The Council of Governors

Governor O’Malley was appointed to the nation’s first-ever Council of Governors by President Obama on January 11, 2010.  The Council was established by the president through an executive order to further protect the nation against all types of hazards and to strengthen the partnership and coordination of state and federal military activities.

The Council consists of 10 governors, five from both political parties.  Its members have work closely with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the White House Homeland Security Council, and other defense and national security advisors on training and equipping the National Guard and other issues related to state and federal military activities.  Since 2010, the Council has focused its efforts specifically on improving the way state and federal military forces coordinate their responses to a domestic emergency or catastrophic event.    

These efforts have resulted in a federal legislative proposal to establish a dual status commander – a single military officer appointed to exercise control over both a state National Guard and federal forces – to ensure a coordinated response to domestic emergencies. 

To protect governors’ authorities, the Council adopted a plan that will facilitate joint state-federal military operations through the pre-identification and training of National Guard dual-status commanders. Under this proposal, the Secretary of Defense would consult the governor of an affected state to appoint a dual-status commander, who would then coordinate and command both state and federal military responses.  In addition, Governor O’Malley has supported federal legislation that ensures each state’s National Guard is property trained, equipped, and has access to resources to fulfill its federal and state missions. 

Also in 2010, Governor O’Malley was selected as co-chair of the Council’s Military Construction (MILCON) working group, along with Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota.  Today’s National Guard operates in a new strategic environment and must be resourced differently to meet a broader spectrum of challenges.  The MILCON working group is working to ensure that states receive appropriate military construction funding that will help modernize existing facilities and meet the federal and state needs of our National Guard.