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ReserveVoice: February 28, 2017

ROA Officer Magazine Winter 2017 live on 

The Officer is now entirely digital – you can read the latest edition online here.  Features include: Reserve Chiefs report; combat positions for women; USAF Reservists teaching the force to fly; Medal of Honor recipient. Lt. Col. Chuck Kettles, USAR; NOAA mapping the future; and more on blended retiremen

Legislative Update

Reserve Component Cyber Strategy Seminar

ROA/EANGUS/NGAUS will host a Defense Education Fund, Reserve Component Cyber Seminar, on March 15, 2017, 0830-1030 at ROA Headquarters.  The event is being held to spotlight how Guard and Reserve forces support the cyber mission.  In 2015, The Department of Defense Cyber Strategy stated, “Draw on the National Guard and Reserve.  Throughout the course of this strategy, DoD will draw on the National Guard and Reserve as a resource for expertise and to foster creative solutions to cybersecurity problems.  The Reserve Component offers a unique capability for supporting each of DoD’s missions, including for engaging the defense industrial base and the commercial sector. It represents DoD’s critical surge capacity for cyber responders.”  The seminar will follow ROA’s Senior Leader Conference from March 11-14, 2017 and ROA’s STARs Foundation Gala on March 14.

SBP IDT Passing is a Team Effort

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Ernst shares memories of his friend Maj. Pete “Oly” Jahns with family and dignitaries at a ceremony on Feb. 13 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, honoring him for his efforts to get legislation changed to ensure Reserve and Guard families receive the same survivor benefits as active duty service members. Equal survivor pay was awarded to Guard and Reserve families after many ROA members and friends of ROA came together as a team.  ROA is proud to be part of that team! Jahns died on March 19, 2003, in a T-38 crash during a training flight at JBSA-Randolph. (Air Force photo by Janis El Shabazz, 340th Flying Training Group Public Affairs)

GAO Reporting to Congress on RC Travel Expenses

Prompted in part by inquiries from ROA, Congress directed the Government Accountability Office to report on the travel expenses of members of the Reserve Components performing certain service, including average annual costs for all travel expenses for an RC member.  When GAO begins their studies they often go stakeholders; ROA was recently visited by the GAO team.  In the discussion, ROA identified many of the challenges, both monetary and otherwise, encountered by Guard and Reserve service members.  For example, when going to a long duration school, RC members are put into a Permanent Change of Station status instead of Temporary Duty.  This means they receive BAH for the school location which leaves them scrambling to pay their mortgages.  The problem is Guard and Reserve families do not typically move for a PCS as do active duty families.  This was just one of the many problems ROA shared along with reports and information that addressed travel.

Washington Red Caps advance ROA priorities with Congressional Rep

Department of Washington “Red Cap” members meet Feb. 16 in Renton with Mr. Linh Thai, military representative to HASC ranking member Rep. Adam Smith, WA-9. From left, Lt. Col. Larry Searle, Seattle chapter secretary; Capt. Rick Thomas, ROA national executive committee; Cdr. Ed Brock, national council representative; Capt. Stan Smith, legislative chair; Mr. Thai; and Lt. Col. Judy Larson, department president.

By Capt. Stan Smith, USCGR (Ret.)

Department of Washington members with their red caps discussed ROA legislative priorities in Renton on 16 February with Representative Adam Smith's local military representative, Mr. Linh Thai. Mr. Thai earned a Combat Infantryman’s Badge with the 82nd Airborne Division in Panama during Operation Just Cause.
Stan Smith, the department’s legislative chair, introduced the department staff followed by a brief introduction of ROA's legislative program and its dedicated purpose of supporting the Reserve Components.  Authorization and appropriations agendas were briefly laid out for Mr. Thai, as well as ROA’s legislative agenda and information on the Veterans Status initiative, so that he could share them with the congressman and his staff.  An in-depth discussion ensued regarding ROA's Veterans Status (for federal hiring preference) initiative.  Mr. Thai was aware of the "honorary" veteran status granted by law to retired RC members in December; he was informed that, from the Department of Washington’s perspective, the “honorary” status was virtually worthless from a practical standpoint.  
It was an outstanding exchange of ideas with no negative responses from Mr. Thai.  When asked by Captain Smith if Representative Smith would support ROA’s initiative(s) he said he did not know but would pass the request along to the congressman.  Mr. Thai seemed very supportive of ROA's efforts to "right the ship" for the RC and promised to pass along a positive responsive to the D.C. office.  Captain Smith said he would as soon as possible provide the full ROA Legislative Agenda to Mr. Thai and the other Washington congressional military representatives with whom the department has established communications.

Army Update

President Trump Names Army Gen. H.R. McMaster to be New National Security Adviser

President Trump named Gen. H.R. McMaster to be his new National Security Adviser after the abrupt departure of Gen. Michael Flynn. As he will say on active duty, McMaster must be confirmed by the Senate, which is law for assignments of officers at the three- and four-star level; the general need not be present, but must consent to providing testimony and answering questions, if any.
His selection has been met with high praise from Congress and other national security experts who consider McMaster an intelligent, level-headed leader with the strategic mindset necessary to shape Trump’s long term national strategy. “He is a man of genuine intellect, character and ability. I give President Trump great credit for this decision,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). McMaster is known for his out-of-the-box thinking including challenging Army strategy in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Recently, McMaster had been working on a document looking at Russia’s hybrid war strategy in Ukraine. It will be interesting to see how McMaster will interact with President Trump’s desire to initiate a rapprochement with Russia given McMaster’s concern about Russian activities in Eastern Europe.

U.S. Army Is Offering Two Year Enlistments and Bonuses to Attract Soldiers

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 called for increasing the U.S. Army’s size after several years of drawdowns. This has led to the Army’s leadership scrambling to fill their ranks by September 30 of this year; in all, the Army needs to increase its total forces by 28,000 by that date.
To induce more people to join, the Army is offering two-year enlistment contracts for nearly 100 military occupational specialties (MOS). USA Today reported that in addition, the Army, to attract 6,000 recruits, is planning to spend $300 million for enlistment bonuses, more recruiters, and expanded advertising campaign. Enlistment bonuses can reach as high as $40,000 in some specialties and if recruits agree to longer contracts. 
One wonders, if, at $50,000 per recruit, it wouldn’t be more effective to just buy them a Mustang or an F-150 pickup (illustration purposes only; no endorsement of Ford intended).  One could be excused for interpreting this massive taxpayer outlay to induce young people to serve as an indicator of weakness in the all-volunteer force (Officer online article).
The Army’s challenge in executing its plan is that no corresponding funding exists for the increased recruitment. Congress did not pass an accompanying appropriations bill with the NDAA, but rather extended existing spending levels in what is called a continuing resolution (CR). The Army is “banking” on Congress successfully passing a supplemental funding bill in April when the CR ends for their increased recruitment to be covered.
Beyond just garnering funding, the Army is facing stiffer competition for recruiting individuals. The economy is improving, increasing wages and enticing graduating high school seniors to look for work in the private sector. Not to mention that nearly 70% of the adult population does not meet the qualifications anyway, limiting the pool of recruits from which the Army can draw. However, Army leaders are adamant they are not lowering their standards to boost recruitment, as they did during the Iraq War. 

U.S. Army Reserve Developing a Pilot Program to Track Cyber Talent

The Army Reserve is crafting what it terms a “cyberwarrior database” or CWARD to track the cyber skills soldiers are developing in their civilian careers and then matching them with military needs. The aim is to ensure the Army Reserve knows what cyber skills are already available in their ranks and match them with the cyber needs of their forces.
This effort is critical since the military is currently building up their cyber forces. It would be useful to draw from existing resources to bolster the initial cyber talent. The Army Reserve is discussing with Army Cyber Command to see about adapting the CWARD system so it used across the Army and perhaps the entire military.
The Senate recently highlighted their concern over identifying the cyber talents in the Guard and Reserve forces when they introduced the DoD Emergence Database bill earlier this month. The bill mandates DoD track the cyber talents of the Guard and Reserve that are useful for domestic and international response. The CWARD program may be the innovative solution the Senators are looking for and the DoD needs.

Naval Services

Naval Reserve Update:

SecNav nominee withdrew . . .
Navy Reserve officer next in line

President Trump’s SecNav nominee, Philip Bilden, withdrew his name from consideration.  The scuttlebutt indicates that the next in line would be Joseph Schmitz – a Navy officer with over twenty years of active and reserve service and prior service as the DoD Inspector General.

Navy’s Reserve Component delivers diversity through civilian skills, and acts as repository of corporate knowledge

Krista Moses is the deputy systems engineer on the HC-27J Mission System Integration project…usually…  But sometimes she shows up as CDR Moses, aerospace engineering duty officer assigned to the Navy Reserve Program Executive Office (PEO) Support Unit.  This article displays the increased value delivered by RC members without costing DoD a single penny.

Marine Reserve Update

If USMC Aviation can’t beat the airlines – they can turn it into opportunity with the RC

The USMC is short pilots – a lot of pilots.  Carl Forsling in a Task & Purpose article posits some mitigation and resolution strategies, not the least of which is recognizing the current state of play as an opportunity to better operationalize the USMCR aviation community.

Air Force Update

Tinker Reservist Return from Turkey Deployment

Senior Airman Nathalie Hamilton, a crew chief with the 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, opens her arms to hug her mother following a deployment Feb. 17, 2017, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. More than 90 Reservists deployed in December 2016 in support of air operations at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, against the Islamic State group. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

The Oklahoma Citizen Airmen joined a team of active duty, guard and Reserve Airmen from nine different bases, making up the 447th Air Expeditionary Group.  The 507th’s fleet logged more than 1,100 combat support hours during the deployment, while refueling the B-2 Spirit, the F-15E Strike Eagle, the A-10 Warthog and other various aircraft while providing direct maintenance support for multiple KC-135s and other aircraft stationed at Incirlik Air Base.

Military Families

Senate Hearing Highlights Concern About Licensing for Military Family Members

On Tuesday, February 14th, the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel held a hearing going over single and military family issues. One of the topics highlighted in the discussion was licensing issues for military family members. The problem arises when military families move from state to state, the military spouse’s license for their job does not transfer easily. Oftentimes, states have different standards for similar professions making it difficult for military spouses to move into the same type of a job in a new state.
One of the recommendations was to establish a national baseline for some professions so that military spouses can transfer more easily. Either that, or the government can provide a tax credit to spouses to cover the fees needed to transfer their license to a new state.
ROA is encouraged DoD and Congress are seriously considering this issue. Licensing reform can ease the high unemployment rate found in military spouses, but can also open opportunities for easier transitions between military reservists and guardsmen who can use licensing from either their private or military sector employment to help with their other profession.

Doctors Dropping Out of TRICARE Networks Ahead of Changes

According to the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council, some doctors have begun dropping out of TRICARE ahead of contract changes taking effect this year. One of the major changes to the contract has been TRICARE’s three areas are being consolidated into two regions. Humana will be in east and HealthNet will be out west.

There is concern with changing health insurers, there will not be the necessary providers in the region. DoD policy is to try to ensure continuity of care for service members and their families who are moving to new locations. However, the concern now is a disruption in care in the same location if certain providers drop out of the health network once they are under a new health insurance company.

Did you know that TRICARE offers free publications that explain your TRICARE benefit? Check out the new publications at


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

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

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

U.S.S. Carpenter DD 825 Reunion

May 18-22, 2017
891 So. Walnut, #205, Nashville, Tenn.
Contact: Jimmie Kennedy

“Big Red One” 98th Annual Reunion

Hosted by Society of the First Infantry Division
Date: July 26-30, 2017
Location: Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Details & reservation forms are available on Society’s website:,
Email: or Phone: 215-654-1969

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:

U.S.S. John R. Craig DD885

September 6-10, 2017
Norfolk, VA
Contact: Jerry Chwalek
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

USS Ranger CVA/CV-61

(all former crew members, Squadrons, Marine detachment or T.A.D.’s
September 20-23, 2017
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick RI
Contact: George Meoli   Email:
Phone: 203-453-4279

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society Biennial Convention

September 24-28, 2017,
Dallas, Texas,
Contact: Bruce Huffman, Phone: 518-578-7089,

USS Wilhoite DE/DER 397

Date: October 2-5, 2017
Crowne Plaza Dayton  Ph: 1-800-689-5586
33 East Fifth Street, Dayton, Ohio
Contact: Elisabeth Kimball  Email:
Ph: 479-280-2776

12th TFW, MacDill AFB, FL; Cam Ranh AB & Phu Cat AB; 389 TFS & 480 TFS, Da Nang, Vietnam; 555th TFS 1964-66 and 12th FEW/SFW (Bergstrom AFB, TX & Korea), and all supporting units

Date: 4 – 7 April 2018  •  Location: Tucson, AZ
Contact: E. J. Sherwood • email: • Phone: 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. 17011 Congress Amends USERRA To Provide Reemployment Rights to Urban Search and Rescue Personnel
  • No. 17012 Time for Act II of the MOVE Act: Five Proposed Overseas and Military Voting Reforms
  • No. 17013 Because of NDAA 2017, National Guard Technicians No Longer Receive Paid Military Leave under 5 U.S.C. 6323 while on AGR Duty
  • No. 17014 If a Reserve Component Service Member Is Called to or Retained on Active Duty for Medical Treatment, that Period of Active Duty Should Be Exempted from the Computation of the Member’s Five-Year Limit.
  • No. 17015 USERRA Makes It Unlawful for an Employer To Discriminate Against You Based on Regular or Reserve Military Service, Recently or Long Ago.
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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