NEWS | July 26, 2021

Air National Guard director hosts senior leader conference

By Tech. Sgt. Morgan Whitehouse, Air National Guard

ST. LOUIS – Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, Air National Guard director, hosted senior leaders and commanders from around the country for the ANG Senior Leader Conference July 19-22.

The annual event brings together leaders assigned to each of the 90 wings across the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia to collaborate, explore each other’s ideas, provide feedback and share best practices on guiding their ranks forward.

This year’s conference, “Back to Basics,” focused on revitalizing top leaders with the ANG’s foundational elements to strengthen force cohesion while leaning into great power competition with near-peer adversaries.

“Our objective here is to ensure our Airmen have the training, resources and leadership they need to conduct the Air Force missions that spans from the homefront to the front lines,” said Loh. “This year’s ‘Back to the Basics’ approach is just that. How do we get back to the basics of effectively running 108,100 Airmen that are out there, over 1,050 aircraft and 90 wings? That’s why we’re all here together this week. … Let’s make it happen.”

Keynote speakers and breakout sessions focused on Air Guard issues, including Total Force recruiting, conversions and modernization, diversity and inclusion, and leadership development.

“As senior leaders, officer and enlisted, we need you to empower Airmen down to the lowest level to make decisions,” said Chief Master Sgt. Maurice L. Williams, ANG command chief. “That they run towards the fight. That gives us that competitive edge. It always comes down to people.”

The event was the first major ANG leadership conference since the historic series of domestic activations throughout 2020. During “The Year of the Guard,” Citizen-Airmen served a variety of missions. More than 3,500 Airmen responded to civil disturbances, over 7,000 supported COVID-19 relief efforts, about 800 across seven states assisted at natural disasters, and Airmen were among more than 26,000 National Guard troops to serve during the 59th presidential inauguration.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I know we need to be ready today for whatever does,” said Loh. “We need to be a stronger Air National Guard. Ready today, stronger tomorrow. … We’re counting on you to be there to defend America.”