BATON ROUGE, La. – On Wednesday, the National Guard Association of the United States named Gov. John Bel Edwards the recipient of the 2022 Harry S. Truman Award for Distinguished Service in Support of National Defense, which is the group’s highest recognition.

Gov. Edwards was selected for his consistent leadership and support of LANG as well as his numerous accomplishments including leading Louisiana’s effort to pioneer groundbreaking methods to its cyber security response plans and methods. Those plans significantly included the Louisiana National Guard as part of a combined approach that applied all available state assets to the response. In 2017, Gov. Edwards took executive action and established the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission.

In 2019, Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency in response to ransomware attacks on state assets. This was the first ever declared emergency for cyber response in Louisiana. Governor Edwards was appointed by President Biden as one of ten governors to participate in the bipartisan Council of Governors. In 2022, Gov. Edwards along with the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, White House Executives, and other federal and state officials met with the council and its working groups to identify priority initiatives.

Gov. Edwards has proven through his leadership and initiative that he understands the threat that malicious cyber activity poses to our national defense and the overall security of the United States.  He has made sustained and far reaching contributions to countering this threat as evidenced by his leadership and his direct actions at the state and national levels.

“One of the biggest honors of my life is serving as the Commander in Chief of Louisiana’s National Guard, which never wavers when asked to work through floods, hurricanes, freezing weather, cyberattacks and even a pandemic to protect what matters in Louisiana – our people. And they do all of this while performing their traditional military training and worldwide operations. Here and elsewhere, the National Guard protects and serves our homeland in ways that the public often overlooks or takes for granted. Regardless, the National Guard always shows up, and to be recognized by the National Guard Association of the United States with its highest honor, the Harry S. Truman Award, is truly humbling,” Gov. Edwards said. “I believe that all of us can take a lesson from the National Guard’s selfless commitment to the greater good, to our communities and to our national security. I will continue to work day in and day out to be worthy of such an honor.”

"Governor Edwards is a deserving selection for this prestigious award because of his lifelong dedication and distinguished service to the security and defense of Louisiana and our great nation," said Maj. Gen. Keith Waddell, adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard.

The Harry S. Truman Award for Distinguished Service in Support of National Defense, authorized by the NGAUS Board of Directors in 1968, is the highest recognition conferred upon an individual by the Association. Previous winners have included President Ronald Reagan, President George Bush, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, members of congress, other governors and entertainer Bob Hope. The award honors individuals who have made sustained contributions of exceptional and far-reaching magnitude to the defense and security of the United States in a manner worthy of recognition at the national level.

The Governor is being honored alongside Gen. James McConville, who is the chief of staff of the United States Army.  The awards will be presented at the 144th NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition in August in Columbus, Ohio.

For a list of this year’s honorees, click here