The Vermont Congressional Delegation announced Thursday that President Obama has tapped the Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard, Major General Michael Dubie, for a top post in the U.S. military's homeland defense mission. General Dubie has been nominated to be the next Deputy Commander of the United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the military's unified command in charge of protecting U.S. territory and providing military support for civil authorities in the event of a national emergency. Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) report that the nomination has been sent to the U.S. Senate, and they said they will push for its prompt consideration and confirmation.
If confirmed, Dubie, who has served as Vermont's senior uniformed officer since 2006, would become a three-star general. He would be the third general from the ranks of the National Guard to fill the number two position at NORTHCOM. Leahy, who chairs the Senate National Guard Caucus, succeeded in enacting reforms that set aside this position for National Guard general officers in Leahy's National Guard Empowerment Act of 2008.
NORTHCOM, created in 2002 in the aftermath of 9/11, is co-located with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. In addition to protecting the contiguous United States, NORTHCOM is responsible for Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and surrounding international waters out to 500 nautical miles.
Leahy said, "This is a vital and sensitive role, and the President has made a wise choice. General Dubie is a proven leader. In commanding the Guard in Irene's wake, during the Vermont Guard's major deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, and in maintaining one of the most responsive Guards in the nation, he has met every challenge. My only regret is that the nation's gain is our loss of a truly outstanding Adjutant General."
"The good news is that the Northern Command will soon have an outstanding deputy commander. The bad news is that the state of Vermont is going to lose a man who has served the people of Vermont and members of the National Guard with extraordinary devotion and ability. In one of the most demanding times in the modern history of the Vermont National Guard, Mike Dubie has not only been enormously successful as a military commander, he has shown great devotion to Vermont National Guard members and their families. He is going to be sorely missed," Sanders said.
Welch said, "President Obama could not have picked a more capable or deserving individual for this job. General Dubie led the Vermont Guard through some of its greatest challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was there to train Vermonters before they left, guide them through their deployments, welcome them home when they returned and console them when they grieved. He served us well and made us proud. His moving on is a great loss for Vermont. But I have no doubt he will continue to serve the nation with the same honor and distinction in this new post."
General Dubie's nomination has been referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee. To be confirmed, the nomination must be approved by that panel and then by the full Senate. If confirmed, General Dubie will vacate the Adjutant General position in Vermont, to be filled by the Vermont Legislature during its next session.