Storming the Hill
ROA members going to the convention are lucky! Congress will be finalizing the National Defense Authorization Act the week ROA members are in town for the ROA convention. This will be the last chance for ROA members to tell their Senators and Representatives what legislation needs to be included in the NDAA. It also looks like Congress will still be working on the defense budget. There will be a package available to everyone registering for the convention and “Storming the Hill” on the critical issues affecting the Guard and Reserve that you can take on your visits. Legislation will include retirement, Survivor Benefit Plan, and veteran status issues.
DoD has finally spoken about the new blended retirement plan recommended by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC). Below is a short summary of the DoD position on the MCRMC recommendations in the House and Senate NDAA.
MCRMC Retirement Update
DoD agrees with the House and Senate proposals:
DoD does not agree with the House and Senate proposals:
- 20 year retirement vesting with a 2.0 percent multiplier for each year of active service or by guard/reserve retirement points.
- Disability retired pay capped at 75 percent.
- 1 percent automatic contribution by DoD.
- 3 percent servicemember contribution and automatic enrollment automatic for the 401K Thrift Savings Plan with an opt-out option.
- DoD contribution rate up to 5 percent.
- DoD wants the disability retired pay to be at a 2.5 percent multiplier rate versus the House and Senate that want a 2.0 percent multiplier rate.
- Dod and the House would not have a lump sum retirement payment option versus the Senate which wants members to be able to receive the lump sum option provided in the MCRMC report.
- DoD contribution rate does not begin matching until the 5th year of service versus the House and Senate that begin matching at the start of the 3rd year of service.
- DoD continuation pay rate is at the discretion of the service and can be given between 8-16 years of service versus the House and Senate who at the 12 year of service provide a minimum of 2.5 percent for active and 0.5 percent for the guard and reserve payment.
Burial at Arlington – ROA Letter to Secy McHugh
ROA recently worked for SSgt Thomas Florich to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery after the Blackhawk helicopter crash in March 2015. The Army originally denied Mrs. Florich’s waiver request to bury her husband at Arlington National Cemetery because he had died while on inactive duty orders. ROA believes the law clearly supports Guard and Reserve members who die in the line of duty, regardless of their orders, as deserving to be buried at Arlington. ROA sent a letter to Secretary McHugh recommending a permanent change to Army policy so Guard and Reserve family members do not have to ask for a waiver.
Executive Director, Jeff Phillips, recently sent a letter to Senator Murray responding to a recent question she asked him at a Senate hearing concerning the Transition Assistance Program. The ROA position is that the reserve components (RC) can have different needs and a recent call for a study should look at the RC separately from the active components.
Senate Testimony – ROA Letter to Sen Murray
Selective Service Registration for Females
Do we value women’s military service as much as men’s? If we do, it is imperative to allow women to have an equal chance of serving their country. That is why the ROA supports registering women for the Selective Service System. This simple step would double the available population for the U.S. to draw upon in case of a national emergency that demands resources beyond the current active, reserve and National Guard forces
ROA met with Senator Gillibrand’s staff member Ryan Walsh to discuss the issue of Selective Service Registration for women. The meeting was helpful in highlighting how a substantial amount of female veterans do not value their service as much as their male counterparts and, consequently, do not claim veteran’s status. Pushing for women to register for the Selective Service sends the signal to female service members that their contribution is valued as much as their male counterparts by equalizing the basic requirements for national service among men and women. ROA Resolution 13-03, Selective Service Act Registration of Women, provides additional information on ROA support of this issue.
ROA Intern Program
This week’s intern profile is on Ben Booker. Ben Booker just finished his undergraduate degrees in history and political science at UC Berkeley. He has previous work experience in undergraduate research programs, a federal Congressional district office, and editing for a non-profit’s media outlet. Ben is interested in foreign affairs and national security with the intention of working on foreign policy development. ROA’s mission to advocate for a strong national defense and support America’s military forces attracted Ben to intern for the organization. Ben is working on legislative planning and strategy, helping prep for meetings with Congressional staff and crafting policy proposals for national security topics like defense planning implications of sequestration.
Full time Support (FTS) is the foundational activity for Reserve Component (RC) Readiness. It executes operational missions and shapes readiness by organizing, administering, instructing, recruiting, training, supplying, maintaining and by performing other routine functions such as medical support that enables readiness to occur. FTS encompasses personnel assigned in a full-time status that include civilian personnel, members of the Active Army, and personnel serving on Active Guard Reserve (AGR) status. In short, FTS is both a strategic and operational "enabler" that directly affects the readiness of Army Reserve units
Full-Time Support (FTS) Program Key to Readiness and Support to the Active Army – and Must be Fully Resourced
The objective of FTS is to improve RC readiness and mobilization/deployment planning and preparation through foundational enabling capabilities. FTS Allows Commanders to Train Versus Administer Their Units. FTS helps units to be more time efficient by carrying out administrative tasks that would otherwise divert the commander and other leaders from training by preparing for IDT weekends and annual training in advance, full-time support personnel play a role that unit leader's regard as essential to enabling operational readiness.
Today, in a period of rapidly shrinking budgets, the Army Reserve FTS program is under increasing scrutiny – often times by resourcing officials with plenty of Active Army experience but little to no reserve component experience. That’s why it is imperative for those of us with Reserve Component experience to use every opportunity to educate those who may not yet realize Full-Time Support (FTS) personnel is vital to mission of the Army Reserve (AR). A typical Citizen Soldier, when not deployed, might spend anywhere from 40 – 70 days a year on reserve duty. But the key enabler that makes it possible for them to be deployable and sustain unit readiness is the FTS program.
Support for the objective of improving RC readiness and mobilization/deployment planning and preparation is provided by Active Guard Reserve (AGR), Active Army (Title 11), and Federal Civil Service personnel (Mil-Techs and DA civilians). AGR personnel also support Active Army organizations in support of RC missions. AGRs are assigned to the Joint Staff, Combatant Commands, Headquarters of the Department of the Army, and Major Army Commands. Their duties are as diverse as service on senior staffs to ensuring that TPU service members receive their monthly paychecks. They are the resource that enables critical capabilities for the Total Army and Joint Force – they exemplify the Total Force Policy.
The Army Reserve provides nearly 20 percent of the Army’s Total Force for less than six percent of the Total Army budget. It accomplishes this with only 13 percent of the component serving as Full-Time Support (FTS) Indeed, the AR FTS program has historically been resourced at levels far less than required – currently at about 76% of required levels.
The FTS program must be resourced at higher levels to meet the ever increasing demands placed on the AR. By providing appropriate FTS levels and reinstating Title 11 (active component NCOs and officers) in AR formations, the AR can achieve required foundational activities, integrate training, increase readiness and implement the Army Total Force Policy. The FTS program should not be viewed by the Active Army as a potential “bill payer” to make up budget shortfalls. A fully staffed, broadly utilized FTS program serves both the AC and the RC in delivering vital Army capabilities to the nation.
The USCG Cyber Strategy was recently released and it was noted the search for a reference to the reserve components only found the word “reservist” on page 35. ROA hopes that as the Coast Guard develops their national strategy more information on how the reserve components will contribute can be included.
Coast Guard Strategy
“Recognize Cyberspace as an Operational Domain: The Coast Guard must promote a culture that recognizes the importance of cyberspace operations, which has become just as important as operations in physical domains. Operational commands at all levels must develop objectives and expectations for cyberspace operations within their areas of responsibility, and ensure that the cyber component is considered in all mission planning and execution. Additionally, every Coast Guardsman—enlisted, officer, civilian, reservist, or auxiliarist—must learn his or her roles and responsibilities for ensuring the Coast Guard remains secure and is able to maximize use of cyberspace to execute all missions.”
Air Force Update
When ROA visited Senator Blunt and Bo Porsch, Military Legislative Assistant, the discussion included how ROA members can support the initiative to maintain A-10 aircraft in the inventory. The A-10 helps provide critical close-air ground support to U.S. troops in combat. The A-10 has consistently proven its ability to defend and provide effective aerial support for ground troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Operating and maintaining the A-10 is less expensive than its current replacement providing potential savings in the long run for the armed forces. ROA members can write to the Senate Armed Services Committe expressing their support of the A-10:
The Honorable John McCain The Honorable Jack Reed
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman McCain and Ranking Member Reed:
"A Special Thank You and Alert"
To all of you who so very generously supported our recent ROA Sustaining Membership appeal, I want to say a very enthusiastic THANK YOU!
Your support could not have come at a more critical moment. With the United States facing a growing number of threats around the world, it is more important than ever that our Reservists receive the funding and support they need. That is why it is critical for ROA to advocate and aggressively work on behalf of every Reservist, past, present and future. Also, I am pleased to report to you that the response to the initial Sustaining Membership appeal has been strong. In the past several days many of you will have received a follow-up to that appeal. If you responded to the first appeal, please view this reminder as evidence of how important your support is to ROA's current efforts. Also, I hope that as you reflect on the state of our national defenses and the need for ROA to reinvigorate our strong voice for the Reserves you will consider a second contribution. Again, I want to thank you for your generous support and I promise to keep you updated on our actions on Capitol Hill and throughout Washington in the days and weeks ahead. –Jeff Phillips, Executive Director
ROA and Department news
ROA Receives Publishing Award
ROA received a bronze Excel Award from Association Media & Publishing at its 35th annual awards gala in Washington, DC, for the March/April 2014 Officer magazine article, "Hope from Tragedy," written by Janine Boldrin.
Right: ROA's Jeff Phillips and the Excel award, with Tina Enck of YGS Group, which publishes The Officer.
ROA’s Department of Virginia President Tom Hueg addressed the National Commission on the Future of the Army in Arlington, on June 18. ROA addressed the commission on May 20, in its first hearing, and will continue to work with the commission to help shape policy that supports strong RC funding and integration within the total force.
Delaware and Maryland Department Merge
Maryland Department President Hazel Robinson, Jeff Phillips, and Col. Jack Hayes representing Delaware, following the swearing-in of the department’s new officers.
ROA’s executive director, Jeff Phillips was honored to swear in new officers of the merged Department of Maryland and Department of Delaware; the merger was official on June 5, 2015. During his 13 June visit, Phillips provided the group an update on ROA's legislative agenda, the improving financial situation of ROA, and the status of departmental rebates.
Department of Maryland officers for the 2015-2016 year:
President - Hazel Robinson
Treasurer - Joe Glebocki
Secretary - Stephan Abel
National Councilman- Cheryl Becker
VP of Army - Duane DeVance
JrVP of Army - Amos Ajani
VP of AF - Joe Glebocki
Jr.VP of AF - Anna Rozelsky
VP of Navy - Stephan Abel
JrVP of Navy - vacant
ROTC Medal Coordinator - Duane DeVance
Membership chair - vacant
Public Relations - vacant
Championing servicemember rights
ROA sent Surgeon General Vice Adm. Vivek Murthy a second letter in as many weeks, asking his help righting an inequity at the Public Health Service. A lieutenant commander actively serving in the PHS commissioned corps, assigned to an Oklahoma Indian Health Center has suffered undue harassment at the officer’s job, with health consequences as a result. The PHS lieutenant commander filed a formal complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigated the complaint and found merit.
The complaint was against fellow PHS officers, including some in positions of authority over the officer within the PHS commissioned corps. After the EEOC found the claims to be meritorious, the PHS leadership referred the matter to the tribe that operates the health center. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tribe contends it isn’t the PHS officer’s employer; and that it has no control over and can’t be held responsible for the violations that EEOC found. ROA will follow up on this request to Surgeon General Murthy as well as its 29 May letter regarding a Bureau of Prisons inequity.
Outfit: USS Elokomin
Reunion Date: September 24-27, 2015
Location: Cleveland OH
Robert O’Sullivan, Theeloman@verizon.net
Ron Finet, Finet@hotmail.com
Outfit: USS Bon Homme Richard (CV/CVA-31)
Reunion Date: September 15-19, 2015
Location: San Antonio, TX
Contacts: Frank Pulliam 417-684-1358
Legal analysis on the issues impacting your life in and out of uniform
While ROA regretfully eliminated the full-time position of Service Member’s Law Center director, retired USNR Capt. Sam Wright has generously agreed to provide periodic law review updates and assistance on a voluntary basis while ROA develops an alternative SMLC solution.
Visit the Service Members Law Center
- No. 15052 Service Members Law Center--Six Years of Accomplishments and Continuing
- No. 15053 USERRA 101 Final Exam
- No. 15054 You Must Apply for Reemployment—Part 6
2015 ROA National Convention
Dates: July 26-29, 2015
Location: Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Hotel: Room Rate is $199 plus 14.5% tax
• ROA Registration – $475 advance / $575 onsite
• ROAL Registration – $375
• Memorial Breakfast – $50
• Guest Ticket: Welcome Reception – $85
• Guest Ticket: President’s Reception – $115
> More information and online Registration
Minuteman Hall of Fame: former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The Minuteman Hall of Fame is presented to a citizen or service member who has conspicuously contributed to the advancement of ROA programs and objectives. The Minuteman Hall of Fame award is among ROA’s highest tributes. Previous recipients include Presidents Truman and Kennedy, Senator Barry Goldwater, Gen. Creighton Abrams, and Bob Hope. Secretary Hagel, a former U.S. Senator, is the only Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as Secretary of Defense. He earned recognition with the Minuteman Hall of Fame with his support of the Reserve Components during his Pentagon tenure, with his open and inclusive posture toward veteran and military organizations, his meetings with them, his support of their issues, and his directives enabling access to military facilities for the purposes of supporting servicemembers. Secretary Hagel will be present to accept the award and offer remarks.
2015 ROA Convention awardees announced:
Twice the Citizen Award: acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard O. Wightman, Jr. The Twice the Citizen award is presented to a citizen or service member who has substantially contributed to the advancement of ROA programs and objectives. Assistant Secretary Wightman, a retired USAR major general who originally enlisted in the infantry and served in all three Army components, is retiring in July. He served from May 2012 to the present as principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense with responsibility for policy, oversight and supervision of the seven Reserve Components and the 1.1 million service members assigned to the Guard and Reserve. He earned Twice the Citizen recognition with his support of the Reserve Components during his tenure in the Pentagon, with his unstinting support of the Reserve Components throughout his tenure at DoD. Assistant Secretary Wightman will be present to accept the award and offer remarks.
Exclusive: To be unveiled at ROA’s convention 27 July: the newest addition to the USAF art program, “Deterrence on Demand,” by AF Reservist historian/artist Maj Warren Neary, depicts 307th Bomb Wing airmen ramping up a nuclear exercise mission at Barksdale AFB. USAF Vice Chief of Staff General Larry O. Spencer may attend the ceremony hosted by USAFR Chief Lt. Gen. James “JJ” Jackson. Among invitees for the unveiling, which will be made before the general assembly are veterans of the WWII 307th Bombardment Group.
RSVPs as of 22 June for ROA convention service section meetings:
- Maj. Gen. Glenn Lesniak, Deputy Chief, Army Reserve; or Maj. Gen. Lois Visot, Chief of Staff, United States Army Reserve; representing Chief of Army Reserve Jeffrey Talley.
- Command Sgt. Maj. Luther Thomas, Jr., Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve.
- Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, Director, Air National Guard, will represent General Frank Grass.
- Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell O. Brush, National Guard Bureau Senior Enlisted Advisor, invited.
- Vice Adm. Robin Braun, Chief of Navy Reserve, sending a senior representative.
- Navy Reserve Force Master Chief CJ Mitchell, invited.
- Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of the Marine Forces Reserve, invited.
- Sgt. Maj. Anthony A. Spadaro, Sergeant Major, Marine Forces Reserve, invited.
- Lt. Gen. James “JJ” Jackson, Chief of the Air Force Reserve, confirmed.
- Chief Master Sergeant Cameron B. Kirksey, Command Chief Master Sergeant, USAFR, confirmed.
- Rear Adm. Kurt Hinrichs, Director, USCG Reserve and Military Personnel, confirmed.
- Force Master Chief Eric L. Johnson, USCGR Force Master Chief, invited.
ROA is working with a faculty-directed cohort of Kaplan business students to develop improved processes at the national and state department levels to increase organization-wide communications, including better use of social media as a component of communications; increase memberships and associated revenue (including revenue from “affiliate” products, such as insurance, etc.); and implement a performance management regime with the goal of qualifying ROA to apply for Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award or similar designation.
ROA and Kaplan University partnering to enhance ROA organizational excellence.
“The revitalization of ROA is a prime opportunity to identify and stretch toward a high standard of organizational excellence to carry us into our second century,” said Jeff Phillips, ROA executive director. “The famed Baldrige award and the similar U.S. Senate Productivity
and Quality Award present criteria worthy of our aspiration on behalf of those we serve. Through Kaplan University’s generosity, we are fortunate to have the expertise, enthusiasm, and sheer energy of a team of business students and faculty to help us reach for excellence.”
Deals From Dell
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Clean Up with $15,000 in Prizes from the Exchange, Unilever
The time for spring cleaning may be over, but the Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Unilever are starting summer off by giving away $15,000 in prizes with the Salute to Clean Sweepstakes.
Beginning June 19, military shoppers worldwide will have the opportunity to win one of 30 Exchange gift cards worth $500 by entering the contest at shopmyexchange.com/sweepstakes.
No purchase is necessary to enter. The Salute to Clean Sweepstakes closes July 17, and prize drawings will occur on or about July 21.