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ReserveVoice: January 30, 2017

Legislative Update

Senate Approves Mattis for Secretary of Defense

With only one dissenting vote, the Senate overwhelmingly approved Gen. James Mattis (ret.) for Secretary of Defense. Mattis, along with Gen. John Kelly as Sec. of Homeland Security, were the only cabinet appointments confirmed on President Trump’s inauguration day.
 
All the other service secretaries have yet to confirmed. Besides the service secretaries, the Senate will ultimately have to confirm the many undersecretaries of defense necessary for running the day-to-day operations. At the moment, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work has decided to stay on in order to ease the transition from the Obama to the Trump administration.
 

Budget Battle Commences

Senator John McCain, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has made his initial move in the contest to see if and by how much, the defense budget will be increased. In a white paper, McCain outlined how much he would like to see the defense budget increased over the next five years.
 
On the campaign trail, Trump was committed to increasing defense spending. However, there is some concern that other important issues on the Trump agenda will crowd out the time and resources necessary to tackle a major defense buildup. These include a contentious Supreme Court confirmation, healthcare reform, tax reform, and dealing with a supplemental budget once government funding ends in April.
 
Beyond just getting the necessary time in to debate raising the defense budget caps and to what level, there is a matter of settling the internal debate within the Republican Party. Republican defense hawks want to increase defense spending and lift the caps, but fiscal hawks are much more reserved. Republican fiscal hawks are more committed to reducing the government’s size including the military. There is room for compromise whereby Republicans cut non-defense government programs to appease fiscal hawks, while also increasing defense spending. However, fiscal hawk opposition may put a lower ceiling on defense spending than defense hawks desire. It is too early to tell where the debate will end up, but its ramifications on national defense will be significant.

Army Update

Army Selects New Handgun After Over a Decade of Searching


The U.S. Army has selected the Sig Sauer P320 model as the Army’s new standard sidearm. The Army’s previous sidearm was the M9 Beretta, which had been the standard pistol for over 30 years. The Army will ask for modifications for the Sig Sauer P320 to meet service-specific requirements.
 
The contract is worth $580M over the course of a decade and will be manufactured out of a Sauer facility in New Hampshire.
 
Details of the new handgun are here.

Report Details Army Ground Combat Systems
Becoming Increasingly Outdated

A new Congressional Research Service report argues Army ground combat systems are falling behind their competitor’s new updated weapons systems. CRS concluded the Army has failed to develop new, capable Army ground combat systems to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and M1 Abrams tank, which were developed during the Cold War.
 
It certainly is not for lack of trying. CRS noted the billions of dollars poured into ultimately failed projects to replace these systems. At the same time, great power rivals like China and Russia have not been standing still, developing new systems like the MBT-3000 (China) and T-14A (Russia).  
 
ROA is supportive of modernizing the Army’s ground combat system believing they are important to countering near-peer competitor capabilities. Furthermore, this modernization should extend to the Army Reserve and Army National Guard who face both an equipment shortage and modernization gap with their active-duty counterparts. As the Army seeks to modernize its ground combat systems, it is important the Total Force is fielding similar updated equipment to ensure greater integration between the Active and Reserve Component.
 

Army Has Submitted Its Wish List for Fiscal Year 2017-2018

The Army has sent over their top priorities to Congress they feel need extra funding in order for the Army to meet the modernization goals they have set for themselves. Unlike in past fiscal years, the Army has gone ahead and submitted a wish list before the president’s budget requests have been released.

The Army concluded it would need an additional $8.2B in 2017 to properly meet the needs of the expected 470,00 active duty force. In fiscal year 2018, the Army is requesting an additional $18.3B to meet its unfulfilled modernization priorities.

Naval Services

Naval Reserve Update:
 

Rumors that navy reserve officer will be next WH cyber czar

Another Navy Reserve officer is being considered to join the Trump Administration.  Joshua Steinman has been rumored to be in line to fill the role as White House Cyber Coordinator (aka WH Cyber Czar).  In his civilian life Josh is an entrepreneur, and in his uniformed life Josh currently works for DIUx, bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and the DoD.  Read the scuttlebutt article online at Federal News Radio

Shore FTS Sailor of the Year


Congratulations Yeoman 1st Class Alison Ford on your selection as Fiscal Year 2016 Navy Reserve Full Time Support (FTS) Shore Sailor of the Year (SOY)!!

Marine Corps Reserve Update:

Former Marine Reservist, SECDEF Mattis supports
operational Guard and Reserve


During his confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, retired Marine general James Mattis affirmed the need for an operational reserve and guard as he discussed the challenges associated with manpower shortages throughout all branches of the DoD.  Secretary Mattis has personal experience with the RC, having enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at the age of 18.  With over four decades of uniformed service, Secretary Mattis has stated that the Pentagon may look to an expanded role for guard and reserve units.  The Washington Times covered the topic well in an article last week.

NOAA Update

Diving deep with NOAA Corps Commander Dan Simon


27% of NOAA Divers are part of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.  In this article, CDR Dan Simon – a career NOAA Corps Officer, recounts his passion for being a NOAA diver and some of his more harrowing and exhilarating experiences.

US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Update


FINALLY – Equity in Maternity Leave

On 8 December the Secretary of Health and Human Services signed a new policy memorandum which, effective 5 December, extended to officers in the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service the same twelve weeks of paid maternity leave that was given to the military services of the Defense Department.
 
The USPHS is the only one of the seven uniformed services that is majority female, so this is a really big deal for the Corps.  Special recognition goes out to our fellow TMC member The Commissioned Officers Association, who had been working on this with the Office of the Surgeon General for the past eighteen months.

Air Force Update

President Trump Announces Wilson for Air Force Secretary

President Trump nominated former New Mexico Rep Heather Wilson for Secretary of the Air Force. If confirmed, Wilson would be the first Air Force graduate to head the Air Force. Beyond being an Air Force graduate, Wilson served as an Air Force officer in Europe and then went on to work on President George H.W. Bush’ national security council.
 
Wilson served during Governor Gary Johnson’s administration as Secretary for Children, Youth and Family Development. Afterwards, Wilson became a congresswoman for New Mexico’s  1st congressional district during a special election for Rep. Steven Schiff’s open seat. During her time in Congress, she served on the House Armed Services Committee, Intelligence Committee, and Energy and Commerce Committee. Wilson served in Congress until 2009 when she decided to run for New Mexico’s open Senate seat. She lost in the primary and ran again in 2012 where she lost in the general election to Rep. Martin Heinrich.
 
Wilson will take over the Air Force at a critical time as President Trump seeks to cut the cost of the Air Force’s signature weapons platform, the F-35, putting pressure on any incoming Air Force secretary to look for procurement savings. Also, Wilson would be inheriting several ongoing aerial campaigns in Afghanistan, Libya and the anti-ISIL airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria. ROA wishes Wilson the best of luck and, if confirmed, looks forwards to working with her to provide the necessary training and equipment to the Reserve Component to improve their readiness.
 

Ft. Worth Air Force Reserve Unit Will be First to Receive F-35

Outgoing Sec. of the Air Force Deborah James declared the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Ft. Worth, Texas to be the location of the first Air Force Reserve F-35 base. The F-35s will not arrive until the mid-2020s.
 
Ft. Worth was selected due to its proximity to the F-35 production plant, which would provide recruits, and meeting the training requirements at the lowest cost. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri will act as potential alternatives until the environmental review is completed at Fort Worth.

Military Families

VA Providing $2B for Veterans and Their Families Who Lived at Camp Lejeune


The Department of Veteran Affairs is providing $2.2B for veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987. Camp Lejeune’s water was discovered to be toxic and exposure to it led many veterans and their dependents to develop cancer.
 
The VA will begin doling out the money in March, but veterans and their spouses can submit benefit applications now. The eight diseases veterans can get disability benefits from the VA are adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Parkinson's disease.

Healthcare benefits are also provided to veterans and their family members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune. The 15 medical conditions the VA will provide healthcare assistance are bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, female infertility, hepatic steatosis, kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, neurobehavioral effects, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, renal toxicity, and scleroderma.
Information on how to submit a form to the VA is located here.

Did you know that TRICARE offers free publications that explain your TRICARE benefit? Check out the new publications at
www.tricare.mil/publications.

Reunions

USS Waldron DD-699

April 27-May 1, 2017,  www.usswaldron.org
Doubletree by Hilton at the Houston Hobby Airport
8181 Airport Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77061
Contact: Ron Wells,  Phone: 512-282-4507    hughronwells@yahoo.com

U.S.S. Lawrence Association (DDG-4 & DD-250)

May 2-7, 2017 Website: www.usslawrence.com
Doubletree by Hilton, Jacksonville Riverfront
1201 Riverplace Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Hotel: 904-398-8800
Contact Craig Bernat, Phone: 814-322-4150  dguts@usslawrence.com

U.S.S. Carpenter DD 825 Reunion

May 18-22, 2017
891 So. Walnut, #205, Nashville, Tenn.
714-776-4019
Contact: Jimmie Kennedy  Kennjd3@gmail.com

U.S.S. Yellowstone (AD-27) Association Reunion

August 23-27, 2017
Hilton Gardens, Columbus , Ga.
Contact: Paul W. Bowen, Secretary/Treasurer & Reunion Planner
Cell: 352-208-5400  Email: bowp@centurylink.net

U.S.S. John R. Craig DD885

September 6-10, 2017
Norfolk, VA
Website: www.ussjohncraig.com
Contact: Jerry Chwalek  jermail@ameritech.net
Phone: 734-525-1469

U.S.S. Randolph/CV-CVA-CVS 15

September 17-24, 2017
2008 Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront
668 West Fifth St., Covington, KY 41011
Contact Sal Rizza,  321-454-2344

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society Biennial Convention

September 24-28, 2017,  dfcsociety.org
Dallas, Texas,
Contact: Bruce Huffman, Phone: 518-578-7089,  bhuffman@dfcsociety.org

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. 17003 Did I Waive my USERRA Rights as a Disabled Veteran when I Asked the Employer To Reinstate me and Put me on Sick Leave?
  • No. 17004 Where Can I Go for Detailed Legal Information about USERRA?
  • No. 17005 Don’t Forget the Agent Orange Sailors in the 115th Congress
Visit the Service Members Law Center
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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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