LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Individual and small-unit readiness critical priorities, the National Guard’s top officer told a gathering of senior Army Guard leaders from across the nation this week.
Individual, squad and platoon readiness are the best places for the Guard to focus in today’s dynamic operational environment, said Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Hokanson also called for sustained National Guard partnerships at the local, state, federal and international levels. And he pointed out the value of building personal, organizational and community resilience.
Hokanson asked the leaders to stay committed to freeing up time for honing personal and unit readiness by working to fit into a single drill weekend all mandatory annual training requirements, which often take the form of small and large group briefings.
Individual and unit readiness includes fitness, soldier skills, and mastery of unit tactics, techniques and procedures.
One way individual troops can serve is by continuously improving their personal readiness and by always showing up prepared to unit-level training and exercises, Hokanson said.
The National Guard’s domestic partnerships with civilian agencies maximize the ability to respond to natural and manmade disasters on little or no notice, he said.
“We sustain enduring relationships so we don’t ever have to exchange business cards during a crisis,” Hokanson reminded leaders.
The same formula applies internationally, the general said. The Department of Defense National Guard State Partnership Program builds relationships with partner nations’ militaries who learn to work with Guardsmen of every rank in the states and territories.
Those relationships mean the National Guard can immediately respond when called upon to contribute nearly anywhere in the world.
Over 30 years, the State Partnership Program has allowed the National Guard to sustain and strengthen US relationships with partners and allies, Hokanson said.
Those relationships should be nurtured by each state, Hokanson said. He encouraged Army Guard leaders to make doing so a priority because a high state of readiness and strong partnerships help the National Guard contribute to America’s resilience.
Hokanson encourages continuously strengthening resilience, inside and outside the organization, and to look for ways to help civilian partners do the same.
Readiness, partnerships and resilience are key ingredients in keeping the National Guard “Always Ready, Always There” for communities and the nation in times of need, he said.