Birckhead Confirmed As Adjutant General By Senate

Birckhead Confirmed As Adjutant General By Senate
Brig. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead, center, is pictured with Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller and Gov. Wes Moore. Submitted Photo

ANNAPOLIS – Gov. Wes Moore announced last week the nomination of Brigadier General Janeen L. Birckhead as Maryland’s next Adjutant General. The Snow Hill High alumna was confirmed by the Senate last Friday.

Birckhead becomes the only Black woman leading a state military in the nation.

“I am proud to nominate Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead to serve as Maryland’s next Adjutant General. With her extensive knowledge and leadership experience within the Maryland Army National Guard, she will bring invaluable expertise to this role.” said Moore. “The Adjutant General is the leader of Maryland’s Military and I am very confident in Janeen’s ability to do just that – lead. Her record proves her readiness to serve at the highest ranking military position in the state of Maryland. I encourage the Senate to confirm Brig. Gen. Birckhead without delay.”

“As Maryland’s Adjutant General, I pledge to serve the people of Maryland with unwavering dedication. I believe in the importance of the National Guard’s mission and above all in the selfless service of our Soldiers, Airmen, Federal and State civilian employees and our volunteers, who represent the best of our great state,” said Birckhead. “I am committed to serving my fellow Marylanders and providing the Maryland National Guard with the leadership and service they deserve. On my watch, the Maryland National Guard will continue to provide relevant, responsive, and ready forces committed to service to all.”

Birckhead is Commander of the Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG), responsible for the combat readiness of 4,600 soldiers and 1,500 combat platforms. She maintains 45 installations statewide and oversees an annual budget of $182 million. She took on the added responsibility of Task Force Commander for over 14,000 soldiers guarding the U.S. Capitol after the Jan. 6 attack. She also serves as the Deputy Commanding General of Reserve Affairs for the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Birckhead was appointed as the Governor’s lead for the statewide COVID-19 Maryland Equity Task Force. She was able to pivot effectively at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to bring a force of more than 1,500 soldiers on duty in the early days of COVID. In the second phase of COVID-19, she developed and integrated a planning team with the Maryland Department of Health for vaccine distribution. Her leadership enabled the MDARNG to establish Mobile Vaccination Support Teams (MVST), delivering nearly 5,000 shots per week within the first two weeks of January 2021. Birckhead’s leadership helped underserved communities throughout Maryland gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Her leadership of MDARNG also established more than 11 mass vaccination sites. Her work on the Maryland Equity Task Force was the subject of an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“I strongly support this nomination. General Birckhead has been a leader her entire life, and whether it’s serving overseas, whether it’s been taking on the difficult assignments during COVID and actually going into the local neighborhoods, she leads by example,” said Senator Mary Beth Carozza, who seconded the nomination of Birckhead to serve as Maryland’s Adjutant General.  “On a personal note, I know your Mom, Fannie Mae Ward Birckhead, is smiling down, and you are following in her tracks as she was the first African American elected to a countywide office in Worcester County and the first African American to drive the Boardwalk train.”