Synergizing the 24-hour Minuteman for Upcoming Federal Appropriations Fight
Brig. Gen. (CA) Pete Cross became the National Guard Association of California’s first 24-hour Minuteman Volunteer Friday, Feb. 6, 2020 when he paid his dues and became a life member.
In the tradition of Minuteman volunteer who took up arms to beat back British oppression, Pete volunteers one day per year, 24 hours, to furthering National Guard Association Business. With 8,760 hours in a Year, that’s less than .3% of the General’s time.
The 24-hour Minuteman is NGAC’s Membership Chairman, Lt. Col. (Ret) Jerry Clements brain child. It’s a spinoff, one might say, of President John F. Kennedy’s famous question, “Ask not what your California National Guard and State Guard can do for you; but what you can do for your California National Guard and State Guard?”
Cross responded, when NGAC Executive Director Jim Lubey accepted his lifetime membership, and the commitment to volunteer 24 hours of his year, applying the military professional skills he gained from his military education, experience, and training as follows:
- 8 hours using knowledge gained from Military Colleges, training, and experience for research and analysis of joint NGAC/CNG projects to prepare Congressionally-mandated Quadrennial Reports, and National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) resolutions for National Guard and Reserve Equipment Authorizations/National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) consideration;
- 4 hours volunteering for Chapter fundraisers and activities supporting your Chapter and unit
- 4 hours of NGAC Executive Council/NGAC Chapter Officer Meetings/Boss-lift information Packets;
- 4 hours public briefs before civic groups, local civic leaders, Congressional District Officers, or possibly legislative testimony.
- 4 hours Unit and family socials Sponsored by the NGAC
“This movement in NGAC and California National Guard relations comes at a critical juncture, as we learn that the Pentagon plans to raid nearly $1 Billion from the National Guard fiscal year 2021 appropriations,” said NGAC President COL (Ret) Stan Zezotarski. “This includes withdrawing $790 million from the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Authorization (NGREA) for equipment modernizations, $169 Million for the C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes that California relies heavily for carrying Modular Airborne Fire Fighting (MAFFS) to douse wildfires; and $100 million for HUMVEE [High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle] modernization that California uses for high-water fording during floods to rescue marooned residents.
With $754 Billion on the table for the largest military buildup since the Reagan Administration, this is a glaring revelation of DoD’s lack of confidence in the National Guard.” Brig. Gen. (Retired) Roy Robinson said with California’s 53 Congressional delegates, that all state National Guards in the NGAUS fold are strengthened with a vibrant NGAC. Yet, California has sent the fewest delegates to the annual NGAUS conference for the last several years, arguably placing NGAUS in the vulnerable position they find themselves with the upcoming NGREA/NDAA projections.
We’re working to change that, Membership Chair Clements said. Our strategy is three-fold. First, we’re working with Brig. Gen. (CA) Cross to surge an NGAC Capitol Chapter to serve as the flagship of the NGAC/CNG Counter-suicide Task Force. With the National Guard having the highest suicide rate among the three components, we want to dismiss this as a potential argument that the National Guard is not as lethal as its Active Duty Brethren.
We’re going to take away DoD’s possible argument that the National Guard cannot overcome its unique part-time force and geographical disbursement of armoires challenges to end the tragedy of military suicides in the National Guard. Our counter-suicide task force will beef up the CNG’s already successful suicide prevention program with additional resources from the nonprofit organizations and Faith Groups, Clements said.
Second, we want to strengthen California National Guard’s sagging influence with its 53 Congressional districts by surging Chapters in units that are in the cross hairs of DoD’s NGREA and force structure budget withdrawals, such as the 146th Air Wing. Then send these apostles to Congressional District Offices and local civic groups to brief what’s at stake for California if the NGREA and force structure funding withdrawals are implemented. Simultaneously, the NGAC works with CNG on broader Congressional audiences. Finally, we will be working with these chapters to submit resolutions at the 2020 NGAUS Conference in Boston to restore the NGREA and force structure into the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
To salt our influence, the NGAC is proposing to Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin that we court Defense Industry Representatives to come to California at our NGAC Conference this August for a face to face with the general, the 195th Air Wing Commander, Army Division Commander, and key CNG leaders on Baldwin’s priority list for briefing on the role C-130Js and HUMVEEs play in both our federal and state mission.
As Jerry is known for joking, “if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” But as we all know; the Minuteman Tradition is responding on a Minute’s notice. Imagine what the difference the California Minuteman, accustomed to responding on a minute’s notice, can do for his/her California National Guard, National Guards in all 54 states and territories, and the Total force with 24 hours out of their year–.3% of their time?
Volunteer for this fight to keep the California National Guard relevant by becoming a 24-hour minuteman volunteer. It’s arguably the last minute, but it’s the last minute that we get things done. For those wishing to follow Cross’ lead, and become involved in the imperative issues facing the CNG, please contact Membership Chairman LTC (Ret) Jerry Clements, at Membership@ngac.org.