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Shinseki to speak at National Guard conference

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:59 a.m. HST, Sep 18, 2013

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki will be among the guest speakers this weekend at the 35th National Guard Association of the United States conference at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Shinseki, former Kauai resident and retired Army Chief of Staff, will speak at 3:35 p.m. Saturday and Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is scheduled to address the conference at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

More than 3,000 National Guard men and women are expected to attend the conference, which is the association's annual business meeting. Guard officers from all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia will discuss the issues that confront their force, such as budget cuts, and set their legislative agenda. 

Other speakers on Saturday include: Gov. Neil Abercrombie at 12:15 p.m.; and Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at 4:05 p.m. 

Sunday's speakers include: Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, at 9 a.m.; and Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

Events get underway at 5:30 p.m. Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the conference's industry exhibition. Approximately 250 companies, including a who's who of the nation's leading defense and homeland-security contractors, have purchased booths. 

Abercrombie, the commander in chief of the Hawaii National Guard, is scheduled to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He is the 2009 recipient of the NGAUS Harry S. Truman Award, the association's highest honor. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives at the time. 

This is the fifth time Hawaii will host the NGAUS conference.

The Sheraton Waikiki Hotel will be the convention's headquarters.

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Shinseki to speak at National Guard meeting

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