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New Adjutant General

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After Brigadier General John Walsh resigned as the Director of the Department of Military Affairs Wednesday, Governor Brian Schweitzer announced a new acting Adjutant General.

Brigadier General Joel Cusker, previously served as the Director of the Joint Staff and was the Principle Assistant to the Adjutant General. General Cusker enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard in 1978. He has served as a cavalry platoon leader, the Fifth Corps Battle Captain, and most recently volunteered for a combat deployment to Afghanistan where he served as the Officer in Charge of the Central Corps Assistance Group.

Governor Schweitzer says he looks forward to working with General Cusker in his new role with the Montana Department of Military Affairs.

 

Story by Kristin Price, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2012 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Brigadier General Joel D. Cusker biography

Director of the Joint Staff, Joint Force Headquarters – Montana
Brigadier General Joel D. Cusker is the Director of the Joint Staff, Joint Force Headquarters – Montana.  He serves as the principle assistant to the Adjutant General with the responsibility to man, train, equip and prepare a force structure consisting of over 2,800 Citizen-Soldiers and over 1,000 Citizen-Airmen who are capable of deploying and accomplishing assigned operations in support of State and Federal missions.  General Cusker monitors, coordinates, synchronizes, procures and allocates resources (annual budget of over $204M) and prioritizes the effort to ensure the Montana National Guard is ready to deploy mission ready forces.  He provides executive-level leadership in the management, direction, coordination, supervision and training of the primary Joint Staff; J-1 through J-8 as well as the Personal and Special Staff.  He anticipates events and directs staff efforts to accomplish the vision, mission, intent, operations, events and requirements of the Montana National Guard.  As the Director of the Joint Staff, General Cusker coordinates and synchronizes effort and actions with the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine commands and units stationed in the State of Montana.
General Cusker enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard in 1978 and served in the 163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment as a cavalry scout.  He was commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 1981 as the Distinguished Honor Graduate from the Montana Military Academy.  As a company grade officer General Cusker was nationally recognized with the United States Army MacArthur Leadership Award.  He has served as a cavalry platoon leader, commanded two armor companies, served as the Fifth Corps Battle Captain (Germany), commanded the 208th Regiment and served as the project officer to establish the State Partnership Program with Kyrgyzstan.  Utilizing his acquired expertise in working with foreign military forces General Cusker volunteered for a combat deployment to Afghanistan where he served as the Officer in Charge of the Central Corps Assistance Group.  In this capacity he was instrumental in recruiting, training, equipping, basing and then deploying over 8,000 Soldiers to serve as the first element of the Afghanistan National Army.  The Central Corps provided combat forces utilized by Coalition Joint Task Force 180 against insurgents and provided security for the Loya Jirga.  Upon his return from deployment General Cusker was assigned to Joint Force Headquarters – Montana where he served as the J-5/7, J-3, and Chief of the Joint Staff.  General Cusker’s civilian education includes a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montana, a Master of Arts in Military Studies from American Military University, and a National Security Fellowship from Harvard University.  His military education includes graduation from the Infantry Brigade Command Course, United States Army War College (Harvard Fellowship), Advanced Joint Professional Military Education, Joint Forces Orientation Course and the Joint Task Force Commander Course.   


EDUCATION:
1984 University of Montana, Bachelor of Arts, History, Missoula, Montana
1997 American Military University, Master of Arts, Military Studies, Manassas, Virginia
2000 Harvard University, National Security Program (United States Army War College Fellowship), Cambridge, Massachusetts
2006 National Defense University, Joint Forces Staff College, Advanced Joint Professional Military Education, Norfolk, Virginia
2008 Joint Forces Staff College, Joint Forces Reserve Orientation Course, Norfolk, Virginia   
ASSIGNMENTS:
1. July 1981 – February 1983, Platoon Leader, Detachment 1, Troop G, 2/163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Hamilton, Montana
2. February 1983 – August 1984, Platoon Leader/Detachment Commander, Detachment 1, Troop G, 2/163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Hamilton, Montana
3. August 1984 – December 1984, Assistant S-3/Chemical Officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2/163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Kalispell, Montana
4. December 1984 – August 1985, Transportation Platoon Leader/Detachment Commander, Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2/163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Libby, Montana
5. August 1985 – May 1987, Commander, Company H, 2/163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Anaconda, Montana
6. May 1987 – September 1987, S-3 Air, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2/163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Kalispell, Montana
7. September 1987 – September 1988, S-2, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2/163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Kalispell, Montana
8. September 1988 – March 1991, S-1, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-163rd Armored Brigade, Butte, Montana
9. March 1991 – June 1991, Commander, Company A, 1-163rd Armored Brigade, Dillon, Montana
10. June 1991 – August 1992, Assistant S-3 (Air), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 163rd Armored Brigade, Bozeman, Montana
11. August 1992 – October 1992, S-3 (Air), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 163rd Armored Brigade, Bozeman, Montana
12. October 1992 – August 1993, S-3, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-163rd Armored Brigade, Butte, Montana
13. August 1993 – March 1995, Director of Training, Montana Military Academy, Headquarters State Area Readiness Command, Helena, Montana
14. March 1995 – February 1997, Quality Coordinator, Headquarters State Area Readiness Command, Helena, Montana
15. February 1997 – July 1997, Military Support Officer to Civil Authorities, Headquarters State Area Readiness Command, Helena, Montana
16. July 1997 – June 1999, Commander, 208th Regiment, Fort Harrison, Montana
17. July 1999 – June 2000, Student, United States Army War College, National Security Fellowship, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
18. June 2000 – November 2002, Executive Officer, 95th Troop Command, Fort Harrison, Montana
19. November 2002 – July 2003, G-1, Montana Army National Guard, Headquarters State Area Readiness Command, Fort Harrison, Montana
20. July 2003 – December 2003, Officer In Charge, Central Corps Assistance Group, Headquarters, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan
21. December 2003 – July 2005, J-5/7, Joint Force Headquarters-Montana, Fort Harrison, Montana
22. July 2005 – December 2007, J-3, Joint Force Headquarters-Montana, Fort Harrison, Montana
23. January 2008 – September 2010, Chief of Staff, Montana Army National Guard, Fort Harrison, Montana
24. September 2010 – December 2010, Chief of the Joint Staff, Joint Force Headquarters-Montana, Fort Harrison, Montana
25. December 2010 – Present, Director of the Joint Staff, Joint Force Headquarters-Montana, Fort Harrison, Montana

AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (with 1 Silver and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
Air Force Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal (with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (with 1 Silver and 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
National Defense Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Service Star)
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal                                                                                       
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with Gold Ten Year Device)
Army Service Ribbon                                                                                                         
Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon                                         
Montana National Guard Distinguished Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster) 
Montana National Guard Commendation Medal                                                  
Montana National Guard Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon                                              
Montana National Guard Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon                                             
Montana National Guard Campaign Ribbon (with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)     
Montana National Guard Noble Eagle Ribbon                                                               
Montana National Guard OCONUS Ribbon (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
Montana National Guard Service Ribbon (with 1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster)             
Montana National Guard Attendance Ribbon (with 2 Silver Oak Leaf Clusters)  
Montana National Guard Physical Fitness Ribbon (with 1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster)                     
Air Assault Badge

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION:
Second Lieutenant 26 June 1981
First Lieutenant 25 June 1984
Captain 20 August 1986
Major 10 August 1992
Lieutenant Colonel 24 September 1997
Colonel 9 December 2002
Brigadier General 26 January 2011

 

 

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Governor Brian Schweitzer, Brigadier General John Walsh, New Adjutant General, Brigadier General Joel Cusker

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