Meet MOAA’s New Advocacy Chief

Meet MOAA’s New Advocacy Chief
Maj. Gen. April Vogel, USAF (Ret), left uniform in March and began her role as MOAA's vice president of Government Relations in June. (Photo by Mike Morones/MOAA)

(This article originally appeared in the July issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)


MOAA is welcoming a new leader for its Government Relations team. Maj. Gen. April Vogel, USAF (Ret), became the vice president for MOAA’s team of advocacy leaders in June.


Vogel brings more than three decades of service in the Air National Guard and has held command positions at numerous levels, including an active duty air mobility wing. She comes to MOAA from her most recent position as director of the Office of Legislative Liaison at the National Guard Bureau (NGB). In this role, she was the primary advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau on all matters of congressional interest and overall management of NGB’s legislative strategy.


The command pilot retired from service March 1. Vogel talked with Military Officer magazine in May about her career and her new role at MOAA:


Q. You’ve had a number of roles in command positions with the Air National Guard, including an air mobility wing. What has that experience meant to you?


A. Leading servicemembers is always an honor, and my command experiences in the Air Force, particularly as a wing commander, were both deeply rewarding and challenging.


In this role, I had the privilege of witnessing airmen in action across various operations, spending time in different shops and offices to observe our team members performing their duties.


What made the experience truly fulfilling was the opportunity to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds, all driven by a shared motivation to excel. Additionally, overseeing a base with over 30 mission partners, including U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command and international allies, was humbling and inspiring. Being part of such a high-performing team remains a source of pride, and I consider it the best job I’ve ever had.


AprilVogel-01.jpgBio in Brief

Who: Maj. Gen. April Vogel, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s vice president of Government Relations


Most recent role: Director for the Office of Legislative Liaison, National Guard Bureau


Other assignments include: Space initiatives project officer, Air Force Space Command; commander, 135th Airlift Squadron; commander, 6th Air Mobility Wing; Maryland assistant adjutant general for air; Air National Guard advisor to the secretary of the Air Force for international affairs; director for Manpower, Personnel, Recruiting, and Service at the Air National Guard Readiness Center


Flight: Command pilot rating, more than 1,600 flight hours.


Aircraft flown: C-130E, C-130J, C-27J, C-38, KC-135


Deployments as a pilot: Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom


Milestone: First Air National Guard commander of an active duty flying wing


Degrees include: Master of Science in national security strategy, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

MOAA’s Advocacy Leaders

Q. How have those command experiences shaped your perspective as you continue to serve the military community in your new role at MOAA?


A. Having witnessed firsthand the daily challenges our servicemembers encounter with benefits and services, I’ve gained invaluable insight into the real and pressing issues affecting our members and their spouses, families, and retirees.


This experience has equipped me with a deep understanding of the issues we’ll be addressing with Congress. When discussing these impacts, I can draw upon my own experiences navigating these challenges, providing a unique perspective grounded in real-world scenarios.


Q. What, in your view, are some of the priorities for advocacy that MOAA can undertake supporting the all-volunteer force?


A. We will continue to advocate for the priorities established this year: the Major Richard Star Act, the BAH Restoration Act, and protecting TRICARE For Life. As we look ahead, our priorities will be shaped by deliberate efforts to understand what is important to our MOAA community and what is important to our champions on the Hill.


By pinpointing the intersection of those two interests and sharing our narrative with as many offices as possible, we’ll significantly advance toward our objectives.



Maj. Gen. April Vogel, USAF (Ret), left, joined other MOAA team members for the Advocacy in Action day on Capitol Hill April 17. (Photo by Mike Morones/MOAA)


Q. You have been legislative director at the NGB, and you have experience working with lawmakers and their staffs on the Hill. How do you view your role at MOAA as you continue that kind of work?


A. As with any endeavor, relationships and trust are paramount. I plan to focus on nurturing existing connections and establishing new ones. Building those relationships, as well as navigating the landscape for support, will be crucial.


Q. You’ve also had experience in the manpower, personnel, and recruiting space and experience in advocating on behalf of airmen and their careers. What priorities for personnel would continue to be important to you?


A. My transition from operational roles to the personnel community provided me with invaluable insights into the “why” behind administrative policies and processes. While many guidelines promote transparency, sometimes regulations and instructions required a review for relevance and effectiveness. Advocating for necessary changes became a focus as I witnessed policies not always aligning with member needs.


This advocacy mindset will guide my approach here, acknowledging that solutions require thorough understanding of the problem, especially when navigating Congress’ diverse ideologies. My experience in personnel taught me the complexities of making meaningful changes. These are skills I hope to leverage in this new role.


Together, our Government Relations team will develop a comprehensive engagement plan for each congressional session. Setting clear goals for the calendar year and for the session’s end provides us with a roadmap to navigate and evaluate our progress.


Congress’ timeline, however, can be unpredictable, but having a structured engagement plan is crucial for our team. We’ll assess our effectiveness at the session’s conclusion, identifying areas of success and areas needing improvement to refine our approach for the future.


Adaptability is key when processes deviate from expectations, and I’m committed to establishing best practices that evolve with the ever-changing landscape on the Hill. Witnessing the passion and dedication at the Advocacy in Action events in April reaffirmed the shared purpose within our community. I’m excited to contribute to this collective effort in supporting and serving those who have served our country.


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About the Author

Kathleen Curthoys
Kathleen Curthoys

Kathleen Curthoys is a senior editor at Military Officer magazine. She joined MOAA after more than two decades as a writer and editor at news publications serving the military community.