On Thursday, the Maine Senate voted 33-1 in favor of appointing retired Army Brigadier General Diane Dunn as the new leader of the Maine National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Dunn will replace the current leader of the Maine National Guard, Major General Douglas Farnham who is set to retire.
Due to Maj. Gen. Farnham’s retirement, Gov. Mills nominated Brig. Gen. Dunn to fill his post as Adjutant General of the Maine National Guard and Commissioner for the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management in December.
After Dunn was confirmed, Maine Gov. Janet Mills released a statement praising Dunn.
“I thank the Maine Senate for their overwhelming and bipartisan vote to confirm General Dunn. She is uniquely and highly qualified to serve as Adjutant General and Commissioner, is deeply respected by the men and women of the department who have served with her, and is the right person to take on these immense responsibilities.”, said Mills.
Brig. Gen. Dunn expressed her gratitude to the Senate saying, “I am deeply honored to earn the support of the Maine Senate and am grateful for the opportunity to lead the talented and dedicated men and women of the Maine National Guard and Department of Defense, Veterans, and Emergency Management.”
The only Senator to vote against Brig. Gen. Dunn’s confirmation was Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin).
Brakey explained his opposition to Dunn’s nomination in her confirmation hearing. Senator Brakey shared the full transcript of his speech on his X account.
Sen. Brakey was also contacted by the Maine Wire for further comments explaining his vote.
Brakey reiterated that he does not question Brig. Gen. Dunn’s military expertise and accomplishments.
His reasoning for voting against her confirmation was solely due to her stance on the Maine Legislature’s ability to ‘Defend the Guard’.
Sen. Brakey pointed out Dunn’s response to questions from Rep. David Boyer (R-Poland) in which she disagreed that the Maine Legislature has the authority to withdraw Maine National Guard troops from active combat zones that are not declared wars.
Sen. Brakey emphasized that his opposition is not due to a policy disagreement with Dunn, but due to her not acknowledging the Constitutional authority of the Maine Legislature.
He also pointed out that Major General Farnham, Dunn’s predecessor, also denies Maine’s ability to control its own National Guard.
Brakey pointed out that a state’s National Guard can only be mobilized by the federal government for three reasons: to suppress an insurrection, to protect the nation from an attack or invasion, and to enforce the laws of the country.
According to Brakey, U.S. military actions across the world commonly include National Guard troops. Senator Brakey contends that many of these troops are illegally deployed by the federal government and are put into dangerous situations with no clear goals.
He brought up the continued deployment of U.S. troops to Syria. In the early days of the Syrian Civil War, American troops entered the war under the auspices of countering the growth of ISIS in the country’s east.
However, the Obama administration and many lawmakers also wished to counter the Syrian government, so American forces trained and aided rebel factions in Syria. Eventually, weapons were provided and men trained by U.S. troops ended up with the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front.
Brakey asserts that the federal government putting National Guard troops in foreign conflicts without clear objectives and consent from state legislatures is reckless and an overreach of federal government powers.
Defend the Guard legislation, which Sen. Brakey has introduced, asserts that in order for the deployment of Maine National Guard troops in an active combat zone, there must previously be an act by U.S. Congress.