Gov. Ron DeSantis appointment of Air National Guard Maj. Gen. James Eifert as Adjutant General of Florida’s Department of Military Affairs was confirmed Wednesday morning by the Florida Senate Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs and Space.
DeSantis appointed Eifert last April to be commander of the Florida National Guard, succeeding Adjutant General Michael Calhoun.
The Senate committee recommended confirmation of Eifert’s appointment unanimously.
The committee also gave thumbs up to two bills: Tampa Democratic Sen. Janet Cruz‘s Senate Bill 96, which would broaden the definition of “disabled veteran” as it relates to free tuition offered at Florida’s public colleges and universities, so that veterans’ in-service injuries need not have been battle-related; and Palm Coast Republican Sen. Travis Hutson‘s Senate Bill 352, which would make it a third-degree felony for someone who is not in the military or is not a veteran to wear a military uniform and misrepresent himself or herself as a member of the military.
Eifert, who has served nine months on DeSantis appointment, assured the committee that his command since last spring has valued objective feedback to improve the guard along his leadership philosophy of maintaining a force that is “right, ready and relevant.”
He told the committee that it is vital that the Florida National Guard modernize, innovate and recapitalize infrastructure, facilities, and equipment. He said he is addressing it in this year’s budget request, particularly for upgrades and increased maintenance of armories that are up to 90 years old, in 55 of Florida’s 67 counties.
Eifert is a 1982 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy who flew F-4s and F-15s, including leading the first-ever Air National Guard combat mission policing the Northern Iraq no-fly zone during “Operation Provide Comfort” in 1992.
“This is my 38th year as an officer in the US Air Force, and almost 30 of those were spent in the cockpit of fighters. That experience has forged my methods and approaches to getting things done. That is how I am tactically wired and how I procedurally accomplish goals,” Eifert said “Simply put, fighter pilots thoroughly plan missions and then enthusiastically execute them. And then afterwards we humbly and seriously debrief each other with three objectives: To accurately define or describe how the mission went; to determine the root causes of errors and failures that occurred during the mission; and then to implement corrective actions.”