Governor Phil Murphy

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Governor Murphy Announces Leadership Transitions at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs


Colonel Dr. Lisa J. Hou, D.O., Named Interim Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Brigadier General Patrick M. Kennedy to Serve as Deputy Adjutant General

New Interim Administrators to be Named at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes at Paramus and Menlo Park

Acting Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs Col (Ret.) Walter R. Nall to Also Serve as Interim Director of DMAVA Division of Veterans Healthcare Services


TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced a leadership transition at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA). Effective immediately, current DMAVA Deputy Adjutant General, Colonel Dr. Lisa J. Hou, D.O., will become Interim Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, replacing Major General Jemal J. Beale.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, despite significant challenges, DMAVA has worked to save lives and support our veterans,” said Governor Murphy. “Having served as a Field Surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of the conflicts and as a respected medical professional, Dr. Hou will provide invaluable leadership during the ongoing pandemic. We wish General Beale the best in his future endeavors.”

“It is an honor to be called upon to lead one of the greatest battles our department has ever faced,” said Colonel Dr. Lisa Hou, D.O. “Protecting our veterans and supporting our military personnel will be my priority today, and every day. We must all work together to defeat this pandemic and I am committed to doing everything possible to the lead the Department and the National Guard through this difficult period of time.”

Dr. Hou currently serves as the Deputy Adjutant General and Assistant Commissioner for Operations at DMAVA. She has been the principal advisor for military readiness, mobilizations, homeland security, defense support to civil authorities, human resources, logistics, training, and financial management to the Adjutant General. In the New Jersey National Guard, she serves as the first Joint Surgeon, coordinating medical efforts with partner agencies during domestic operations, such as the pandemic.

Previously, Dr. Hou served in the dual roles of commander of the Medical Command and the State Surgeon. In those capacities, she was responsible for the medical and dental readiness of more than 6,000 soldiers. Since 2013, Dr. Hou has also served as the Region II representative for the National Guard Bureau (NGB) Medical Advisory Group and, from 2018 to 2020, she served as the Chair of the Army National Guard Credentials Certification and Privileging Preparation Board. In August 2020, she became the Chair of the Army National Guard Medical Advisory Group.

In addition to her responsibilities with DMAVA, Dr. Hou is an active Colonel in the New Jersey National Guard.

In 2011, Dr. Hou served in Afghanistan as the Field Surgeon for Charlie Company, 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. She was the sole medical provider on an Afghanistan National Army base and was responsible for providing routine and advanced emergency medical care in the combat theater for more than 600 coalition soldiers, contractors, and foreign nationals.

From 2005 to 2006, she served in Iraq as the Senior Field Surgeon for Echo Company, 50th Main Support Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division, where she performed routine and advanced emergency medical care for coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians and maintained medical readiness for mass casualty trauma.

Dr. Hou joined the New Jersey National Guard in 1994 while a medical student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, NJ. She received her doctoral degree in Osteopathic Medicine in 1996.

She also earned a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in 2019. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Business Administration program at Rutgers School of Business – Camden.

Brigadier General Patrick M. Kennedy, current Assistant Adjutant General, will serve as Deputy Adjutant General.

General Kennedy’s military career began in August 1991 when he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the NJANG. After completing his undergraduate navigation training in October 1992, he qualified in the KC-135 aircraft. General Kennedy has over 2,200 flight hours to include combat support sorties. He has deployed and flown combat support sorties for both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. General Kennedy continued his career as a Maintenance Group Commander, Vice Wing Commander and Wing Commander. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Chief of Staff.

Kennedy holds a Bachelor’s degree in business from Richard Stockton College. He is a graduate of the Combat Survival School, Combat Flight Instructor Course, Squadron Officer School, Aircraft Maintenance and Munitions Officer Course, Air Command and Staff Course, and Air War College. His military awards include: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, New Jersey Commendation Medal, New Jersey Ribbon of Honor, New Jersey Merit Award Ribbon, New Jersey Desert Storm Support Ribbon, New Jersey Unit Strength Award Ribbon, and the Louisiana Emergency Service Medal.

Additionally, new Interim Administrators/CEOs will be named at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes at Paramus and Menlo Park.

Col (Ret.) Walter R. Nall, currently serving as the Acting Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, will take on the additional responsibilities of the Director of the Division of Veterans Healthcare Services, replacing Sean Van Lew.

Retiring as a Colonel from the New Jersey Army National Guard, Nall began his military career in 1983. Originally from Tuskegee, Alabama, he enlisted as a private in the Alabama Army National Guard. Upon completing Officer Candidate School, he commissioned as a Field Artillery Second Lieutenant in June 1986. Nall was called to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the 42nd DISCOM in 2005 and in Afghanistan with the Special Operations Command in 2011.

Nall holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Troy State University and a Masters’ of Science degree in management from Liberty University.  He is a graduate of the Field Artillery Officer’s Basic and Advance Courses, Quartermaster Officer’s Advance Course, Combined Arms Staff Service School, the Theater Sustainment Course, and the Command and General Staff College.  His military awards include: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, several Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the NATO Medal.

Nall is very active with community and fraternal organizations. He is a lifetime member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated and served as the Basileus (President) of the Delta Upsilon Chapter in Trenton. In addition, Nall is a member of other organizations, including: Veterans of Foreign Wars (Life Member), American Legion, Prince Hall Affiliated 32nd Degree Masons, and the Omega Delta Upsilon Foundation.