Co-Chair Welcome Letter to Deputy Secretary of Defense Shanahan

The Honorable Patrick Shanahan
Deputy Secretary of Defense
1010 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1010

Dear Deputy Secretary Shanahan:

Congratulations on your confirmation to serve as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Since its creation, the Council of Governors has enjoyed a strong working relationship with the office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and we look forward to working with you to build upon this enduring relationship and enhance our state-federal partnership.

As you may know, the Council was established by Section 1822 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 and implemented by Presidential Executive Order 13528. It consists of 10 bi-partisan governors appointed by the President to focus on matters of national security, homeland defense, synchronization and integration of state and federal military activities in the United States, as well as matters of mutual interest pertaining to the National Guard and civil support activities.  Current members of the Council include:

  • Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma – Council Co-Chair
  • Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut – Council Co-Chair
  • Gov. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana
  • Gov. Steve Bullock, Montana
  • Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota
  • Gov. Eric Greitens, Missouri
  • Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee
  • Gov. Rick Scott, Florida
  • Gov. Bill Walker, Alaska

The Council provides for the exchange of information and discussion in advance of any formal request, submission or implementation of federal proposals relating to changing laws, regulations or policies affecting the National Guard or military operations in support of State and domestic authorities.

Governors are responsible for the safety and welfare of our citizens and are the commanders-in-chief of the National Guard forces in our respective states. It therefore is critical for the Department to work collaboratively with us on matters that could affect our National Guard forces. The benefits of such consultation and coordination are reflected in many of the Council’s accomplishments.  Since its inception, the Council has:

  • Established the appointment of Dual Status Commanders, clarifying who is in command of responding National Guard and federal military forces during domestic emergencies and that military forces are to operate in support of the governor and the state adjutant general;
  • Implemented a budget consultation agreement, ensuring governors can inform Department of Defense budget proposals affecting the National Guard;
  • Opposed plans to cut the Army and Air National Guard, advocating for alternatives that would save costs while maintaining military capabilities;
  • Supported the creation of commissions to study and make recommendations on the future of the Air Force and Army; and
  • Advocated to preserve the Guard’s ability to respond to state emergencies by opposing a planned conversion of 20 percent of all dual-status military technicians in the Guard and Reserves to Title 5 federal employees.

The Council will continue to work on a number of critical issues moving forward to include:

  • Opposing the statutorily required conversion of 20 percent of dual-status technicians in the Reserve Component to title 5 employees;
  • Continuing coordination with the White House, Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security on partnerships to strengthen cyber security and information sharing;
  • Consulting with the Department of Defense regarding future reserve component duty status reform, as highlighted by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission;
  • Ensuring adequate resourcing for the National Guard, to include benefits parity for all those deployed in support of national interests and defense regardless of status;
  • Updating the Department of Defense policy memorandum establishing guidance for the Department to coordinate, train, advise and assist cyber activities for state use of cyber-related resources, which expires next March
  • Ensuring an ongoing dialogue regarding National Guard budget matters, especially going into the Fiscal Year 2019 budget cycle.

Again, congratulations on your confirmation. We look forward to formally meeting at the next plenary meeting of the Council in February 2018, but also are available to you in the interim should you wish to discuss matters pertinent to our work.


Governor Mary Falin
Council of Governors

Governor Dannel Malloy
Council of Governors

The Honorable Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense

Council of Governors Charter
Budget Consultative Process Agreement