Col. Thomas Carden tapped to command Georgia Army National Guard

Gov. Nathan Deal has selected Col. Thomas Carden, the Georgia Army National Guard’s chief of staff, to serve as the state’s assistant adjutant general in charge of more than 11,000 Georgia soldiers.

In January, Carden will replace Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard, the Georgia Army National Guard commander who is set to take over as adjutant general that month.

Jarrard is replacing Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth as part of a cabinet reshuffling for Deal’s second term. Butterworth is leaving his post to oversee the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Carden enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard as an infantryman in 1986. He has commanded the 560th Battalion Surveillance Brigade and the Georgia Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion. He deployed to Iraq in 2005 as the effects coordinator for the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Carden, who lives in McDonough, said he will be focusing on ensuring the readiness of the state’s National Guard troops.

“They have to be trained and ready to deploy and we have to have a support network in place for their families,” he said. “It does not appear that the conflicts that we are in around the globe are going to dissipate anytime soon. So those calls can come at any time. We have to really focus on our people.”