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ReserveVoice: January 15, 2016

Legislative Update

Congress Convenes

We barely ended the First Session of the 114th and Congress already began the Second session on 5 January 2016.  This year the Republicans are holding their Issues Conference 14-15 January and the Democratic Issues Conference occurs 28-29 January 2016 (Congressional calendar for 2016).  The issues conferences are the opportunity for party leadership and members to review and discuss issues to inform their thinking and strategy for the coming year.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Exploratory Reports

The budget that passed on 18 December, HR 2029, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, included a Joint Explanatory Statement which directed several reports on the Remotely Piloted Aircraft mission.  According to the Air Force, “The MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), commonly known as drones, have individual pilots and crews who are physically located in control centers often thousands of miles from the aircraft.  These officers have completed the same undergraduate flight training as other pilot specialties.”  Congress is challenging the concept that drones can only be operated by officers.  They believe this is a mission that could be opened to enlisted personnel and the Secretary of the Air Force was directed to submit two reports:
  • Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft: Report to assess the feasibility of training enlisted personnel as remotely piloted aircraft pilots, include an updated list of  any pay and incentives that these pilots are eligible to receive, and provide a breakdown of how the pilots have populated the community.
  • Air National Guard Remotely Piloted Aircraft Missions: Report on the cost-effectiveness of using Air National Guard units to conduct remotely piloted aircraft missions along the United States- Mexico border in support of Department of Homeland Security missions.

A maintenance Airman inspects an MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan Oct. 1. (Courtesy photo).  The U.S. Air Force proposed the MQ-9 Reaper system in response to the Department of Defense directive to support initiatives of overseas contingency operations.  The remotely piloted aircraft can be disassembled and loaded into a single container for deployment worldwide.
Congress believes the AF can train enlisted personnel as pilots because the Army and Navy have been successful in this endeavor with their Warrant Officer (WO) ranks.  The Navy officially terminated their WO pilot program in 2013 even though it was considered a successful venture.  In NAVADMIN 192/13, SUBJ/TERMINATION OF NAVY'S FLYING CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER "PILOT", stated, “While the program has produced quality aviators, the [Unrestricted Line] URL inventory profile has changed and a requirement for flying CWOs no longer exists.

National Guard and Reserve Equipment (NGREA)

The recently passed budget provided $1,000,000,000 for National Guard and Reserve Equipment.  While it was a disappointment that it did not follow the 2014 levels the House and Senate Armed Services Committees first authorized, it was fortunate that the appropriators included funding despite the budget agreement that reduced funding overall.
Reserve Component Funding
Army National Guard $330,000,000
Air National Guard $330,000,000
Army Reserve $140,000,000
Air Force Reserve $140,000,000
Navy Reserve $  50,000,000
Marine Corps Reserve $  10,000,000
Priority consideration is expected to be given to the following items:
Acoustic Hailing Devices, Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures, Advanced Targeting Pods, Security and Support Mission Equipment Communications Packages for UH-60 Civil Support Communications, Electromagnetic In-flight Propeller Balance System, Joint Threat Emitter Systems, Data Links in Ground Vehicles, upgrades for First Responder Tactical Radios, Training Systems and Simulators, Multi-Mission Wide Area Sensors, Wireless Mobile Mesh Network Technologies, Personal protection radiation dosimeters, Integrated Facial Protection components for standard issue helmets, Laser Protective Eyewear, HMMWV Ambulances, Small Arms Simulation Training Systems, Crashworthy Auxiliary Fuel Systems, Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion, Semi-Permanent Humidity Controlled Shelters, Counter Mortar Radar Systems, Active Electronically Scanned Array Radars for F-16, Digital Radar Warning Receivers for F-16 and C-130, and Engine Upgrades for C-130 including Modular Blade Technology.

Army Update

The National Commission on the Future of the Army is in the final stages of completing and releasing their report.  The NCFA came into being in the early spring 2015 and has done a prodigious amount of work, including research, hearings, and town halls throughout the country.   Assuming the security review of their final draft is approved, the final report will be adopted in mid-January by the commission and prepared for publication.
Private briefings to Army, Department of Defense, and national security leaders are scheduled for 27 January.   The release of the report will take place on 28 January at 2 p.m. at the Hall of States in Washington, DC, at a session of the NCFA that is both a meeting and press conference with the event open to the public.  
Beginning on the 29th, the commission members and staff will engage in a whirlwind series of briefings for defense writers, defense-related think tanks, and a variety of Army academic entities.     We anticipate that we will be able to bring you a brief summary of the highlights of the report in the next Reserve Voice and also have links to the report at that time.   We also anticipate hosting/sponsoring a major program on the report on 8 March at ROA headquarters in conjunction with the Reserve Forces Policy Board Fellows Society and NGAUS at which we expect to have both NCFA and leaders of the Army Reserve and Guard as well as other participants.

Operation Desert Storm & Provide Comfort 25TH Anniversary Reunion

A reunion of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Provide Comfort US Army Civil Affairs veterans, fellow military veterans, civilian associates, families, and friends is being planned for Joint Base Andrews on 24 September 2016 in recognition of the 25th anniversary of those operations.  Ambassador Edward (Skip) Gnehm, the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait during this period, has agreed to attend as an honored guest and featured speaker.  Ambassador Gnehm is currently a professor and Director of the Middle East Policy Forum at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
All who would like to attend are welcome.  The intent is to have a relatively informal event with the emphasis on seeing old friends, making new ones, and general comradeship.  In keeping with the spirit of the event, dress will be civilian business casual.  The evening will begin with a cash bar at 1600 hours and a buffet dinner at 1700, followed by brief remarks, music and dancing.  The cost is $50 per person. 
Checks should be made payable to “Desert Storm/Provide Comfort 25th Anniversary Reunion” and mailed to LTC (Ret) F.R “Frenchie” Verrier, 594 Duffield Dr., Saverna Park, MD 21146. Including your email address with your check will ensure that updates and additional information (such as lodging arrangements, base security procedures, and venue directions) are sent to you directly.  Periodic updates for the reunion will be provided through the Civil Affairs Association newsletter, the CA website, and the reunion’s Facebook Page:  2016 DESERT STORM PROVIDE COMFORT 25 REUNION.
Questions or requests for additional information should be directed to the co-chairs: COL (Ret) George Padar at 301-466-7536/; or LTC (Ret) Verrier at 410-428-2294/

Navy Update

The budget did include legislative language that was a welcome development for the Navy Reserve in that it directed a report on the F/A-18A+ models.  Here is the language in its entirety:


The tactical aviation squadrons of the Navy Reserve fulfill the strategic reserve mission for the Navy and provide adversary support to active duty forces. The aging F/A-18A+ aircraft are projected to begin exceeding their service lives in the next five years. The Secretary of the Navy, in coordination with the Chief of Navy Reserve, is directed to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than 90 days [18 March 2016) after the enactment of this Act on the plan to recapitalize and modernize the Navy Reserve tactical aviation squadrons, specifically the F/A-18A+ models in the Navy Reserve Combat air fleet.
The Navy Reserve has 2 F-18 units with aircraft from between 1989-1991.  In 2013 a recent article stated, “As initially envisioned, the Hornet’s lifespan was capped at 6,000 flight hours. The Navy extended that to 8,000 hours, and is trying to extend it further to 9,000 hours. . . We’re in uncharted territory, trying to coax another 1,000 hours out of jets that already have been overflown by 2,000 hours,” Hennessey said.”  Today, two years later those flying hours are less than 1,000 hours.
The mere presence of the U.S. Navy fleet around the world is a deterrent against threats and ensures the free flow of commerce.   But the fleet is too small -- and in just about every way.    While China is expanding its fleet, the size of ours has dropped from nearly 600 in the Reagan years to about 275.   Last month, Defense Secretary Carter decided to slow the growth of the fleet in favor of more advanced technology, missiles and aircraft.   While the latter are needed, the downside is that deployments are much longer – eight or nine months rather than the traditional six months, with attendant stress on sailors and their families.    Experienced personnel may begin to vote with their feet causing even greater maintenance issues and personnel shortages. Although the Navy has the greatest percentage among the services of the DoD budget – about 29% (the AF is 28%, the Army 25% with other DoD entities spending the remainder) -- it is still too small to provide adequate numbers of aircraft carriers, submarines, supply ships, amphibious craft and surface combatants.  

In the meantime, China is growing its fleet.  It is predicted to have more than 70 submarines by 2020, about the same number as the U.S.  China has one carrier and is building another.   Granted, we have 11 carriers, but between being spread thin around the world and undergoing necessary maintenance, we were unable to maintain a carrier in the Persian Gulf the last couple of months of 2015.  The cost of a new carrier is enormous – about $14 billion for the new Ford class as opposed to $7 billion for the Nimitz class.  More ships are needed in other categories as well.  The Navy currently spends a bit over $16 billion a year on shipbuilding, but to achieve a 350-ship Navy within 30 years it would need to add $7 billion a year.  That is a lot of money, but still just over 1% of the overall annual DoD budget, which is just under $600 billion total.  Procurement reform and other management reforms designed to cut bureaucratic elements of the uniformed and civilian workforce would go a long way toward making a robust shipbuilding effort possible and enable the Navy to continue its global dominance in the face of growing threats.  So might avoiding unnecessary foreign entanglements . . .

Coast Guard Update

H.R.1987 - Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 and accompanying report, H. Report 114-115 and S.1611 - Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 with S. Report 114-168, are both still pending in their respective committees, the House - Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate - Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  For the rest of the Reserve Components, it is unimaginable to consider not have an authorization bill pass.  This is especially critical because the House bill includes legislation that would supports allow pay raises and benefits consistent with their counterparts in the Department of Defense.
After the reading of the bill on the House floor, Representative Garret Graves (LA), recognized the importance of the Coast Guard by stating, “I also want to thank the men and women of the Coast Guard for the tremendous job they do for our Nation. Coast Guard servicemembers risk their lives on a daily basis to save those in peril, ensure the safety and security of our ports and waterways, and protect our environment; and they do all this on aging and obsolete cutters and aircraft, some of which were first commissioned in World War II.

Air Force Update

Remembering Desert Storm –
Where we are today in the Total Force Continuum

Brig. Gen. Craig La Fave
Total Force-Continuum Office
“See all those contrails heading north, Captain?” the salty lieutenant colonel asked me on January 16, 1991. 
“Yes sir!” I replied, flying as a brand new aircraft commander in the C-141B Starlifter.  The contrails covered the darkening sky and seemed like hundreds of fingers reaching north into Iraq to grab Saddam Hussein. 
“That means we are at war,” said the colonel, as the cockpit fell silent and each crewmember pondered the greater implication of the contrails.  That was a quarter of a century ago this week, marking the opening salvo in Operational Desert Storm.  The operation was an American shock and awe campaign to evict Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and displayed airpower that the world had not seen since Operation Linebacker II over Vietnam. 
I was honored to be part of the largest air bridge in history, often flying 24-hour airlift missions from Torrejon and Zaragosa, Spain, or Ramstein and Rhein Main, Germany, to locations in Saudi Arabia such as Dhahran or Riyadh.  The ramps at these locations were so full and it was sometimes difficult to find the assigned aircraft to preflight.  Loading crews were challenged to keep up with the volume of cargo and people necessary for the fight.  
We would often augment our crews with “pool pilots” – additional pilots to extend our crew duty day.  Each day was long and hot; our ground times “downrange” were short but filled with the apprehension of dreaded “Scud” missile alerts.  Tired crews would return to Europe for a short rest before repeating the process.  We were all supported by the greatest cast the world has ever known, filled with maintainers, aerial porters, fuelers, logisticians, and services Airmen.  All told, the Total Force flew more than 69,000 sorties in support of Desert Storm.  The operation also saw the first comprehensive use of stealth and space technologies integrated with precision guided weapons.
Twenty-five years later, my C-141B has long ago been retired, replaced by the C-17 Globemaster III.  While much of our Air Force has been modernized since that first night in the desert, our average aircraft age today stands at 27 years.  We have gone from having 188 fighter squadrons during Desert Storm to 54 today.  Aging combat aircraft such as our B-52s and KC-135s are slated to keep flying for a decade or more. 
In Operation Desert Storm, I was an Airman in the Regular Component when it consisted of more than 600,000 Airmen; today, it has decreased to approximately 313,000 Airmen.  Even with that size, Desert Storm required more than 48,000 Air Reserve Component Airmen to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.  As a result of a smaller force, our Air Reserve Component, consisting of more than 105,000 Air National Guardsmen and 69,000 Air Force Reservists, have gone from a strategic reserve force to one that provides daily operational capability and surge capacity where needed.  These figures do not include the vital capability our Air Force civilian Airmen bring to the fight.  
Southwest Asia is no less secure and in some ways is more complex and dangerous even though Saddam Hussein is long gone.  Commitments to our friends and allies are not decreasing, so we will continue to rely on the Total Force more, not less.  In my current role in the Total Force Continuum Air Staff office, our team is looking for the most efficient mix of Regular, Guard, and Reserve Airmen in each primary mission area.  In the aggregate, our analysis shows that our Air Force is at least 12 percent too small for current requirements.  Just as during the peak of Desert Storm, we are “all in” and have cleared the bench to meet current requirements. 
We are also looking at policy and legislative ways to make our Total Force more integrated by preserving and leveraging the strengths and efficiencies of each individual component.  Programs that will allow transitioning between Air Force components, provide career development opportunities, and feature our three components working more closely together will become the norm over the next 25 years.
In commemoration of Desert Storm’s largest air campaign this week, make sure you thank a veteran for serving in the operation, and ask a wingman or relative who participated about their experiences. If you’re reading this and not part of the world’s greatest Air Force, consider joining either the Regular, Reserve, or Guard component.  We may be smaller than in 1991, but we’re the most lethal air, space, and cyber force.  And there is no question our Total Force will continue to answer our nation’s call!   

Brig. Gen. Craig L. La Fave is the Special Assistant to the Chief, Air Force Reserve and Military Deputy to the Total Force Continuum, Deputy Chief of Staff Strategic Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. On behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Total Force Continuum Office works to identify the appropriate balance of active and reserve components across missions and platforms and to reduce legal, organizational, policy, and cultural barriers to a more fully integrated Air Force.

General La Fave graduated from Lehigh University in 1986 and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. He attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Williams Air Force Base and served as a C-141B Special Operations Low Level II Evaluator Pilot. Since then, General La Fave has commanded at the squadron and wing levels, served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and completed combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a command pilot with more than 12,000 flying hours, including more than 5,000 military flying hours and 320 combat flying hours in numerous overseas contingency operations. In his civilian job, he is an airline pilot with a major U.S. carrier.

Member Update

March on the Hill

This year’s “March on the Hill” day is scheduled for 15 March 2016.  The morning will open with a briefing on the ROA’s legislative agenda and attendees will also be addressed by Congressional members/staff on several pending bills.  ROA Headquarters will provide several position papers in addition to the legislative agenda for members to use during their meetings in the House and Senate.

Top of the Hill ties the knot on first wedding

Just before the New Year, ROA’s Top of the Hill banquet and conference center on Capitol Hill, booked its first wedding.  Top of the Hill at the Reserve Officers Association welcomes wedding bookings, and is pleased to offer a discount to brides and grooms with ROA membership and to those with certain military affiliations.  The location is a perfect fit for a personalized ceremony, exquisite reception, or a dinner hall with dancing on Capitol Hill. 



Reunion Date:
11th Airborne Division Association’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and former members of the 11th Air Assault Division and the
187th Regimental Combat Team
February 21-24, 2016
Myrtle Beach, SC
Artie Heape - (843) 846-4693 or
Herb Shapiro - (410) 827-6410
The USS Ticonderoga (CV/CVA/CVS-14, CG-47) reunion will be in Las Vegas, NV, May 19-23, 2016, at the Gold Coast Hotel.

Contact: Floyd Frank: (702) 361-6660 or
The biannual reunion of the USS Turner Joy, DD-951, will take place 21-25 September 2016 at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach-Norfolk Hotel & Convention Center.  The hotel is located at 5655 Greenwich Road, Virginia Beach, Va. 23462
Details and registration information can be obtained at the USS Turner Joy website:

Richard D. Haight
USS Turner Joy DD-951
Reunion Coordinator
12359 Cold Stream Guard Ct.
Bristow, Va. 20136

Reunion Date:
12th TFW (MacDill AFB and Vietnam),
12th FEW/SFW (Bergstrom AFB and Korea)
and all their supporting units

April 20-24, 2016
Charleston, SC
E.J. Sherwood or 480-396-4681

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. 16001 Commission on Care Studies Veterans Health Administration
  • No. 16002 Interesting USERRA Discrimination Case
  • No. 16003 Section 4311 of USERRA Protects HR Professionals who Oppose USERRA Violations
  • No. 16004 Keep your Civilian Job Separate from your Reserve Component Assignment and
  • No. 16005 Don’t Burn the Bridge back to your Pre-Service Job
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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