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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. Amber Monio
SEA Whitehead visits Minnesota National Guard
National Guard Bureau
Feb. 16, 2022 | 1:18
Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony Whitehead, senior enlisted advisor to the chief, National Guard Bureau, toured various facilities and met with Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard during a visit to the state from Feb. 15-18, 2022. (U.S. Air National Guard video by Master Sgt. Amber Monio)
SEA News
SEA's Reading List
PLA Aerospace Power by China Aerospace Studies Institute This is a must-read for anyone interested in China's military capabilities in air, space, and missile forces. It provides a comprehensive overview of China's advanced fighter aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles, anti-satellite weapons, and space-based capabilities, offering valuable insights into the potential implications for regional and global security. Military professionals, policymakers, and scholars can gain valuable insight as it helps them understand China's military modernization and how it may impact regional and global security. So, if you want to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for any potential threat, this book is a great read!
Lincoln On Leadership by Donald T. Philips Are you looking for inspiration on how to become an engaged leader? Lincoln On Leadership explores the leadership style and strategies of one of America's greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Through analyzing Lincoln's ability to lead during a crisis, the book provides insights on inspiring and motivating your team in the face of complex challenges - emotional intelligence in action. The author emphasizes the importance of communication, vision, and integrity in leadership, drawing on Lincoln's experiences to illustrate these principles. If you're a military professional, "Lincoln On Leadership" is a must-read, providing insights into the essential leadership qualities, necessary to succeed in war and conflict.
On Public Speaking and Presenting by Harvard Business Review Public speaking can be nerve-wracking for many of us, but with the proper guidance and techniques, it is possible to become a confident and effective speaker. "On Public Speaking and Presenting" is a great read that provides practical advice and strategies to help enhance your public speaking and presentation skills. The contributing authors - accomplished speakers, professors, playwrights, business leaders, editors, and curators of TED Talks - share real-world examples and practical advice on structuring your message, engaging your audience, and utilizing visual aids effectively. One of the standout features of this book is its focus on managing nerves. Many people struggle with stage fright or anxiety when speaking in public, but the contributors provide techniques and strategies to help you overcome these challenges. So why not try it and see how it can help you become a more persuasive and impactful speaker?
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell This must-read book challenges the conventional notion that being the underdog is always a disadvantage and provides real-world examples and research to support its claims. Gladwell's arguments are particularly relevant to military readers, as they understand better than anyone how unfavorable situations can inspire creativity and innovation.
Struggle Well by Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg This, too, is a must-read book that provides practical guidance and support for anyone with mental health challenges. The authors, who are veterans themselves, share their journey of dealing with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how they found ways to overcome them. The book is not just limited to veterans but is written for anyone with mental health concerns, either as an individual or a caregiver. The authors emphasize the importance of community, self-care, and resilience in overcoming mental health challenges. One of the most significant takeaways from the book is the importance of seeking help and support. The authors provide valuable insights into managing mental health challenges and developing strategies for coping and moving forward. Struggle Well has been praised for its empathetic, supportive, and conversational tone, making it an invaluable resource for anyone with mental health challenges. Having spent time with both authors and hearing their stories of recovery, I can personally vouch for the first-person perspective from which this was written!
Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink In this book, Jocko Willink, a retired Navy SEAL and leadership consultant, shares his insights on the importance of discipline in achieving success and freedom in all areas of life. Willink believes that discipline is not a restriction on freedom; instead, it's the key to unlocking it. The book is filled with practical advice and strategies for developing discipline in all areas of life, such as diet, exercise, and work. It's an excellent resource for anyone who wants to improve their self-discipline and achieve their goals, whether in their personal or professional life. Thanks to its practical and actionable advice, I found it to be an impactful read.
1% Leadership by Author #7 1% Leadership is an exceptional book that has the power to transform the way we think about leadership and character development. This former U.S. Air Force Officer provides compelling insights into the true meaning of leadership and how it can be achieved through serving others and developing the right character traits. The book contains practical advice and strategies that can be applied to our personal and professional lives. It emphasizes the importance of accountability, humility, and perseverance in developing valuable leadership skills. What makes this book stand out is its focus on character development. Ellis believes authentic leadership is not about having power over others but serving them. My hope is that you gain insights into becoming a more effective leader and developing the character traits necessary to lead with integrity and purpose. The advice and strategies provided are actionable and practical.
The Non-commissioned Officer and Petty Officer: Backbone of the Armed Forces by Bryan B. Battaglia This unique and comprehensive manual was written by a team of active, reserve, and retired senior enlisted leaders - lead by SEAC # 2 U.S. Marines Sergeant Major (ret.) Bryan Battaglia. I found this book a valuable resource that explains the enlisted leader's position in the organization and the profession of arms. It highlights their dual roles of complementing the officer, enabling the force, and their involvement in international engagements. As you read through the pages, you will better appreciate noncommissioned and petty officers' exceptional competence, professional character, and soldierly grit. It is intended to inspire and prepare those who aspire to become NCOs/POs and re-inspire those already serving. It even allows those who have retired or left military service to reflect on their experiences. Overall, this book is a personal and fulfilling read exceptional men and women rightly known as the "Backbone of the Armed Forces." Get One and Share One!
The Coffee Bean by Damon West Damon West, a former star quarterback for the University of Texas, wrote The Coffee Bean story. After an injury ended his football career, he became a stockbroker but soon fell into an addiction to methamphetamines, ultimately landing him in prison. With his parents' encouragement and a mentor, he met in jail, West made it his goal to get sober and turn his life around. His mentor used the analogy of a coffee bean, which can transform the environment it's in, to encourage him to spread positivity. Today, West shares his story of overcoming adversity, breaking free from the past, and choosing to be a coffee bean.

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