are being forgotten but instead know they can trust senior leadership.

"That feeling of trust is what separates us from just being a job or an occupation," he said. "The one thing we can't break is trust.

"Looking toward the year 2020, if we break the trust of service members, families or society then we run the risk of becoming destroyed."

After his speech, Dempsey posted on his Facebook page, "I had a terrific visit with our National Guard leaders; these proud Citizen-Soldiers are critical to the security of our nation, and I am proud to serve with them."

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