ARLINGTON, Va. – During one of the most tumultuous times in U.S. history, the head of the Minnesota National Guard stood at the epicenter of a national tempest, balancing response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic and civil disturbance following the death of George Floyd. Now, Army Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen takes the helm of the Army National Guard, placing inclusion and diversity at the forefront.Jensen was confirmed by the Senate July 20 and sworn in as the 22nd director of the Army National Guard Aug. 10 at the Herbert R. Temple Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington, Virginia.“I am humbled to have been selected to serve in this new role for such a culturally diverse and incredibly talented group of men and women who make up the Army National Guard,” Jensen told those attending in person and online. “We, as leaders, must listen to one another, ask those uncomfortable questions and treat one another with dignity and respect. Our Soldiers are dedicated and committed to our mission as they have been since 1636. It shows each and every time they wear the uniform.”As director of the Army National Guard, Jensen will be responsible for more than 335,000 Citizen-Soldiers and oversee all programs and policies affecting the Army National Guard. Jensen said one of his top priorities would be placing people first and developing professional, ethical and caring leaders.“While our ability to accomplish global and local missions comes first, our people are always our top priority,” Jensen said. “They leave their civilian employment and their families to support their country, protect their neighbors, and defend the constitution of the United States, both at home and abroad.“Our Soldiers face everything from natural disasters, hurricanes, floods, civil unrest and even cyber threats. They remain flexible and adaptable and rise to the challenge every time their nation calls,” he added.An Iowa native and 1986 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, Jensen began his career in the Army National Guard after enlisting and earning his commission in 1989 from the United States Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He served in a variety of positions in both the Iowa and Minnesota Army National Guard.Jensen has served in the Army National Guard for more than 37 years and deployed to Kuwait, Bosnia and twice to Iraq with the 34th Infantry Division. Before his current assignment, he served as the adjutant general for the Minnesota National Guard and commanding general of the 34th ID.Jensen takes over the Army National Guard at an unprecedented time in the Guard’s history. In June, more than 105,000 National Guard Soldiers were mobilized worldwide, including for domestic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, civil disturbances and deployments.Jensen succeeds Lt. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, who was sworn in as the 29th chief of the National Guard Bureau Aug. 3. The chief also serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as a military adviser to the president, the secretary of defense and the National Security Council.Jensen credited his wife, Cindy, and their children, Jake, Atlee and Kealey, for his ascension in the Army National Guard.“I am so blessed and grateful for the support you have given me and proud of the young adults you have become. I would not be here today without your love and support,” he said. “I look forward to this new, challenging role, and I look forward most of all to serving the men and women of the Army National Guard.”For more National Guard newsNational Guard FacebookNational Guard Twitter