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Who is S-E-A?
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau

SEA Tony L. Whitehead is the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Pentagon, Washington D.C. He serves as the Chief’s principal military advisor on all enlisted matters affecting training, utilization, health of the force, and enlisted professional development. As the highest enlisted level of leadership, he provides direction for the enlisted force and represents their interests.

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Office of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief, National Guard Bureau Mission Statement

Committed to supporting and empowering the National Guard's enlisted force and their families. Their mission is to ensure that enlisted members have ample opportunities for growth and professional development. They provide expert advice and guidance to the Chief, National Guard Bureau to ensure that policies, programs, and resources align with the CNGB’s priorities, thereby contributing to the morale, welfare, and readiness of our Guardsmen. The office aims to foster a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and respect that values each service member's contributions. The ultimate goal of the office is to educate and empower the National Guard's enlisted force to successfully execute the National Defense Strategy.


SEA's Three Priorities
  • The Mission of the National Guard:
    As the combat reserve of the Army and Air Force, the NG will: compete, and when necessary, fight and win across all domains to defend America, ensure our national interests abroad and protect our communities.
  • The History of the National Guard

    After Operation Desert Storm, the National Guard saw its federal mission change, with more frequent call-ups in response to regional crises in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and the skies over Iraq. The Guard also expanded its scope of operations with peacekeeping rotations in the Sinai and the Balkans.

    Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of Guard members have mobilized into federal service to provide security at home and combat terrorism abroad. These men and women served in harm's way during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq (2003-2011) and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (2002-present).

    In the largest and swiftest response to a domestic disaster in history, the Guard deployed more than 50,000 troops in support of the Gulf States following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The National Guard continued to assist friends and neighbors as they endured multiple deployments overseas, and also trained to effectively respond to local contingencies and other emergencies.

    The National Guard continues its historic dual mission, providing trained units to the states, territories and the District of Columbia and keeping itself equipped to protect life and property. The Guard also provides trained units to the nation equipped and ready to defend the United States and its interests all over the globe.

  • The Leadership of the National Guard

In order for our National Guard to continually create some of the best enlisted leaders in the DoD, we can be prepared by:

  • Be confident in their decision making
  • Be prepared to accept delegated responsibility and accountability
  • Take risks

National Guard service members, our families and employers must be prepared to work through the challenges that come with serving our communities and our nation. We have proven time and again that we are adaptable to a variety of missions.

  • Actively engage members as mission planners and leaders who can execute austere mission sets.
  • Provide the opportunities to engage our families, employers, and community leaders in training, pre-deployment, deployment, and messaging.
SEA Videos
Video by Master Sgt. Jonathan Young
National Guard Bureau, Senior Enlisted Advisor
National Guard Bureau
April 1, 2024 | 1:20
SEA Tony L. Whitehead is currently serving as the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. He is the sixth Guardsman to hold this position. Whitehead is the first to hold the unique Air Force rank of SEA, equivalent to the parent service’s senior enlisted leaders, such as the Sergeant Major of the Army and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. The position now has unique associated colors. As the pinnacle of enlisted leadership, Whitehead guides the enlisted force and voices their interests. (Air National Guard video byMaster Sgt. Jonathan Young)
SEA News
SEA's Reading List
The Change Agent: How a Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison Transformed His World by Damon West

"The Change Agent: How a Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison Transformed His World" by Damon West is a memoir that tells the incredible story of Damon West's journey from a promising college quarterback to receiving a life sentence in prison due to his involvement in criminal activities related to drug addiction. The book shares his experiences of hitting rock bottom, finding redemption, and ultimately transforming his life while in prison.

Through perseverance, self-reflection, and the support of others, Damon undergoes a profound personal transformation, turning his life around and becoming an advocate for positive change, both inside and outside of prison. The book offers insights into overcoming adversity, finding hope in the darkest of circumstances, and the power of resilience and redemption.

Key Themes: Resilience and Adversity, Personal Transformation, Leadership, Community and Support, Empathy and Understanding

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

"Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, is an insightful guide that equips readers with practical strategies and techniques for adeptly handling challenging conversations in various aspects of life. Whether it's navigating personal relationships, engaging in professional settings, or addressing issues within organizations, this book provides valuable insights.

Emphasizing the importance of mastering crucial conversations—those emotionally charged discussions where differing opinions and high stakes can ignite strong emotions—the authors offer tools and frameworks that empower individuals to approach these conversations with confidence and skill. Through real-life examples, actionable strategies, and practical tips, the book aims to help readers navigate crucial conversations with finesse, ultimately leading to improved outcomes and stronger, more meaningful relationships.

Key Themes: Creating Safety, Mastering Emotions, Staying Focused on Dialogue, Exploring Contrasting Perspectives, Reaching Mutual Understanding

Row The Boat by Jon Gordon and P.J. Fleck

"Row the Boat" by Jon Gordon and P.J. Fleck is a captivating and motivational book that draws inspiration from the remarkable life and coaching philosophy of P.J. Fleck, a highly accomplished American football coach celebrated for his tenure at Western Michigan University and later at the University of Minnesota.

The title, "Row the Boat," serves as a powerful metaphor in Fleck's coaching philosophy, encapsulating the values of perseverance, teamwork, and overcoming adversity. Fleck frequently employs the phrase "Row the Boat" to motivate his players and cultivate a mindset of unwavering effort, resilience, and dedication to a common goal.

The book extensively delves into Fleck's personal journey, chronicling his own encounters with adversity and triumph over challenges. It intricately explores his coaching principles, emphasizing the significance of embracing a positive attitude, upholding a strong work ethic, and nurturing a culture of responsibility and teamwork. Overall, "Row the Boat" offers profound motivational insights and actionable strategies for individuals and teams seeking to attain their objectives, surmount obstacles, and foster a winning mindset, both in sports and in life.

Key Themes: Grit and Resilience, Teamwork and Unity, Leadership and Vision, Embracing Change, Mindset and Attitude

One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of a Teams by General (U.S. Army ret.) Stanley McChrystal

"One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams" by General (U.S. Army retired) Stanley McChrystal is a compelling and insightful leadership book that delves into the intricate challenges and effective strategies of leading in dynamic and rapidly evolving environments. Leveraging his extensive experience as a former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, McChrystal adeptly shares profound insights on how to transform traditional hierarchical structures to effectively meet the demands of modern, interconnected organizations.

At the heart of the book lies the concept of creating a "team of teams" - a nimble, decentralized organizational framework designed to facilitate swift decision-making, cultivate a spirit of collaboration, and empower individuals and teams to operate autonomously while remaining aligned with overarching objectives. Through the use of captivating real-world examples and illuminating case studies, McChrystal vividly illustrates how these principles can be effectively applied across diverse settings, ranging from military operations to the corporate world and beyond, in order to cultivate resilient, high-performing teams equipped to thrive in today's intricate and unpredictable global landscape.

Key Themes: Adaptability and Agility, Shared Consciousness, Empowered Execution, Transparency and Communication, Continuous Learning and Improvement

The Long Game: China's Grand Strategy to Displace American Order by Rush Doshi

In "The Long Game: China's Grand Strategy to Displace American Order," Rush Doshi delves deep into an exploration of China's burgeoning strategic aims and its concerted efforts to restructure the global order. Drawing on his profound expertise in China's foreign policy and national security, Doshi meticulously dissects the enduring objectives and methods employed by the Chinese government to expand its influence and challenge the dominance of the United States on the global stage. Through a comprehensive analysis, "The Long Game" offers profound insights into China's grand strategy and its profound implications for the future of global politics, security, and economics. It is an indispensable resource for policymakers, scholars, and anyone intrigued by the intricate dynamics of China's ascendancy and its ramifications for the international order.

Key Themes: Strategic Objectives, Geopolitical Challenges, Economic Statecraft, Technological Ambitions, Soft Power and Influence Operations

Leadership: How Legendary Leaders Speak: 451 Proven Communication Strategies of the World's Top Leaders (Speak for Success) by Peter D. Andrei

"Leadership: How Legendary Leaders Speak: 451 Proven Communication Strategies of the World's Top Leaders (Speak for Success)" by Peter D. Andrei is a thorough exploration of communication techniques used by influential leaders across different fields. Andrei meticulously dissects the communication strategies employed by these famous figures, offering readers a wealth of insights and practical advice to enhance their own leadership and communication skills.

Andrei delves into the art of effective communication, highlighting the importance of crafting compelling messages that resonate with audiences. He examines persuasive speaking techniques, including the power of storytelling and emotional appeal, which can captivate listeners and inspire action. Moreover, Andrei emphasizes the significance of nonverbal communication, such as body language and tone of voice, in conveying authenticity and building trust.

A key strength of the book lies in its adaptability, as Andrei showcases how legendary leaders tailor their communication styles to suit different audiences and contexts. By analyzing the communication strategies of these luminaries, readers gain valuable insights into building rapport, fostering positive relationships, and establishing credibility as leaders.

Key Themes: Effective Communication Strategies, Persuasive Speaking Techniques, Storytelling and Emotional Appeal, Nonverbal Communication, Adaptability and Flexibility, Building Trust and Credibility


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