About the Maryland Military Department

MMD pilars2.png 

Major General Janeen L. Birckhead - The Adjutant General       

1Maj Gen Birckhead.jpgMajor General Janeen L. Birckhead currently serves as the 31st Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard. In this capacity, MG Birckhead serves as an advisor to the Governor of Maryland. She is responsible for leading a force of over 6300 Soldiers, Airmen, and federal and state employees responsible for providing a relevant and capable force ready to fight, protect, defend, and prevail against all threats in a multidomain environment.

MG Birckhead most recently served as the Commander of the Maryland Army National Guard and was dual hatted as the Deputy Commandant for Reserve Affairs at the U.S. Army War College. MG Birckhead received her commission from Hampton University graduating with honors and as a distinguished military graduate through the Reserve Officers Training Corps. While at Hampton University, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science. She later earned a Master's in Management from the University of Maryland University College. MG Birckhead is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College where she earned a Master's in Strategic Studies.

Prior to the role of Adjutant General, MG Birckhead also served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Maryland National Guard. She has commanded at the  company, battalion, and brigade level.

In 2004, she mobilized under OEF/OIF, serving as the Tiger Team Leader and Designated Military Officer for the Office of Administrative Review for the Detention of Enemy Combatants. In 2011, MG Birckhead deployed as the Deputy, Current Operations, Security Partnering, and International Security Assistance Force, Kabul, Afghanistan.

MG Birckhead's military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NATO Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

In her civilian capacity, Ms. Birckhead served as a Senior Advisor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Trust Fund Administration. She advised the Bureau Director on a wide range of issues related to the organizations personnel and managerial policies, theory, practices and procedures and organizational culture. She began her civilian career in the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC. Her subsequent civilian career positions included State Equal Employment Opportunity Manager, Special Agent in Charge for the Defense Security Service, and Deputy Chief of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights at the Office of Personnel Management before joining the Department of the Interior in 2010.


Origin of the Military Department

Authorization for military force in Maryland began when the Maryland Charter of 1632 empowered Lord Baltimore to raise troops to put down insurrection or rebellion and subdue enemies of the province. It continued in the eighteenth century as Maryland militia units fought during the French and Indian War and distinguished themselves in the American Revolution.
Under State government, the office of Adjutant General was authorized first in 1793 and made a Constitutional office in 1951. The Adjutant General heads the Military Department and exercises powers and duties under the Militia Law of Maryland.

Functions and Responsibilities

The Military Department is responsible for the Maryland Air National Guard, the Maryland Army National Guard, and the Maryland Defense Force. The Military Department also builds and maintains the armories and other facilities used by the Maryland National Guard.
All State forms and records required for militia use and the reports and returns required by the federal government are prepared by the Military Department, and service records of all officers and enlisted persons who have served or are serving in the Maryland National Guard are maintained by the Department as well.


The Military Department is controlled by the Office of the Adjutant General, and is made up of the following agencies:

State Operations

The State Operations section manages many of the fiscal and administrative duties of the Military Department. The Freestate ChalleNGe program and Honor Guard also fall under this group.

Maryland Air National Guard

The Maryland Air National Guard provides air combat forces, as well as emergency support, to the U.S. Air Force and other unified commands.

Maryland Army National Guard

The Maryland Army National Guard provides combat troops to the U.S. Army, and engineer, transportation and medical units, and military police for State service.

Maryland Defense Force

The Maryland Defense Force is separate and distinct from the Maryland National Guard, and is composed of officers, commissioned or assigned, and all able-bodied citizens of the State who volunteer and are accepted for service. They may be ordered to active duty in the State by the Governor whenever the National Guard has been called into the military service of the United States.


More Information

Click here to visit the Maryland Military Department's Leadership page

For more detailed information on the Maryland Military Department, see the Maryland State Archives informational site at http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/25ind/html/51mil.html


Human Trafficking GET HELP

National Human Trafficking Hotline - 24/7 Confidential

1-888-373-7888 233733 More Information on human trafficking in Maryland

Customer Service Promise

The State of Maryland pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers, and stakeholders with friendly and courteous, timely and responsive, accurate and consistent, accessible and convenient, and truthful and transparent services.

Take Our Survey

Help Stop Fraud in State Government

The Maryland General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Audits operates a toll-free fraud hotline to receive allegations of fraud and/or abuse of State government resources. Information reported to the hotline in the past has helped to eliminate certain fraudulent activities and protect State resources.

More Information