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ReserveVoice: December 15, 2016

Legislative Update

Congressional Recess

Congress is out of town until January 3, 2017.  They will return on January 3, 2017 to begin the 115th Congress, First Session.  The recently released Congressional Calendar shows they will be in Washington DC more in 2017 than they were in 2016. 
 

National Defense Authorization Act

 Congress completed the Fiscal Year 2017, National Defense Authorization Act.  It included the following provisions that affect the Guard and Reserve.
  • Sec. 332: Department of Defense must submit a report within 180 days that details the travel expenses incurred by the Reserve Component when performing active duty service, active service, full-time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, and inactive-duty training. 
  • Sec. 642: The dependents of a Reservists who dies during inactive-duty training will receive the same benefits as active duty under the Survivor Benefits Plan.  Thank you to all the ROA members who contacted their Congressional members to get this passed into law!
  • Sec. 711: Extend TRICARE coverage for certain National Guard members and their dependents during certain disaster response duty.
  • Sec. 1651: A strategy must be developed within 180 days after the NDAA is signed into law that outlines how to incorporate the Army Reserve and Army National Guard units into DoD’s cyber mission force.

Budget

Congress also finished the budget on the way out the door titled the “Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017”, Public Law 114-254, until April 28, 2017.  The military services were given additional funds to support counter-terrorism operations.  The following additional appropriations were made for the Department of Defense.
  • Sec. 155. Funds are provided for ‘Ohio Replacement Submarine (AP)’ at a rate for operations of $773,138,000.
  • Sec. 156. Funds may be used for multiyear procurement contracts, including advance procurement, for the AH–64E Attack Helicopter and the UH–60M Black Hawk Helicopter.
  • Sec. 157. Funds are provided for the KC–46A Tanker up to the rate for operations necessary to support the production rate specified in the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request.

Army Update

Army Beats Navy 21-17 to End 14 Year Losing Streak


With President-elect Trump looking on, Army’ football team beat Navy 21-17 ending their 14 year losing streak. Army led during the beginning of the game, closing out the first half 14-0. Navy managed to recover and eventually took the lead near with around 12 minutes to go 17-14. Army closed it out though with a final touchdown to break Navy’s streak and put the Army Black Knights back on top.
 

Expected Surge in NCO Promotions as New Professional Development Program Takes Effect

Army NCOs are expected to face a greater amount of promotions in the coming year as a new promotion program is rolled out.  Starting on October 1, the Army reduced the amount of time career soldiers can stay in uniform without getting promoted. This means nearly 3,000 senior NCOs will be forced to leave the Army in the next several years. On the flip side, this gives room for junior NCOs to be promoted and may help retain talented soldiers who have excellent experience having served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
 
In order to qualify for promotion, junior NCOs need to meet new educational requirements. There is a concern among some the new promotion system may downsize the force too rapidly, but others argue it is necessary to retain top-talent as the Army draws down its forces from their peak during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
 

Army is Building a Rapid Response Army Reserve Unit Called Ready Force X

Lieutenant General Charles Luckey, the Chief of Army Reserves and commanding general of the Army Reserve command, has announced plans for making Army Reserve units more responsive to unexpected contingency operations. Given increasing global instability, Luckey believes it is necessary for the Army Reserves to focus on short-term readiness.
 
The details of the Ready Force X have not been fleshed out, but Lt. Gen. Luckey will be meeting with Reserve commanders over the next 30 to 45 days to figure out what units are needed and how to balance the training required for rapid deployment with reservists’ civilian lives. The goal is to have the first tranche of formations (about 25,000-33,000) ready deploy on short notice.

Naval Services

Marine Corps Reserve:


Michelle Obama took part in her final time as First Lady of the United States for the Toys For Tots annual toy drive sponsored by the U.S. Marines Reserves. “The program collects new, unwrapped toys during the holiday season so that under privileged children may have a new toy to open during the holidays.”

Coast Guard Reserve:


Seaman Jared S. Medina officially delivers the Christmas trees on behalf of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw during a ceremony Dec. 3, 2016 at Navy Pier in Chicago. (Courtesy | U.S. Coast Guard)
 
The Coast Guard held their annual “Christmas Ship” voyage December 3rdMackinaw (WLBB-30), a USCG Cutter, transported 1,200 Christmas trees from Cheboygan, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois as a charity event. The tradition began with the original Christmas Ship, Rouse Simmons, in the early 1900s. The trees will be distributed to community service organizations and deserving families. The crew of the Mackinaw were active duty, reserve, and auxiliary USCG members.

Air Force Update

Profiles in Leadership


The Air Force Reserve has begun a tradition with a second year of portraits being displayed in the halls of the Pentagon that showcase outstanding reservists.  ROA encourages the command to continue this effort to give all of us bragging rights about how talented our Reserve servicemembers are such as Senior Master Sgt. Eric Smith, who holds eight academic degrees including a doctorate. 

Military Families

VA Mortgage

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking action against three reverse mortgage companies for enacting false or misleading advertising practices. The CFPB claims that American Advisors Group, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, and Aegean Financial all engaged in deceptive advertising, misleading customers to believe they could not lose their homes under a reverse mortgage.
 
The three companies will face penalties and have been ordered by the CFPB to stop advertising what the CFPB considers to be false and misleading to consumers. > READ MORE ON CONSUMERFINANCE.GOV

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. 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

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. 16123 In a USERRA Case, the Veteran Plaintiff Cannot Be Required To Pay the Defendant’s Court Costs
  • No. 16124 Bad News from Virginia on Enforcing USERRA against State Agencies as Employers
  • No. 16125 Under USERRA, you Have the Right To Take “Paid Time Off” for Military Duty
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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