The Executive Council wishes you a joyous, peaceful Christmas and Hanukkah, and a prosperous New Year. May you and your families remain safe and healthy during this holiday season.
This has been a challenging year, but this year’s trials hardened our resolve for what the New Year will bring. I want to thank the Executive Council for remaining steadfast in their Faith, Hope, and Charity. Their volunteerism was outstanding, and their loyalty to our Constitutional Oath to defend our Nation against foreign and domestic enemies, as opposed to becoming invading armies of ideological colonialism, sustained the NGAC through a bitter cultural war and the Covid-19 Pandemic. This has strengthened the NGAC, ensuring its independence and ability to advocate effectively for the benefit of our troops.
NGAC supports National Guard wartime readiness and optimal use of available resources to maximize training opportunities and deployments for the troops, and the best possible care for their families. We will continue to advocate at the federal level to ensure these priorities are met. In 2021, we will resume our outreach to the California Military Department and the California Department of Veterans Affairs to form our Suicide Prevention Task Force. We’ll simultaneously leverage the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) to integrate the Interfaith communities, Military Support Organizations (MSO), and Veteran Support Organizations (VSO) into the task force and seek PREVENTS grants to help end California’s military suicide crisis.
California’s middle-class exodus’ drain has been alarming and has had negative effects on veteran volunteerism, and we continue to evaluate this on a regular basis. We will endeavor to end Veteran Homelessness by uniting with the grassroots to pry federal grant and taxpayer funded initiatives aimed toward lifting our vets from destitution from the grips of state-run charities with their paid volunteers; and return these programs to the MSOs’ and VSOs’ fold whose unpaid volunteers can multiply job training, education, mental and health care services for our vets. We’ll campaign to exempt military retirements from state taxation; a measure the San Diego Military Advisory Council study finds will increase veteran’s personal income by $830 million and create 12,600 job opportunities.
We’ll work to ensure that the National Guard conforms with our Founding Fathers’ vision: a professional citizen-soldier militia primed for the collective defense when ordered by the POTUS, with a secondary mission to support civilian emergency response authorities once state and local emergency resources are exhausted. We’ll support federal militia reforms that ends endless deployments, force structure appropriations that make the National Guard competitive with China’s military; and legitimizes State Defense Forces (SDF) as viable militias that can interface with Department of Defense (DOD) with the National Guard Bureau (NGB) as their agent.
We’ll work with the State Legislature to amend the California Military and Veteran’s Code to limit Adjutant General service to five years, as Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution intended, as a safeguard to politicizing the Cal Guard. The state’s top general can then concentrate on the CNG’s Federal readiness; and act as the Governor’s military advisor for fulfilling his obligations in that role and to help surge his proportionate share of militias for the National Defense with citizens qualified for military service.
We’ll petition State lawmakers to reform the State Active Duty (SAD) system, patterned to generate SAD positions critical for Defense Civilian Authority (DSCA) disaster planning and response, and populate the Cal Guard with SAD positions to make them a DSCA asset. We will request DoD oversight of SAD reform with NGB acting as its agent. And petition lawmakers to delegate management of Military Youth Programs to the California Guard so the adjutant general has tools to help California prepare citizens fit for military service. As well as administrative reach to work with community policing groups and parents to shape future citizens; and solicit donations from local charities as the NGAC appeals to Congress to slash these programs from the NDAA.
Your Executive Council is rolling this agenda with more detail into its contract with its membership that we expect to release in late January. If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s the power of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Of these, charity, or love, is greatest of the three, and this now becomes the NGAC’s New Year’s theme –2021–the year of charity for our veterans, military family, and country. I look forward to working with all of you to accomplish our goals.
COL (RETIRED) Stan Zezotarski, President, National Guard Association of California