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Minnesota National Guard
More Global Readiness, With Less Cash: What Minnesotas Nordic Exchange Says About Low-Cost Defense

Minnesota National Guard Pentagon planners must now aggressively hunt for mechanisms to keep America's warfighters ready and trained for global deployment without significant overhead We believe that they don't need to look "out of the box" before they've looked within for solutions A textbook example of such a program already resides in the longest-running troop exchange within the US Department of Defense

The longstanding annual troop exchange between Norway and the Minnesota National Guard (NOREX) could be a model for low-cost partnerships that enhance tactical readiness and support long-term strategic alliances at low-cost This joint cooperation program may also be an ideal model for enhancing relationships with many other nations

Exchange programs like NOREX teach our Soldiers intercultural communication skills which will be indispensable in a future when US deployments are increasingly elements of multinational forces They also expose junior leaders to NATO allies and create confidence in both parties operational structure

Our nation has entered an era of sequestration threats, planned defense budget cuts, and manpower reductions in active duty US troop-strength numbers We simply will not be resourced and ready to fight as we have been throughout the past ten years of continuous war Meanwhile, the global security environment presents an increasingly complex set of challenges to which elements of US national power must be applied in closely allied cooperation with foreign and multinational forces

We've learned from the past decade of war that the National Guard is a vital component of expeditionary US joint force projection in mission sets that range from conventional force to counterterrorism, irregular warfare, deterring aggression, defending the homeland, and humanitarian operations Among the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan were: 1) the necessity of maintaining globally deployable National Guard forces (especially light infantry) for support of conventional and unconventional warfare, and 2) the importance of working alongside allied but foreign partner military organizations

January 2012 guidance from President Obama and then-Secretary Panetta on "Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense" made clear that global defense readiness cannot flag despite real budget cuts and smaller size To succeed, joint readiness will almost certainly rely increasingly upon specifically tailored international security assistance forces

Last month, the 40th annual NOREX troop exchange took place in both Minnesota and in Norway In recognition of the historic anniversary, the US Ambassador to Norway, the Norwegian Ambassador to the US, the Governor of Minnesota, the Norwegian Chief of Defense, a US Senator and a host of military and civilian leaders gathered on both sides of the Atlantic to celebrate the longstanding union Emphasizing the span of the influential exchange, officers with responsibilities from Denmark to Sweden also joined

At the tactical level, young soldiers from each side trained for infantry operations in cold-weather, rapid reaction to domestic contingencies, and best practices for the defense of a homeland Some of those relationships forged at the individual level will be the future of strategic national security cooperation

To our point on individual relationships- an individual 1979 NOREX exchange participant from Norway, now-General Kristin Lund, is currently the commander of the Norwegian Home Guard She took part in the first year that female soldiers from Norway were allowed to participate She later became Norway's first female general Of note, she also works with many other senior national security leaders, including her Swedish and Danish home guard counterparts Not coincidentally, the Chief of the Danish Home Guard had been informally viewing the exchange from afar His participation this year was with an eye to evaluate the creation of a similar exchange with another state National Guard

In today's era of defense austerity, low-cost, high-payoff military programs involving the Guard and Reserves will be vital to achieving 21st century national security goals Programs like NOREX should be investigated for expansion as a model for joint force readiness and to facilitate international cooperation

Andrew Borene is a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, an adjunct professor of national security policy at Macalester College and a corporate executive He is a former Associate Deputy General Counsel at the US Department of Defense and was a US Marine officer Views expressed are his own

Brigadier General Neal Loidolt is the Director of the Joint Staff of the Minnesota National Guard In addition to supervising the joint staff, his responsibilities include emergency response operations, strategic planning, and international affairs These views are his own and not official US government policy

By Andrew Borene and Brigadier General Neal Loidolt | 41113
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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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