Murphy nominates Hou for permanent post leading Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs

Gov. Phil Murphy has nominated Col. Dr. Lisa Hou to serve as adjutant general and commissioner of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, he announced Monday. Hou, who has served in the role in an interim capacity since October, would be the first Asian American and first female adjutant general in state history.

“Col. Hou took the reins of the New Jersey National Guard and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in the midst of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “Since Day One, she has demonstrated that she is the right person for the job, from overseeing the deployment of our National Guard to our vaccination sites, to taking immediate action to keep our veterans safe, to sending National Guard members to our nation’s capital to defend our democracy.

“I know that Col. Hou will bring the same dedication to this job as she has exhibited throughout her entire career, including her tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Before taking on the interim leadership post, Hou was deputy adjutant general and assistant commissioner for operations at the DMAVA. In the New Jersey National Guard, Hou was the first joint surgeon, coordinating medical efforts with partner agencies during domestic operations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am grateful to Gov. Murphy for selecting me to head this department, which has proven vital to the citizens of New Jersey during this pandemic,” she said in a statement. “With 25-plus years wearing an Army uniform and nearly the same amount of time as a doctor, it feels like I have been training for this job for decades. As a physician and veteran, I’m determined to make New Jersey a better place for veterans, service members and their families.”

Hou also has served as commander of the Medical Command and as the state surgeon, among other leadership roles. Her military career includes tours as a field surgeon in Afghanistan in 2011 and a senior field surgeon in Iraq in 2005-06.

She has a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Osteopathic Medicine.