While serving as the deputy commander, United States Northern Command, General Blum helped lead the command to anticipate, prepare and respond to threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories and interests within the assigned area of responsibility and, as directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, provide defense support of civil authorities including consequence management operations.
General Blum’s previous assignment was Chief, National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Virginia. As Chief, he was responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, programs and plans affecting more than half a million Army and Air National Guard personnel. Appointed by the President, he served as the principal adviser to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army, and the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force on all National Guard issues. As National Guard Bureau Chief, he served as the Army’s and Air Force’s official channel of communication with the Governors and Adjutants General. General Blum was instrumental in transforming the National Guard from a once ponderous Cold War strategic reserve into an agile, lethal operational force capable of joint and expeditionary warfare—a uniquely flexible force simultaneously capable of responding to a broad range of civil and humanitarian crises. As a result of General Blum’s vision, the Guard today stands more ready, reliable, essential and accessible than at any time in its near-four hundred years of existence.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, General Blum was responsible for the deployment of over 50,000 National Guard citizen soldiers and airmen from every state and territory. This operation was the largest, fastest and most effective military response to a natural disaster in history. The efforts resulted in the saving of over 17,000 lives. Additionally, he oversaw the deployment of 5,000 National Guard soldiers from 34 contributing states to the southwest border in a highly successful two-year long mission, Operation Jumpstart, providing military support to the US Border patrol.
Enlisting as a private and serving through the ranks, General Blum received his commission from Officer Candidate School on Aug. 28, 1971. He has commanded at every level to include a Special Forces Operational Detachment-A, a Light Infantry Battalion, an Infantry Brigade, and a Division Support Command. Prior to commanding the 29th Infantry Division (Light), General Blum served as Assistant Adjutant General for Army, Commanding General, Maryland Army National Guard, and Assistant Division Commander (Support), 29th Infantry Division (Light). General Blum served as the Commanding General for Multinational Division (North) Stabilization Force 10 in Operation Joint Forge, Bosnia Herzegovina. This complex multinational, coalition force of over 11,000 citizen-soldiers spread out over a five- state area (Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) was augmented by soldiers from a Russian Airborne Brigade, a Turkish Army Brigade and a multinational Nordic-Polish Brigade.
General Blum’s decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Achievement Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device and Gold Hourglass, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, NATO Medal, Special Forces Tab, Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge. In addition, he has been awarded Parachutist Badges from Russia, Poland and Canada.
General Blum has been appointed to the position of Executive in Residence with The Johns Hopkins University, School of Education, Division of Public Safety and Leadership. This appointment reflects the experience, education and the many contributions he has made to the nation in the field of public safety.