JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard toured and spoke at three of Alaska’s military installations, expounding on the Alaska National Guard’s role in Arctic Strategy, Mar. 23 – 25.
“We are an arctic nation because of Alaska,” said Saxe, addressing the Airman of Clear Air Force Station. “The strategic impact of this state cannot be overstated.”
Out of the 50 states, it is Alaska’s status alone that defines the United States as an arctic nation. This exclusivity establishes the Alaska National Guard as a critical component in this comparatively new plan of action. Saxe acknowledged the additional demands and responsibilities related to such a role.
“I’m looking for strategic plans, and I’m looking for strategic leaders,” said Saxe at Eielson Air Force Base. “They can be found up and down the ranks.”
In each presentation, Saxe emphasized the importance of the individual within the mission.
“For every plan, you have there has to be two parts,” he said, speaking on leadership within the force. “The people and the mission - personal and professional relationships can make or break a mission. Look at your own house first and know your people.”
Implementing Arctic Strategy has resurfaced a common dilemma for the Alaska National Guard concerning recruitment of personnel. Historically, armories in rural areas have had to operate with as little as one Guardsmen on drill weekends. Ultimately, Saxe aims to have recruiters flown to all populations across the state.
“The National Guard needs to represent all of Alaska,” said Saxe. “Each recuit will increase our capability of forward operations in places like Kotzebue, Bethel and Nome, all of which will tie into our federal mission with Arctic Strategy.”
Arctic Strategy is designed to utilize the tactical importance of Alaska’s geographical location.
“You have an active duty role, and you have a Guard role,” said Saxe. “They need to compliment each other. If anyone wants to do anything in this state, they’re going to have use the National Guard. We are a key part of the team.”