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ReserveVoice: November 30, 2015

Legislative Update

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The President signed S. 1356 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 on November 25, 2015 bringing the authorization bill to closure.  After signing the bill the President released a statement that included remarks on how the bill did not allow Guantanamo Bay to close, “I am, however, deeply disappointed that the Congress has again failed to take productive action toward closing the detention facility at Guantanamo.  Maintaining this site, year after year, is not consistent with our interests as a Nation and undermines our standing in the world.”

Servicemember and Veterans Mental Health Care Package (Care Package)

The NDAA includes several provisions from a “Care Package” bill sponsored by Senator Donnelly to expand military mental health options.  Jeff Phillips, ROA Executive Director was quoted in the senator’s press release saying, ROA applauds passage of Sen. Joe Donnelly’s mental health care provisions just signed into law as part of the defense authorization bill.  In an ROA survey, Guard and Reserve members explained stigma exists as a result of mental health problems.  The new avenues of access included in the defense bill will help to overcome these types of issues.” 

S. 2331, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

ROA sent a letter of support to Senator Reed for a bill he and Senator Graham sponsored on the SCRA.  The bill will make invalid and unenforceable predispute arbitration agreements with respect to controversies arising under provisions of the SCRA and to preserve the rights of servicemembers to bring class actions under the SCRA.  The SCRA under Title 50, does not get the attention that the NDAA and budget get every year but it is such a crucial bill to the Reserve Components and their families.  As a reminder, the purpose of the SCRA is to protect servicemembers so they can do their duty to the nation without distraction.
ROA urges members of the Departments of Rhode Island and South Carolina to contact Senator Reed (202-224-4642) and Senator Graham (202-224-5972), either at their local offices or their Washington D.C. offices to say THANK YOU for S. 2331!  Because both Senators are on the Senate Armed Services Committee it is also appropriate for other ROA members to call and say THANK YOU.

Army Update

Army Reserve Vision Statement

The Army Reserve has announced a new Vision Statement:  The United States Army Reserve is the world's premier land power Reserve force.   It replaces the old statement which read:  The premier life-saving and life-sustaining Citizen-Soldier force for the nation.
Recent major personnel changes at the USAR include:  
  • Mr. Stephen Austin – the new Assistant Chief of the Army Reserve
  • MG Michael Smith – Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve
  • MG Megan Tatu – incoming Chief of Staff at the USARC (she was the Army Section keynote speaker at the 2014 Long Beach Annual Meeting)
  • BG Bob Harter – director of the OCAR staff
  • CSM James P.Wills – Interim CSM
ROA was a co-sponsor of the recent Civil Affairs Symposium held 19-20 November in San Antonio.  The keynote speaker was LTG McMaster, Ph.D., U.S. Army, who is the deputy commanding general, Futures, at TRADOC and director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC).  He stressed several themes are at the core of the nature of war: war is political – an extension of politics and that to succeed we be sufficiently committed to reach sustainable outcomes; war is human and driven by things such as fear, honor and seeking various interests.  We have to be very aware of what those interests are; in Iraq the prize was the control of institutions of government and we may have facilitated a bad outcome. A third core item in the nature of war is that it is uncertain -- one must continually reassess and seize the situation and consolidate gains. He noted that all strategic failures could be summed up with two words:  too late. The final core item he noted about the nature of war was that it is a contest of wills and at the end of day, to prevail, the enemy must know they are defeated.  
LTG McMaster noted the key role of Civil Affairs to military support to governance and indicated that weak governance has led to many problems. He felt we had emphasized change to the detriment of continuity in some cases and that balance was needed. He stressed that CA could not become insular and that support to governance would play a huge role in many of the Warfighting Challenges identified by recent Army doctrine. He stressed the need to have CA forces present at the beginning of planning and to have a forward presence –that the shaping of the security environment could not be done from a distance.
A panel discussion reviewed current issues facing Civil Affairs.  MG Dan Ammerman, commander of USACAPOC, noted that money/resources was the biggest challenge, that to accomplish all the training required for readiness that more training days were required. He noted that sweeping personnel cuts had been made to both the AC and RC CA forces as a result of budget pressures.     
COL Dan Pinnell, director of the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, noted that the CA community and all the Army had to become more efficient as budget demands hit training time and resources. Skills that must be stressed included not only the offensive and defensive, but also governance and consolidating the victory.    
Army Civil Affairs has a huge task ranging from tactical CA to strategic. Although praised for many aspects of its efforts over the past fifteen years, it has also been recognized that the CA capacity to deliver military support to governance must be enhanced to meet the needs of the combatant commander and strategic outcomes.  Efforts are being made to address this through the Institute for Military Support to Governance, a subset of the Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg.   
Military occupational specialty changes have also authorized that have as their goal the identification and certification of true subject matter experts.  Along these lines, it remains timely to consider one of the recommendations made by ROA in testimony before the Commission on the Future of the Army to create a new type of Reservist – the "super subject matter expert" Reservist who is an accomplished authority with great skills within a specialty. This is the type of person for whom an MOS does not exist in the Army and the skills cannot be grown within the Army. They are uniquely civilian governance skills. Aspects of the selection and training of the civil affairs experts of WWII should be reviewed and considered for application to governance issues facing the military in conflicts of the 21st century.   

Navy Update

ROA submitted a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Revisiting the Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, held November 5, 2015.  The reason ROA submitted the statement is because many of the strategic plans recently published by the Department of Defense do not say much about how the Guard and Reserve contributes to these plans.  ROA believes there are still several mission areas that the Reserve Component can have an expanded role.  In the statement ROA explained the Marine Corps Reserve could support several types of missions by consolidating C-9s at Joint Reserve Base, Ft. Worth, Texas.  This is possible in part because as the C-9s are replaced with C-40A aircraft, mission diversity expands because this platform is certified to operate in an all-passenger (121 passengers), all-cargo or combination ("combi") configuration.

Air Force Update

Air Force Reserve Refueling Mission

A recent Air Force Times article focused on the active duty refueling mission and I thought about how much the Air Force Reserve contributes to this mission.  ROA wishes the article had included a nod to the contribution from the Reserves.  For example the Air Force Reserve Command stated, “The wing logged 7,030 flight hours during fiscal 2015 - a historical record for Grissom and an increase of 36 percent from fiscal 2014.”  In addition to flying refueling support for Afghanistan and Iraq, the mission supported the Haiti hurricane, “The Total Force air-refueling tanker team kept the cargo aircraft in the air by delivering 130,000 gallons of fuel to 45 aircraft.”  The Air Force Reserve has 60 KC-135R aircraft assigned.

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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. 15100 The French Company Fired my Wife!
  • No. 15101 Location Is an Aspect of Status
  • No. 15102 What Is the Escalator Principle?
  • No. 15103 Coast Guard Reservist Alleges USERRA Violations by Drug Enforcement Administration
  • No. 15104 Navy Reservist Survives Employer’s Motion for Summary Judgment but then Loses Jury Trial
  • No. 15105 Army Reservist Survives Summary Judgment in Section 4311 Case
  • No. 15106 Section 4311 of USERRA
  • No. 15107 Section 4311 of USERRA Protects Veterans as well as Currently Serving Reserve Component Members
  • No. 15108 NDAA 2016 Fixes USERRA Glitch
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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