Commanding the Alaska National Guard is hardly an insignificant job, military officials say. Still, they acknowledge that it provides little, if any, foreign policy experience.
Overseeing a state Guard is a “chief executive role” with real management responsibilities, said Mark Allen, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau, the federal office that coordinates state National Guards.
“I don’t think people should think it is a casual relationship, or is like the king putting on the medals,” Allen said. “It is not that at all. But the role of the governor is to use the Guard to help the citizens of a state, as opposed to declaring war on a neighboring state.”