Adjutant General, Illinois National Guard; Director, Department of Military Affairs

Brigadier General Richard R. Neely is the 40th Adjutant General of the State of Illinois. He assumed the duties of the Adjutant General on February 8, 2019. He serves as a member of the Governor's Cabinet as the Director of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs and is the Governor's principal advisor on military matters. As the Adjutant General, he is responsible for carrying out Illinois National Guard missions in supporting civil authorities during domestic operations and emergency relief efforts, operational readiness and supporting U.S. military operations across the world. General Neely is the senior officer in the chain-of-command for both the Illinois Air and Army National Guard. He is responsible for the daily operations of the Illinois National Guard and oversees approximately 13,000 men and women in uniform (2,286 full time) and 230 civilian employees in the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. General Neely works closely with the leadership of National Guard Bureau and the Departments of the Army and Air Force.

The Illinois National Guard missions include supporting civil authorities during domestic operations and emergency relief efforts and supporting U.S. military operations across the world. General Neely is responsible for the Illinois National Guard’s overall operational readiness. General Neely maintains the Illinois National Guard’s relationships with a multitude of local, state and federal agencies as well as non-governmental organizations that support the Illinois National Guard’s missions. He also maintains a close relationship with Polish military forces through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.

General Neely graduated Illinois State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 2011 he received his Master of Science in Public Administration with a certification as a Chief Information Officer from the National Defense University, District of Columbia. He received his commission from the Air National Guard in 1990.

During his nearly 29 years of service as a military officer, General Neely has served in numerous command, staff and operational positions, including the National Guard Bureau’s Principal Deputy Director for Air Operations where he oversaw Intelligence, Air, Nuclear, Cyber and Space Operations (A-2/3/6/10) and, additionally, served as the Air National Guard’s Chief Information Officer. At the National Guard Bureau he also served as the Chief of Current Operations (NG J33) where he was the focal point for National Guard Domestic Operations/Defense Support to Civil Authorities, and crisis management for federal interagency partners in support of the 54 States and Territories. In the State of Illinois he served as the Chief of Staff for the Illinois National Guard Joint Staff, the Illinois National Guard Director of Information Management/Chief Information Officer, and Deputy United States Property and Fiscal Officer for Illinois. General Neely is a Master Cyberspace Officer with other specialties in operations, logistics and finance. He is joint qualified and has two overseas deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

General Neely’s professional military education includes Squadron Officer School, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama; Air Command Staff College, Air University, completed by correspondence; Air War College, Air University, completed by correspondence; Commander, Air Forces (COMAFFOR) Senior Staff Course, Air Force Expeditionary Center, Fort Dix, New Jersey; National Defense University, Master of Science, Public Administration, Policy and Leadership (CIO), Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, District of Columbia; Joint & Combined Warfighting School (JPME II), Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University, Norfolk, Virginia; Cyber 400, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, District of Columbia.


General Neely’s military awards and decorations include Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal (with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Star), Iraq Campaign Medal (with 1 Bronze Star), Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal among others.

As of February 2019