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ReserveVoice: June 30, 2016

Legislative Update

2017 NDAA


S. 2943, FY 2017 NDAA

The Senate version of the NDAA passed the full Senate with 20 amendments by Yea-Nay Vote. 85 - 13. Record Vote Number: 98.  The committee report S. Rept 114-255 provides an explanation of the provisions in the bill.

H.R. 4909, FY 2017 NDAA

The House version of the NDAA passed the full Senate with 27 amendments by Yea-Nay Vote. 277 - 147. Record Vote (Roll no. 216).  The committee report H. Rept 114-537 (Part 1 & 2) provides an explanation of the provisions in the bill.
Now that the House and Senate have both passed their version of the FY2017 NDAA they will proceed to meet in conference where differences between the two bills are worked out.  Chairman Thornberry and Chairman McCain have said they would like to finish the bill before the summer recess begins on 18 July 2016.  However, both the House and Senate included extensive reform changes and these will take time to work out the details that will result in an agreement.  It is expected that the bill will not be completed until they return from recess on 5 September 2016.

HASC and SASC Staff Talk About the FY 2017 NDAA

Bob Simmons (HASC) and Chris Brose (SASC) who are lead staff for their respective Armed Services Committees discussed their bills at an American Enterprise Institute event hosted by Mackenzie Eaglen on 14 June 2016. 

Chris Brose (SASC), Bob Simmons (HASC), Mackenzie Eaglen (AEI) (pictured L-R)
Mr. Simmons explained that Chairman Thornberry has a six year view for a slow and steady path for reform and readiness.  The HASC bill, H.R. 4909, this year addresses both Reform of TRICARE and Military Health System and Goldwater-Nichols Reform, and Reform of National Security Council.
Mr. Brose said that Chairman McCain is focused on efficiency and effectiveness and that is done with innovation and integration.  The SASC bill, S. 2943, also tackled reform with Uniform Military Justice Reform, Reform of distribution and authorized strength of general and flag
Officers, Reform of basic allowance for housing, Reform of health care plans available under the TRICARE program, and Reform of Department of Defense Security Cooperation.
H.R. 4974, Military Construction and Veterans Administration Appropriations Act, 2017
Rep Gibson (R-NY-19) added a provision to the VA appropriations bill that will finally allow Blue Water Veterans to receive care for Agent Orange related illnesses.  The bill provision will still have to be agreed to by the Senate but this will probably not be done until after the summer recess when Congress returns on 5 September.
05/19/16 On agreeing to the Gibson amendment (A029) Agreed to by voice vote.
Sec. __.  None of the funds made available for this Act may be used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to preclude the territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam from inclusion in the meaning of the Republic of Vietnam under the Agent Orange Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-4) and the amendments made by that Act.
Here are Representative Gibson’s remarks to the Senate about his amendment:
Mr. GIBSON. Mr. Chair, I am here this morning to bring forward an amendment that is for our sailors who fought in the Vietnam War. This is about ensuring they get the health care and the benefits that they have earned through their service in Vietnam.

But in a broader sense, this is really about justice. This is about veterans who went forward and fought that war, a deeply unpopular war that divided our Nation. They were never asked about their political leanings or what their views were on the war.  They simply did what they were ordered to do. They went forward and they gave their very best effort to serve us.

In the process of that war, we used Agent Orange to defoliate. In the case of these sailors, serving just offshore in Vietnam, we had ships that were involved in resupply operations at the ports and at the harbor, and they were vulnerable. They were vulnerable because there was vegetation near the ports and the harbors. As our countermeasure to that, we defoliated to give standoff for those ships to protect them.

But what we have learned over time, Mr. Chairman, is that that was poisoning our sailors, and anyone that was in close proximity. Now, and  in fact in 1991, this body, along with the Senate and the President of the United States of America, enacted a law, the Agent Orange Act of  1991, that ensured that our veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange had access to the health care and the benefits that they had earned.

 Regrettably, in 2002, executive overreach led to a rule that narrowed the interpretation of our law. Now it is so that you have to have served on the ground in Vietnam or in the Riverine Navy to get access to this law and to these benefits.
 Mr. Chairman, the people's representatives never spoke on that. This is an issue we have dealt with time and again in this Chamber, both sides of the aisle, fighting back, fighting for our article 1 prerogative.  And this is very clear here.  This body spoke.  We said we had to try to make right what was wrong.

 So now we have about 90,000 sailors that don't have access to health care. Mr. Chairman, be advised and be assured that Members of this body  fight every day for these veterans in a case-by-case basis, and we do  win some of these, but we don't win all of them. It is just flatly wrong.

 Mr. Chairman, what this amendment does is really ensure that our article 1 prerogatives are secured. That we go back to the original language that we passed and the President signed.  I would ask all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this amendment.

Army Update

Army Secretary to Create New Office to Rapidly Field Gear to Soldiers | June 29, 2016 | by Matthew Cox
The U.S. Army's top civilian on Tuesday said he plans to establish a new office designed to identify and field capabilities to soldiers faster than ever before.
Secretary of the Army  Eric Fanning, who recently took over the post in May, said one of his top priorities is to further streamline the bureaucratic machine responsible for fielding new Army gear and equipment.
Complicated acquisition policies and redundant levels of oversight are challenges that have long plagued service secretaries and their chiefs of staff, he said.
"It is an enormous process; there is lots of institutions, processes and people vested in it staying the way that it is," Fanning told an audience at a breakfast organized by the Association of the United States Army, an advocacy group based in Arlington, Virginia.
"I think we have to loosen it up. We are just not fielding capabilities as fast as we should, and we are spending a lot of money in the process of fielding it that we could be using for resource rather than process."
To combat this challenge, Fanning plans to stand up a new Rapid Capabilities Office. Read more on

Luckey Confirmed to be New CAR

Maj. Gen. (P) Charles "Chip" Luckey was confirmed on 29 June as the 33rd Chief of the Army Reserve and 8th Commanding General of the US Army Reserve Command (USARC).  It is expected that his swearing in by the Secretary of the Army will take place as early as July 1.

Major General Charles D. Luckey is the Chief of Staff, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

NORAD is a bi-national U.S. and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. As the NORAD Chief of Staff, he directs a joint and bi-national staff to coordinate command responsibilities for North America.

As the USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff, he directs a joint staff in order to deter, prevent, and defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States and its territories and interests within USNORTHCOM’s assigned areas of responsibility. Additional duties involve coordinating and directing military assistance to civil authorities, including civil support and consequence management operations when authorized by the Secretary of Defense or President
of the United States.

General Luckey was commissioned in the Army after graduating as a Distinguished Military Graduate from the University of Virginia in 1977. He began his military career as an Infantry Officer leading Soldiers in both mechanized and Special Forces units until separating from active duty in 1982 to attend law school. In 1985, General Luckey returned to active duty and served with the 82d Airborne, Ft. Bragg, NC. In 1991, he transferred to the Army Reserve and subsequently commanded units at the battalion, brigade, and group level, culminating with his assignment as the Commanding General of the 78th Division (TS). General Luckey was recalled to Active Duty in 2008 and selected to serve as the Chief, Office of Security Cooperation in Baghdad, Iraq. Prior to his current assignment, General Luckey served on the Joint Staff as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff Lead for the Iraq transition.

Having served in a variety of theaters with three combat tours, General Luckey’s awards, badges and decorations are consistent with those of most Soldiers who have had the honor to serve the United States over a period of decades and the good fortune to return safely home.

ROA Receives Generous Gift from Estate of Army Reservist

Retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and ROA member Leo Baer, who died March 29 at his home in New York, provided ROA with a generous gift of $10,000 from his estate.  Born in Nuembrecht, Germany, on January 24, 1918, Lieutenant Colonel Baer, who enlisted in the Army in 1942, was married happily for 66 years to Lore, nee Lebrecht. He was, in addition to a veteran, the owner of an impressive collection of car lapel pins that he brought with him from Germany in 1933.
“ROA is indebted to Lieutenant Colonel Baer for his service in our Army during World War II and thereafter, and for his service to the nation through membership in the ROA,” said the association’s executive director, Jeff Phillips.  “This generous gift will be put to good and productive use helping ROA ensure a strong Reserve Component.”

Air Force Update

USAF establishes Force Development Site

The virtual Force Development Center acts as a depot for development resources; a comprehensive portal allowing all Airmen to have access to just-in-time training, education, and other force development resources.  It has 35 associated Air Force e-Learning programs focused on Institutional Competencies and key leadership development topics. Links are also provided to other relevant websites, such as myPers, Air University, and the Air Force’s new mentoring platform, called myVector. 

Training strengthens Navajo Nation | By Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hull, 446th Airlift Wing / June 27, 2016
Gallup, N.M. -- The sounds of saws buzzing, hammers pounding, and the faint sound of music playing in the background fill a warehouse where Citizen Airmen construct homes that will soon be given to Navajo tribal members who are in need.
Reservists assigned to the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron traveled to Gallup, New Mexico, June 5 to participate in Operation Footprint. The two week training event allowed reservists to construct homes and was involved in every step of the process.
Operation Footprint, a partnership of the Southwest Indian Foundation and the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training program, provides an avenue for training military members. The training prepares them for wartime missions while at the same time supporting the needs of the local Navajo Nation. Read more...

Navy Update

Requests for Separations, Retirements Move to Online Process

Retirement and separations (R&S) will be implemented incrementally through the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) beginning in June 2016 and continuing throughout the summer and fall. Once the initial three PSDs complete implementation satisfactorily, a phased roll out of the remaining PSDs will follow. A schedule will be posted and announced. Additionally, NSIPS Web-Afloat implementation timeline is dependent on the ship modernization process and will be completed in about 24 months after initial roll-out. Routing online will allow for verification along with routing and transparent tracking of applications for the individual Sailor, their command, the PSD and Navy Personnel Command. Overall this will increase the application process to promote efficiency and accuracy for those that are retiring.

Coast Guard Update

Shane Smith with the Department of Florida recently completed a visit with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg to talk about ROA and membership with the association.  The ROA Legislative Director, Susan Lukas, provided a legislative briefing via FaceTime and split screen viewing of the briefing slides.  She said, “I thought the briefing would only last 30 minutes but after the briefing the audience got into a lively discussion of how the Coast Guard is impacted by the legislation ROA is pursuing.  They gave me several insights into how I can bring the Coast Guard into our proposed legislation.”  Shane was able to get a wholehearted endorsement from the commander on the effectiveness of associations and he is working on developing a future chapter with this Coast Guard group.

Military Families

Yellow Ribbon Event Supported by the Department of Illinois

Connie and Fred Zehner (pictured L-R), both ROA members, represented the ROA, Department of Illinois and Chapter 48, Fort Sheridan at a Yellow Ribbon event that had over five hundred sixty reservists and family members registered.

They gave out information on the ROA legislation agenda and membership benefits.  They also handed out copies of "The Officer" magazine and talked about and the history and successes of the ROA.  They reported, “Many people seemed interested especially since ROA was interested in their benefits and future.”

Exchange Expands Layaway To Include Laptops, Tablets for Back-to-School Season

NEWS RELEASE: 16-059 | June 28, 2016 | DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is helping military students head to the top of the class during the 2016-17 school year by extending its layaway program to include computers and tablets needed to succeed in the classroom.
From July 1 to Aug. 31, just in time for back-to-school season, Exchange shoppers can use layaway to hold computers, notebooks, tablets and iPads—items that are not typically eligible for the program.
“Having up-to-date technology can be vital to succeeding in the classroom, and the Exchange is making it easier for military families to manage expenses to get the tools students need to succeed,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, Exchange senior enlisted advisor. “The extended layaway program helps parents and students stick to their back-to-school budgets.”
A $3 service fee and a deposit of 15 percent are required to hold items on layaway. Items must be picked up by Aug. 31. Shoppers can visit customer service at their local Exchange for complete details.

The Best of the next Generation Says “Here Am I. Send Me.”

By Captain Samuel F. Wright, JAGC, USN (Ret.)
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying. Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I. Here am I. Send me.” Isaiah, chapter 6, verse 8 (King James Bible). Isaiah is the 23rd book of the Old Testament.
On Memorial Day, it was my honor to attend “U.S. Senator John Cornyn Salutes the Class of 2020” at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. I attended with my good friend Colonel D. Ladd Pattillo, USA (Ret.), a past National President of the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) and a member of Senator Cornyn’s Service Academy Selection Board.
In this annual event, Senator Cornyn recognizes the Texas members of incoming classes of the United States Military Academy (West Point, New York), the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland), the United States Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado), the United States Coast Guard Academy (New London, Connecticut), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, New York). Senator Cornyn recognizes not only those that he has nominated for the service academies but also those nominated by Texas’ other Senator and by Texas’ United States Representatives and the young men and women selected for service academies by means other than congressional nomination.
Colonel Pattillo served as the Master-of-Ceremonies at this impressive annual event for the 12th time in the last 13 years. In the other year, he was on active duty in Iraq. Senator Cornyn’s 2016 event honored 33 incoming members of the United States Military Academy, 40 for the United States Naval Academy, 31 for the United States Air Force Academy, 3 for the United States Coast Guard Academy, and 10 for the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
It has now been almost two generations since Congress abolished the draft and established the All-Volunteer Military in 1973. I have long been concerned about our nation’s ability to recruit and retain a sufficient quality and quantity of young men and women to serve in uniform and defend our country. The statistics are disconcerting.
Only one-half of one percent of our country’s people has served in uniform since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. [Pew Research Center, War and Sacrifice in the Post-Modern Era, available at] More than 75% of young Americans in the 17-24 year old cohort are disqualified from military service because of medical issues (especially obesity and diabetes), use of illegal drugs and certain prescription medications (like those prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), felony convictions, educational deficiencies, and other problems. [Mission: Readiness Press Release, November 5, 2009,]
Only one percent of young Americans in the 17-24 cohort are both qualified for military service and willing to consider enlisting. The services need more than one-third of that one percent to meet their recruiting goals each year. [Wall Street Journal, Recruits’ Ineligibility Tests the Military, June 27, 2014, by Miriam Jordan, available at
I remain concerned, but I was greatly reassured by attending Senator Cornyn’s 2016 event and meeting and speaking to many most impressive officer candidates and their proud parents on Memorial Day. At least here in Texas, we are sending our best and brightest into our nation’s armed forces for the next generation, as we have in every generation since 1845.

CIOR LANGUAGE ACADEMY: Ready on the Right, Ready on the Left, Ready on the Firing Line!

For the past three months an article has appeared in this space to announce recruitment for the upcoming CIOR Language Academy to be conducted in Muraste, Estonia in July.  From ROA members we were looking for French language students and English as a Foreign language teachers.  Calls came in for both these roles, plus those expressing a general interest in CIOR. 
The enrollment deadlines are imminent. Recruitment for this 16th iteration of the CIOR Language Academy is the most successful in years. We expect to have over 70 students and 14 faculty and staff members. The US will contribute eight French students and six faculty and staff. Other important national groups of students include Albania, Estonia, Georgia, Poland, and Ukraine.
Watch this space next year for announcements regarding CLA 2017.  For further information contact CAPT David Epstein, USN(Ret), Director at (650)787-0500 (PDT) or


U.S.S. Wilhoite (DE/DER-397)
September 12-15, 2016
Crowne Plaza at the Airport
2829 Williams Boulevard, New Orleans, LA
Contact: Elisabeth Kimball
236 Linker Mountain Road, Dover, AR 72837
U.S. Navy Ship USS Perkins (DD26, DD377, DDR877) 26th Annual Reunion
September 14 - 17, 2016, San Pedro CA
Contact: George H. Melgarejo
1280 West 2nd Street, San Pedro, CA 90732
Phone: 310-831-5417
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
USS Bon Homme Richard (CV/CVA-31) Ship Company and Air Group & USS Bon Homme Richard (LHD-6)
August 31-September 4, 2016, Nashville , TN
Contact: Ray King
3030 Old Orchard Rd., Eau Claire, WI 54703
Phone: 715-456-5933
U.S.S. John R. Craig (DD-885)
September 20-25, 2016
Holiday Inn, Nashville Airport
Nashville, Tenn.
Contact: Jerry Chwalek
9307 Louisiana Street, Livonia, MI 48185
USS Elokomin AO-55
Sep 22-25, 2017
Lisle (Chicago), IL

Contact: Ron Finet
Phone: 262-742-4269
U.S.S. Walke (DD-723) Association
September 25-30, 2016
Asheville, NC
Reunion Contact: Gene Hansen
PO Box 1695, Cahiers, NC 28717-1695
Phone: 828-883-7231

Reunion Date:
UPT Class 67C

October 28-30, 2016
Mesa, AZ   
Contact Jerry Engles for further information:
USS Voge (DE/FF-1047) Reunion
When:  5-9 October 2016
Where: Warwick RI
Reservation deadline:  24 August 2016
Contact: Tom Anderson/501-259-1369 or
 Jan Harris/
Reservations: call MRP at 817-251-3551
or go
For additional Info please go to Voge Facebook Page or email

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. 16051 Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015
  • No. 16052 New Attempt to Preclude Forced Arbitration in USERRA Cases
  • No. 16053 Airline Must Comply with USERRA regarding Pensions
  • No. 16054 Retroactive Pay Increase and Section 4318 of USERRA
  • No. 16055 Department of the Army Flouts USERRA
  • No. 16056 Sam’s Prediction Was Wrong—The 5th Circuit Reversed the Southern District of Texas on the Constitutionality of the Hazlewood Act
  • No. 16057 The Best of the next Generation Says “Here Am I. Send Me.”
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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