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Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh has been appointed adjutant general of Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee announced today.

Welsh will command all Washington Army and Air National Guard forces and serve as the director of the Washington Military Department, which along with the Washington National Guard, includes the state’s Emergency Management Division and the Washington Youth Challenge Academy. The position also serves as homeland security advisor to the governor and as administrator for all Homeland Security grants awarded to Washington’s state, local, Tribal and non-profit entities.

Welsh has 36 years of military experience. He has spent the last decade working in various capacities with the Washington Military Department. For the last four years he served as the department's deputy director and commander of the Washington Air National Guard, leading 2,000 airmen who respond to natural disasters and work on some of the nation's most sensitive intelligence, cyberspace and special warfare missions. He was chief of staff for the state Military Department from 2014 to 2017, and the 194th Wing Commander from 2017 to 2019.

Additionally, Welsh has been the National Guard advisor to the assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force for personnel and reserve affairs since 2023.

"Gen. Welsh is an exceptionally experienced and strategic leader who is ready for the responsibilities demanded of this crucial role," Inslee said. "He will ensure Washington's readiness in the face of new and emerging risks, from cyber threats to natural disasters."

Daugherty retires at the end of June after more than 40 years of service, including the last 12 as adjutant general and director of the Washington Military Department.

Daugherty provided critical guidance during large-scale state disasters to include the SR 530 Landslide in 2013, catastrophic wildfire seasons, and the COVID-19 pandemic when he deployed thousands of Washington National Guard personnel to do everything from set-up and operate COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites to assisting local food banks. In 2021 he oversaw the largest federal deployment of Washington Army National Guard soldiers since 2008, with approximately 2,000 mobilized to locations including Ukraine, Poland, and Syria to support multiple operational theaters.

"Gen. Daugherty provided steady and compassionate leadership facing down some of the most unique and demanding challenges our state has ever faced," Inslee said. "When he announced his retirement he told the Military Department it had been his "greatest honor" to lead them. The privilege was ours, general."

Welsh's appointment is effective June 29.