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ReserveVoice: October 30, 2015

Legislative Update

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The President vetoed the NDAA on 22 October at which time it was sent back to Congress.  According to the Constitution, Congress can reconsider the bill and take out the “Objections” of the President or reconsider the bill and with a two thirds vote override the veto so it becomes law. 

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.                                     ---U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 7, clause 2
The President vetoed the bill for three reasons based on various provisions in the NDAA:
  1.  Keeps sequestration in place and the resulting spending caps.  The NDAA uses the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to overcome the caps to meet the President’s FY 2016 budget request.  The OCO includes funding for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) in Title XV, Authorization of Additional Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations.
  2. Does not include reforms for the Department of Defense to modernize and eliminate programs that are “wasting money” according to the President.  Many of these provisions can be found in Title I, Procurement.  These include DoD’s request to eliminate the A-10.
  3. Prohibits closing Guantanamo that the President believes is outdated and expensive.  Congress included several provisions in Title X, General Provisions, Subtitle D, Counterterrorism prohibiting use of funds to close Guantanamo and directs several reports to inform Congress on the use of the detention center.
Congress has scheduled the veto override vote for 5 November.  In the history of Congress, 2,565 bills have been vetoed but only 109 have been overridden by Congress.

National Guard and Reserve Equipment Affected by Veto

ROA urges Congress to act decisively to preserve uninterrupted funding for national security and for our Reserve Components. The American people expect Washington to do its job for those who have stepped forward to ensure our security. The Hill's Congress Blog includes a discussion by the Executive Director on the effects of the veto to Guard and Reserve members and their families.  Executive Director, Jeff Phillips, also attended the Brookings Institute where he was able to ask Chairmen, Senator John McCain (SASC) and Representative Thornberry about the effect of the veto on modernization.

Individual Ready Reserve – Military Times Interview

ROA was recently interviewed for a Military Times article on the Individual Ready Reserve.  The article was in response to a Reserve Forces Policy Board report on making improvements to the IRR to improve efficiency and relevancy of the IRR.  This report was done as part of the Force of the Future Initiatives letter from the RFPB that included modernizing the IRR.  ROA believes the face of threats is changing so much we no longer have the luxury of time to respond with a force that must first be trained in order to be ready.  The IRR could become more ready than they have been in the past if legislation and funding were updated to better support this category

Army Update

October of every year is highlighted by the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington D.C. which brings together nearly 30,000 soldiers, veterans, scholars and civilian leaders to discuss Army issues.  This year the featured speaker at the breakfast was General “Abe” Abrams, Commanding General of FORSCOM.  His talk featured many examples of the Army dependency on the Army Reserves. 

He also described the evolving new concept to manage Army readiness, called the Sustainable Readiness Model (SRM), which is pending final approval by the Army Secretary.  In short, SRM would ensure readiness would be built and sustained over long periods of time.
Secretary of the Army McHugh and the new Army Chief of Staff, General Milley shared their vision and concerns.  Secretary McHugh used language suggesting the Army is “on a ragged edge, particularly in terms of readiness.”  He noted that the readiness ratings for the Army were about 33% and “We are consuming readiness as quickly as we produce it.”  He worried about what he considered the grossly naïve vision of the world held by some and expressed his deep concern for the future, especially if Congress did not regularize the budget process as it related to DoD and the Army.

Since the Secretary spoke Congress has agreed to a budget that provided substantial relief to DoD over a two year period, hence, gaining the stability for planning purposes that so worried the Secretary.  The Secretary did indicate that the Army is still on course to go from 490,000 personnel today to 450,000 by the end of FY17.

Secretary of Defense Carter has announced that Mr. Eric Fanning, the current Undersecretary of the Army and his former Chief of Staff, will be the nominee to replace Secretary McHugh when he departs his position on November 1, 2015.

General Milley expressed in a variety of ways his support for the Army Reserve and the Guard.  He stressed that his number one priority was readiness and there was no other priority.  The Army currently has 180K personnel serving in 140 countries.

LTG Talley, the Chief of the Army Reserve, brought together the Army leadership of the combatant commands for an extraordinary discussion of the role the USAR played in those commands.  Each of the active component leaders gave high praise for the Army Reserve and Guard units within their commands. 

There was extensive discussion about further utilization of mobilization authority that would substantially enable the Army Reserves to function in an operational capacity if fully utilized.  Utilization requires planning for future years and a sufficient.  The Army Reserve will see only modest personnel cuts in FY2016, going from a current strength of 198,700 to 198,000.  The Guard will drop from approximately 350,000 to 342,000.

LTG Talley and LTG Kadavy, the Director of the Army Guard, also participated in a program “Winning in a Complex World” that explored the Army Operating Concept and what the future held for the Army Reserve components.  The panel was led by LTG McMaster who is the DCG at TRADOC and its Futures Director.  LTG Talley stressed the support role of the USAR for the Active Component while LTG Kadavy noted that the Guard was the combat reserve of the Active Component.  LTG Talley also said the future will require use of the Total Force and the Total Army.  He noted that at one point a short time ago, General Odierno, the CSA, asked him for his thoughts on why multi-compo units had not done so well.  LTG Talley had noted the lack of integrated systems between the compos and also that the culture of the Army needs to embrace the reserve components more fully. 

LTG Talley also stressed the need, especially for readiness purposes, for the Army Reserve to improve the total numbers of its full-time manning personnel.  He noted that the Army Reserve has 13% of its force in these positions while other reserve components have an average of 19% of their personnel in full-time positions.

LTG Talley will be retiring in June and his replacement is expected to be announced in January.

Navy Update

U.S. House of Representatives Tim Murphy, also known as Navy reservist Commander Murphy recently completed the oath of office after his recent promotion.  In his bio it states, “He currently serves in the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda.  There he works as a Navy psychologist with service members with traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress. His ADT has included service with Navy Special Warfare Coronado and on the USS Carl Vinson.”

Air Force Update

Reserve Hurricane Hunters

While everyone else is getting away from a hurricane as fast as they can, the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters fly to hurricanes so they gather data for the National Hurricane Center.  They recently did this for Hurricane Patricia when the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron aircrew flew through the hurricane three times. 

Get a jump on your holiday shopping
and support ROA at the same time!

Every time you shop through ROA’s Shop Thru the Heart portal, ROA will receive a donation that will be used to improve Reserve Component funding and policy; Reservist education, benefits, career advancement, family care, and employment; and VA benefits and healthcare!
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Shop Thru the Heart provides shopping options at more than 120 premium stores - Amazon, Sam’s Club, Marriott, Starbucks, Macy’s, Office Depot, Home Depot, and Best Buy, and more.
Please register today at and support ROA with your online purchasing (registration is free of charge).

Member Update

SecDef Memo for Departments and Chapters to Access Installations

Last year a memo  was issued broadening the policy to allow non-profits access to installations to provide services to servicemembers and their families.  For example, ROA Departments and Chapters can consider providing the following services:
  • Professional development (this can include lunches with speakers, or like how the Florida Department is providing an ROA speaker on UTA weekend at commander’s call to educate them on the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.
  • Voter registration drives
  • Checkpoints at a walks or runs
  • Coffee, tea and water at mobilization events
  • Volunteer to support installation events

Reserve Voice Contributions

Twice a month ROA publishes the Reserve Voice as a forum for sharing information to our members.  Please send noteworthy stories about your Department or Chapter for inclusion in the Reserve Voice.  We also gladly accept news about the Guard and Reserve to add to the service sections.

Vets4Warriors Peer Support Program

Senior Leaders:  I would like to share a powerful and proven resource currently available to all of our service members, and their families/caregivers.

This 24/7 personalized peer support program has been around since December 2011.  Calls are answered within 30 seconds by a veteran. No phone trees/menus or voice mail.  This is a confidential program where trained peers are veterans. A licensed clinician is at this call center 24/7 as well.  A key to the program is helping before a crisis. This is a stigma free place where our service members can call and talk to someone who understands military life and work with them to navigate through whatever they are facing.  The peer will engage with callers no matter what they are facing and, when needed, set up follow up calls to continue their work over time.
Vets4Warriors are strong supporters of traditional and alternative healthcare choices. They do not compete or replace other others but often link service members to “just the right program, at just the right time.  I could go on and on but have to say we all know we have many members struggling and this is a well-designed program that fills a gap for us and can be a safety net. Vets4Warriors is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media which appeals to our population. 
Let’s get the word out.  Any unit or individual can request materials by going to the top right of the website and filling out the electronic form and pressing submit.  I strongly recommend you or someone on your team call and check them out for yourself.  You will find this is a resource that can make a difference in the lives of those we lead and their families. 

Unfairness in Army Service of Uncle Sam

Volunteer System Demands Sacrifices from Small Part of the Population.

By CAPT. Henry J. Reilly
From the ROA collection of its first president, Brig. Gen. Henry J. Reilly.  This column, the seventh in a series the general wrote for the Chicago Tribune as a captain, was published on the eve of war, November 25, 1916.  While ROA does not formally advocate universal military service or a draft, the theme does seem to have aged well . . .
Our regular army and national guard, the only troops we have, are raised by voluntary enlistment. A man enlisting in the regulars swears to serve a term of years with the colors followed by a term in reserve. During the time he is in reserve, he is a civilian to all intents and purposes except that he can be called back to the colors.

Undoubtedly the intention of the law is that these reservists shall be called only in case of war or when war is imminent. The new national defense act provides the same system for the national guard. This means that where formerly men were only asked to voluntarily serve a number of years actually with the colors they are now asked to hold themselves available for a term of years afterwards. Read the full article (pdf)


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

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.
  • No. 15088 Does USERRA Provide for the Recovery of Nonpecuniary and Punitive Damages? No
  • No. 15089 Proposals to Improve USERRA
  • No. 15090 Does my Mother Lose her Military Widow Benefits if she Remarries?
  • No. 15091 The National Guard Makes up more than Half of Reserve Component Strength
  • No. 15092 2015 New Jersey Military Law Symposium
  • No. 15093 Having a National Guard Member as an Employee Is a Pain, But you Can Handle it.
  • No. 15094 Unfavorable Sixth Circuit USERRA Case
Visit the Service Members Law Center
Reserve Voice is a monthly bulletin produced 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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