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Immediate Release

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and DoD Senior Leaders Attend 28th Council of Governors Plenary Meeting

Attributable to Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon: 
On Thursday, February 22, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks delivered closing remarks via video teleconference at the 28th Council of Governors plenary meeting being held in Washington, D.C.

In the session, she participated alongside Council Co-Chairs Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota, and Governor Phil Scott of Vermont; Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas; Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell; Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Executive Director Brandon Wales; White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor for Resilience and Response Ms. Caitlin Durkovich; and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Tom Perez.
The Deputy Secretary emphasized the importance of these meetings for exchanging information and ideas on how to better collaborate to address national security matters- especially as they apply to states across the country. 

She highlighted efforts by the Council and Federal partners to prioritize topics critical to homeland defense and security, to include emergency management and disaster response, workforce issues, and cybersecurity. 

Deputy Secretary Hicks cited the Joint Action Plan for State-Federal Cybersecurity Unity of Effort as one example of those efforts, which will improve the nation's collective response to cyber threats and prevent attacks that have the potential to degrade our capabilities. 

She also noted that the Department is now in its second quarter of a continuing resolution and a holding pattern with its supplemental request, and described those actions as "devastating…to our ability to advance our national security priorities."

The 28th plenary meeting of the Council focused on the progress made pursuing priority issues concerning cybersecurity; emergency management and disaster response; military matters; and workforce matters.  They also discussed strategic budget trends, the newly-approved Homeland Defense Policy Guidance, and governors' views on homeland defense and homeland security matters in their states.      

Deputy Secretary Hicks was joined by other senior DoD leaders during the plenary meeting, including:  Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Mike McCord; Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Ashish S. Vazirani; Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Daniel Hokanson; North American Aerospace Defense Command-U.S. Northern Command Commander Gen. Greg Guillot; Grier Martin, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Grier Martin; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Agnes Schaefer; Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment Dr. Ravi Chaudhary; Director of the Army Staff LTG Laura Potter, and Director of the Air Staff Lt Gen Scott Pleus.

Additional representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army, Air Force, and National Guard Bureau also attended.
Rebecca Zimmerman, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, serves as Executive Director of the Council.
Required by law and established in 2010 by executive order, the Council of Governors is a bipartisan council of 10 state governors appointed by the President to exchange views, information, or advice with federal officials on homeland defense, the National Guard, civil support, and other matters of mutual interest to protect our nation and its people and property. 
Members of the Council of Governors include: Governor Tim Walz (D-MN), Co-Chair; Governor Phil Scott (R-VT), Co-Chair; Governor John Carney (D-DE); Governor Brad Little (R-ID); Governor Eric Holcomb (R-IN); Governor Maura Healey (D-MA); Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI); Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM); Governor Henry McMaster (R-SC); and Governor Mark Gordon (R-WY).

Deputy Secretary Hicks last addressed the Council of Governors Plenary in July, 2023.