A legislative committee voted 8-3 Monday to recommend that retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Diane L. Dunn be confirmed as the next leader of the Maine Army National Guard.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Diane Dunn Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

If confirmed by the Maine Senate, Dunn would become the first woman to hold the post of adjutant general and commissioner of Defense, Veterans and Legal Affairs.

The vote by the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee came after Republican lawmakers grilled Dunn about her views on diversity, equity and inclusion. One asked if she got promoted up the ranks because she is a woman. Three Republicans ended up voting against the recommendation.

Democrats pressed her on how she would fight sexual assault and harassment within the guard. They were unified in supporting Dunn.

Rep. Shelley Rudnicki, R-Fairfield, asked Dunn, who has more than 30 years of military service, whether she owes her career advancement to her gender, and whether she had ever promoted a female officer over a more qualified candidate.

Dunn noted that military promotions are done by a committee that is not usually told about a candidate’s race or gender.


Rep. David Boyer, R-Poland, picked up the line of questioning, asking Dunn, who has recently worked as adviser and chief of staff for the president’s office at the University of Maine, whether she supports the military’s blind promotion process or instead supports DEI initiatives.

Dunn said she did not see the two as mutually exclusive.

“The blind promotion is a merit-based promotion and the efforts that I worked on at the university were to create a community of inclusion so that everyone is seen equitably,” she said. “I believe those two things support each other.”

Democrats asked Dunn how she planned to address sexual harassment and assault in the guard, as well as suicides among veterans.

Dunn said combating both issues requires constant communication and education, while also providing a safe environment for people to step forward for help and the resources and tools to support those individuals.

“The more we can educate, inform, communicate and provide support and resources to individuals helps with that safety net,” Dunn said.

Three Republicans – Boyer, Rudnicki and Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris – voted against Dunn’s nomination, which will be taken up by the Senate in the coming days.

Dunn, who lives in the Kennebec County community of Rome, is a former assistant adjutant general and chief of staff of the Maine Army National Guard with 33 years of military service. In 2014, she became the first woman to command a brigade in the Maine Army National Guard. Upon her promotion to brigadier general in 2020, she became the first female general officer in the 200-year history of the Maine Army National Guard.

Dunn has served as company commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 286th Supply Services Battalion in Bangor, battalion commander of the 240th Regional Training Institute while it was in Augusta, battalion commander of the 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in both Bangor and Afghanistan, and brigade commander of the 120th Regional Support Group in Bangor.

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