Iowa National Guard’s new leader says ‘transformation’ underway

DES MOINES — Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Stephen Osborn — appointed to the post last March — says he’s leading the greatest transformation of the Guard in its 186 year history.

“This initiative is a reorganization that optimizes organizational efficiencies, leverages our human capital, and brings the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard into a more cohesive, joint team,” Osborn said, “without growing our force structure.”

Osborn delivered the annual “Condition of the Guard” address to Iowa lawmakers Thursday.  “Ultimately, these long range, holistic efforts lay the groundwork to keep your Iowa National Guard ready to execute any state or federal mission well into the future,” Osborn said.

Osborn has hired a full-time staff director to oversee Army and Air Guard operations. Also, in response to a congressional mandate, he’s hired 14 new civilian employees to help service members with violence and sexual assault prevention, as well as victim advocacy. “We owe our service members every opportunity and benefit to take care of them,” Osborn said, “and to allow them to do their jobs.”

There are nearly 9000 soldiers, airmen and civilian staff in the Iowa National Guard today. Iowa Army National Guard units have deployed to Poland, Kosovo, the Middle East and the U-S/Mexico border in the past year. Airmen from the Iowa Air Guard were on missions in Korea, Japan, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Greenland, and Germany.