Florida Air Guard leaders meet with counterparts in DC during recent trip

By Maj. Caitlin Brown
Florida National Guard Public Affairs 

WASHINGTON (Feb. 20, 2015) — On Feb. 9, a contingent of Florida Air National Guard (FLANG) members traveled to the National Capitol Region for the second annual State of the State event. The multi-day trip allowed selected FLANG leaders to meet with their counterparts on both the Air National Guard (ANG) and National Guard Bureau (NGB) staffs to familiarize them with FLANG missions and address potential issues or concerns.

Lt. Col. Sean Doughty, FLANG director of operations, was the lead in planning and executing this year’s event. Brig. Gen. Robert Branyon, previous commander of the FLANG, tapped Doughty to coordinate the first State of the State visit in January 2014 after Doughty completed a tour of duty at NGB and became a strong advocate of the State of the State program.

“I spent six months with NGB A8 and it was absolutely clear that the more communication and contact the NGB A-staff had with FLANG Airmen the more informed the NGB A-staff decisions would be,” Doughty said. “I also believed it would assist the FLANG leadership team in gaining a deeper perspective on some of the national issues facing the ANG while building lasting relationships with our national leaders.”

Assistant Adjutant General-Air Brig. Gen. James Eifert said the event had significant strategic significance.

“At the strategic level, the main benefit is getting the FLANG senior leaders in one-on-one meetings with the senior leadership at NGB and the Air National Guard Readiness Center,” Eifert said. “It’s also very worthwhile to tell our story to the NGB staff in one large room so they can learn what great things Florida Airmen are accomplishing and then hear what help we need from them to address the concerns we have as a state.”

Doughty agreed that the State of the State visit helped the FLANG achieve its strategic vision of being America’s finest Air Guard.

“What the FLANG has recognized, and codified in our strategic plan, is that we must collaborate with our stakeholders at all levels to make that vision a reality,” he said.

Doughty said that some specific goals for the trip included developing a better understanding of the changes coming to the Total Air Force, discussing FLANG missions and people with the Deputy Director and Executive Director of the ANG, and getting an update on the conversion progress of the 114 SPCS to its new mission.

This year, there was an important addition to the list of attendees: Brig. Gen. Michael Calhoun, the Director of Joint Staff for Florida and the recently selected incoming Adjutant General, joined the group.

Calhoun, a member of the Florida Army National Guard, said the trip was extremely valuable in helping familiarize him with the FLANG.

“Having served 30-plus years in the Army National Guard, an obvious benefit of this event for me is to learn more about the Air Guard, and gain a better understanding of its utilization and value,” he said. “This trip gave me an opportunity to better understand FLANG capabilities, and how and where we can fit it even more into our DSCA plan as we go forward.”