Brown taps Fair Oaks colonel to lead California's troubled National Guard

On Saturday Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Col. David Baldwin of Fair Oaks as adjutant general, the top officer for the California National Guard and the California State Military Department.

Baldwin, 47, who recently served a tour of active duty in Afghanistan, has long been a top officer in the Guard, including a stint as chief of staff. He has been in the National Guard more than 29 years.

Brown appeared with Baldwin and swore him in Saturday afternoon at a California Cadet Corps celebration at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

Baldwin takes over a military agency that faces substantial challenges, including two separate criminal investigations involving alleged fraud and improper payments to service members, including many high-level officers.

In addition, the Guard's most important training center, Camp Roberts near San Luis Obispo, has deteriorated to a sometimes unhealthful and dangerous state, according to Guard documents and a Bee examination of the facility earlier this year.

The Bee reported the allegations of financial fraud and the condition of Camp Roberts in a series of investigations that began last October.

Brown, asked about any concerns he might have about management at the Guard, said: "There's been a lot of issues over a number of years, and I don't think now is the time to try to hash out all the different issues. ... The main thing is I wanted someone that I picked and that understood my vision for the Guard and for the Cadet Corps."

Brown noted that it is customary for a new governor to appoint a new head of the Guard.

"I did the same thing when I was governor the first time," he said.

Baldwin said he is putting together his team in consultation with Brown and senior leadership at the Guard.

"We're going to forge a way ahead in accordance with the governor's vision to make sure that we can meet our commitments to the state and nation," Baldwin said.

Brown also appointed Col. Matthew Beevers, 47, of Felton as assistant adjutant general. He has been with the National Guard nearly 28 years, including tours of duty in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

Beevers' appointment does not require state Senate confirmation. Baldwin's does.

Baldwin replaces Major Gen. Mary J. Kight, who was appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger early last year but never confirmed by the Senate. She would have been the Guard's first female leader.