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ReserveVoice: September 30, 2016

Legislative Update


Results of the Resolution and Legislation Committee meeting and votes by the National Convention delegates for September 2016 are presented.

Two new resolutions were passed for 2016.  They will soon be posted on the ROA website in October.
  • 16-VA-03, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses Full Practice Authority.Expanding the use of APRNs would not only address the needs of the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide quality care to veterans but it could also lead to increased employment of Guard and Reserve servicemembers who are qualified APRNs from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Combat Support Hospitals and Forward Surgical teams.
  • 16-MN-04, Combat Zone Designation. The resolution was approved for presentation during General Assembly.This resolution will establish combat zone designation to the Egypt Sinai mission where the Army National Guard provides support for the Multi-National Force and Observers.
  The 33 resolutions from 2013 were reviewed and 28 were renewed while four resolutions were approved to expire.  Three of the four were not renewed because the resolutions were accomplished.


There is nothing unusual this year in the fact that Congress has not yet passed a budget.  The drill is they don't pass a budget, the do pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) and they do try again to pass a budget when the CR ends.  The problem this year is they are going on recess at the end of September until after the November elections and don't have time to try, try, try, again.  On 28 September, Congress passed a CR until 9 December, however, they still won’t have a lot of time left to finally finish a budget once they return around mid-November.  This means there is a greater chance they will pass another CR until Spring 2017 and 2016 will end without a budget. 

NDAA Update

The House and Senate Armed Services Committee did a terrific job during the Congressional summer recess to iron out conference details for resolving chamber and party differences.  When the “Big 4” met, the Chairmen (2) and Ranking Members (2) released positive statements regarding how the defense bill would move forward.  ROA is hopeful Congress will publish a final conference report so votes can occur sooner rather than later.

ROA Convention

ROA members proved again why they are the best association members, ever!  The ideas and focus on national strategy they provided will be used in ROA's 2017 legislative agenda.  For example, they provided sound reasons and examples for why the Reserve Components should have a biannual military personnel account.  If Congress agrees to provide funds every two years for this account there will be no lapses in meeting mission requirements when the Department of Defense annual budget is not passed.  In other words, when Congress has trouble passing a budget there would still be funds for the Guard and Reserve to complete operational missions.  That is the very definition of enhancing national security readiness!

ROA wins overturn of court disenfranchising military voters

In a favorable outcome for the amicus brief filed by ROA on behalf of military voters, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the decision of United States District 18 Court for the Northern District of New York, Judge Frederick Scullin, and canceled the special do-over primary that the district court had ordered, which would have created a primary scheduled with inadequate time for absentee military voters to cast their ballots. > Read the Summary Order
In 2009, Congress amended the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) by adding an explicit requirement that each state transmit absentee ballots to UOCAVA voters (military personnel and family members within or outside the United States and U.S. citizens outside our country temporarily or permanently) at least 45 days before Election Day.
ROA’s amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief urged Judge Scullin to reconsider his hasty and ill-considered order for a new Republican primary on October 6, which would have disenfranchised military voters.  In the alternative, ROA asked the judge to order a delay of the NY-3 general election until 45 days after the certification of the results of the October 6 special primary. ROA avoided taking positions on the question of who should be the Republican nominee or who should be the next Congressman from NY-3. Our only interest was in ensuring that those who serve our country in uniform should, as voters, be able to enjoy the very rights they protect.
The Second Circuit has now made clear that the 45-day rule is not optional. It is a binding requirement of federal law that will be enforced by the federal courts, even when complying with the 45-day rule is inconvenient. For more information, see Law Review 16085

ROA intervenes to force government implementation of
law allowing faster VA firings

ROA “signed onto” (at no financial or legal risk to our association) a suit brought by Michael Morley, a lawyer filing a pro bono brief on behalf of veterans in a case connected with mistreatment of veterans at the Phoenix VA hospital.  According to Morley in an email sent Saturday, “the court granted our motion to intervene in Helman v. Department of Veterans Affairs to defend the constitutionality of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act ("VACAA")!  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has allowed our coalition of 12 military and veterans groups to become parties to the case, accepted our brief, and ordered Helman and the Government to respond to our arguments as to why VACAA is constitutional.”
In Morley’s words, “. . . it gives us an opportunity to defend the interests of veterans throughout the nation who rely on VA hospitals for their medical care.  As parties to the case, we now can prevent collusion between Helman and the Government to undermine the VACAA, and are in a position to continue litigating these issues before the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.” 
Morley uses the term “collusion”: The VA secretary chose to abandon compliance with the law rather than follow it and fire a senior executive; the attorney general’s decision not defend the law's constitutionality further displays the administration’s posture toward hard decisions in connection with the entrenched bureaucracy. It is entirely possible the VA secretary’s hands were thus tied . . .
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted the motion by ROA and other military associations to intervene in this lawsuit, to defend the constitutionality of VACAA after DOJ refused to defend this law. Now, ROA is not just an amicus curiae (friend of the court). We are a party; we moved to intervene, and our motion was granted.

Here’s a fairly new website that often has interesting articles

Army Update

Update on the Army’s Readiness Challenges

 At a meeting with Army leaders Wednesday, military and veterans groups were provided an update on the Army’s readiness challenges, with nearly 200,000 its forces spread over 140 countries.  ROA provides this slide deck, presented by Army Deputy Chief of Staff G3/5/7 Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson; it tells a story of undiminished commitment and diminished resources.  The lead bullet on page 11 summarizes the predicament: "Army is challenged to meet simultaneous National Military Strategy demand with sufficient ready forces.” >READ MORE

Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year competitor, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Scott, 95th Training Division (IET), high crawls under the wire obstacle on the fit to win obstacle course at Fort Jackson, S.C., during the 2016 TRADOC Drill Sergeant of the Year competition, Sept. 8.(U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton)

“There is an evolving threat picture, and we must ensure that we…are ready and relevant in that environment.”  

We are America’s Army Reserve. We serve the people of the United States, with a mission to field combat-ready units across a wide array of capabilities. We support the Army’s requirement to provide ready and lethal forces to combatant commands around the globe — whenever and wherever we are needed. We provide capability to the Army in order to reduce the force-structure requirements of a standing Army. We mitigate operational risk at significant cost-savings to the Nation, while generating strategic deterrence by retaining the President’s expeditionary options.  > READ MORE

Ambassadors Receive the Way Ahead

Photos and article by Master Sgt. Marisol Walker, Army Reserve Communications
CRYSTAL CITY, Va. – More than 60 Army Reserve Ambassadors came together from across the Nation to focus on the program’s efforts and the way ahead.

Incoming Chief of Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey addresses U.S. Army Reserve Command staff (Army Reserve photo)

The Chief of Army Reserve outlined his priorities at the Sept. 16, 2016 annual Ambassador Forum.  Army Reserve Ambassadors are leaders in their communities who invest their time, commitment, and energy to tell the Army and Army Reserve story. 
“We have to do this together and our focus for the next four years is to win America’s wars,” said Lieutenant General Charles D. Luckey, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command.  > READ MORE

Pennsylvania Ambassador George H. Duell, Jr. presents Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey, a framed photo of the Vietnam Moving Wall, which was located in Dailey’s hometown of Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Sept. 16, 2016.  Dailey was a guest speaker at the annual Army Reserve Ambassador Forum and discussed the Army’s top priorities with the group. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sgt. Marisol Walker/Released)

Naval Services Update

Navy Section

Change of Command

Rear Adm. Thomas W. Luscher properly relieved Rear Adm. Eric Coy Young on September 21 as the commander of Navy Reserve Forces Command.  Admiral Luscher brings a wealth of experience, an aviators wit, and a warriors tenacity with him to the position.  Rear Admiral Luscher was a panelist at ROA’s annual convention in 2015, a member of our Reserve Chiefs panel.
Rear Admiral Young will be retiring and moving to Texas following an amazing tour where he was the consummate skipper, leading and mentoring the force through some extremely rough waters, including the Chattanooga shootings, and the arming of all off-base Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSCs — Reserve Centers for non-Navy types).  Fair winds and following seas, Shipmate! > READ MORE

ROA President Jim Sweeney with new Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Luke M. McCollum and the admiral's wife Leanna after the ceremony Sept. 26 at the Washington Navy Yard. Sweeney, a retried USMC colonel, met Admiral McCollum during an assignment in Shanghai, China, in a language study abroad program for Mandarin Chinese.

ROA sends thanks and “fair winds and following seas” to departing Navy Reserve Chief Vice Adm. Robin Braun, who is retiring and looking forward to a multi-month sojourn across the U.S. with her husband, Mike, himself a retired career naval aviator (whom she met on their first day in flight school).  Admiral Braun was the first woman to lead any reserve component of the military.  She been a friend and supporter of ROA and naval reservists!

SECDEF expands DIUx  with third unit in Austin, TX

The SecDef’s Defense Innovation Unit - Experimental (DIUx) is led by Navy Reserve Cmdr. Doug Beck, a decorated combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan in uniform; and, a Vice President for APPLE during his civilian time.  SecDef Carter is leveraging capabilities only able to be delivered by Reserve and Guard members - the unique combination of civilian and military expertise.  Charged with being thought leaders in the realm of technology innovation, the Pentagon’s outlying presence in Austin will help expand DIUx's national reserve element. > Read the full story

Marine Corps Section

USMCR Centennial celebration continues around the country

MCAS Miramar Air Show celebrates 100 years of reservists > READ MORE

Marine Forces Reserve Celebrates Centennial in New York

Reserve Marines are greeted by Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of the Today Show, during the celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Centennial, at Times Square, New York, Aug. 29, 2016. The Marines are commemorating 100 years of rich history, heritage, esprit de corps, and a bond with not only New York City but with all communities across the U.S> READ MORE

Coast Guard Section

Coast Guard Reserve Unit Pacific Command welcomes new commanding officer

Capt. Andrew Grenier relieved Capt. William Noftsker as the Coast Guard Reserve Unit Pacific Command commanding officer during a change of command ceremony at Base Honolulu, on September 23rd.  Coast Guard Reserve Unit Pacific Command supports PACOM’s missions, taking them to all corners of the Pacific and supports approximately 380,000 U.S. military and civilian personnel assigned to the USPACOM area of responsibility dedicated to protecting our mutual security interests. > READ MORE

U.S. Coast Guard Honors Reserve Pioneer Dorothy Kurtz

Dorothy Kurtz, a true pioneer, was laid to rest on September 19th.  During World War II, , President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve. The Women’s Reserve came to be referred to as the SPARS, an acronym representing the Coast Guard motto, “Semper Paratus - Always Ready.”  One of the first women to join the ranks of the SPARS was Dorothy E. Kurtz.  She continued to serve in the Coast Guard Auxiliary until she passed at age 93. > READ MORE

NOAA awards first-ever satellite data contracts to private industry

Resource constraints are driving innovation and new partnerships at NOAA.  On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded contracts to two private companies to join the government in acquiring weather data from space for the purpose of improving weather forecasts.  These contracts may mark the start of a new era — in which private companies are given incentives to launch weather satellites and sell their data to the government. > READ MORE

NOAA Researchers Explain What it's Like to Fly into a Hurricane

Frank Marks, the head of NOAA's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project and Commander Justin Kibbey, a NOAA pilot, took questions about what it's like to fly into hurricanes to gather data crucial to helping forecasters predict a storm's movement. > READ MORE

US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

State of Emergency Declared in USVI's Mental Health Care

USPHS is not only an ever present source of health care and policy, but also when things get really bad, elected leaders know to reach out to the experts.  Virgin Island Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp reached out to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, requesting immediate assistance from various federal agencies, including the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to provide acute and chronic mental health services at the territory’s two hospitals and in the V.I. Department of Health. > READ MORE

Air Force Update

Air Force ExCom Election Results

During the National Convention the Air Force Section filled three vacancies for President-Elect and the Executive Committee.

Lt Col Donald L. Stockton, USAF (Ret.)
National President Elect
Term: 9/14/2016-9/30/2017

TSgt Stephanie Chitty, USAFR
AF National Jr Vice President
Term: 9/14/2016-9/30/2018

Col David Anderson, USAFR
AF National Executive Committeeman
Term: 9/14/2016-9/30/2018

Reserve commander discusses shaping the force for the future

In the next two years ROA will be embarking on a special effort to educate Congressional members and staff about the Guard and Reserve contributions to the cyber mission.  This is a mission especially suited to the Reserve Forces because it brings cutting edge techniques and knowledge from their civilian jobs to the military.  Air Force Reserve Commander and Chief, Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller recently discussed the future of cyber at the AFA 2016 Air, Space & Cyber Conference, “Preparing for the future requires change and looking for new options. With that in mind, Miller said the Air Force Reserve is committed to looking for opportunities for growth in space, cyberspace and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It also means looking to industry experts, particularly in space and cyberspace, to leverage their civilian experience in order to increase the force’s effectiveness.” > Read more of Gen. Miller’s comments on


USS Waldron DD-699

April 27-May 1, 2017,
Doubletree by Hilton at the Houston Hobby Airport
8181 Airport Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77061
Contact: Ron Wells,  Phone: 512-282-4507

UPT Class 67C

Date: October 28-30, 2016
Location: Mesa, AZ   
Contact: Jerry Engles for further information:

USS Voge (DE/FF-1047) Reunion

5-9 October 2016
Warwick RI
Reservations: call MRP at 817-251-3551or go
Reservation deadline:  24 August 2016
Contact: Tom Anderson/501-259-1369 or Jan Harris/
For additional Info go to Voge Facebook Page or email

Law Reviews:

Legal analysis on the issues impacting your life in and out of uniform

Former Service Member’s Law Center director, retired USNR Capt. Sam Wright, provides periodic law review updates.  Please see ROA’s Law Center webpage for more information on service members’ law.
  • No. 16094 New USERRA Lawsuit Filed against UAL over Pension Contributions, Sick Time Accrual, and Vacation Accrual
  • No. 16095 USERRA, the SCRA, and Statutes of Limitation
  • No. 16096 USERRA Overrides the Collective Bargaining Agreement
  • No. 16097 USERRA Obligations of the Administrator of a Multi-Employer Pension Plan
  • No. 16098 Congress Enacted an Amendment for Exactly your Situation
Visit the Service Members Law Center
Reserve Voice is published on the 15th and 30th of each month by the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, the nation’s leading advocate for Reserve Component policy and resourcing, and support of RC service members and their families.

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