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ReserveVoice: December 29, 2015

Legislative Update

Budget Bills

The federal government’s budget passed on 18 December after three extensions.  HR 2029, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, and it includes the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2016 in DIVISION C.  According to Chairman Rogers, “The bill increases funding for national defense and important domestic priorities, and . . . contains emergency Global War on Terror (GWOT)/Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other U.S. enemies, to conduct successful military operations, and to maintain a well-equipped and prepared military force.” 

Congress Convenes

With the passage of the budget the House and Senate ended the 114th, First Session.  For your planning purposes the House has already posted their calendar for 2016.  They will be out of session several times each month to include 18-21 July 2016 for the Republican National Convention and 25-28 July 2016 for the Democratic National Convention.  They will also be out of session the month of October 2016 leading up to national elections.

Duty Status

In the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed DoD to complete an assessment to consolidate the 30 duty statuses to six broader statuses and determine whether the consolidation will increase efficiency in the RC.  The report is due 180 days after enactment which should be 13 June 2016.  In the assessment the Secretary of Defense can submit an alternate proposal “ . . . including a draft of such legislation as would be necessary to amend titles10, 14, 32, and 37 of the United States Code and other provisions.”.

(a) ASSESSMENT REQUIRED.—The Secretary of Defense shall conduct an assessment of the recommendation of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission regarding consolidation of statutory authorities by which members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces may be ordered to perform duty. The Secretary shall specifically assess each of the six broader duty statuses recommended by the Commission as replacements for the 30 reserve component duty statuses currently authorize to determine whether consolidation will increase efficiency in the reserve components.

(b) SUBMISSION OF REPORT.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report containing the results of the Secretary’s assessment. If, as a result of the assessment, S. 1356—86 the Secretary determines that an alternate approach to consolidation of the statutory authorities described in subsection (a) is preferable, the Secretary shall submit the alternate approach, including a draft of such legislation as would be necessary to amend titles10, 14, 32, and 37 of the United States Code and other provisions.

Navy Update

Congressional response to the Navy Reserve Chattanooga domestic terrorist shooting continued this month when they included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 to establish a process for carrying firearms for personal protection.  Killed in the attack were Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt and Sgt. Carson Holmquist. Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith died on July 18 from wounds sustained during the shooting.

Not later than December 31, 2015, the Secretary of Defense, taking into consideration the views of senior leadership of military installations in the United States, shall establish and implement a process by which the commanders of military installations in the United States, or other military commanders designated by the Secretary of Defense for military reserve centers, Armed Services recruiting centers, and such other defense facilities as the Secretary may prescribe, may authorize a member of the Armed Forces who is assigned to duty at the installation, center or facility to carry an appropriate firearm on the installation, center, or facility if the commander determines that carrying such a firearm is necessary as a personal- or force-protection measure.

Air Force Update

Tops in Blue Cancelled for 2016

The Air Force is cancelling the Tops in Blue performances for 2016 following outreach efforts about whether or not they should continue to be funded.  The Air Force press release stated, “While there is widespread awareness among the force, only about 25 percent of all Airmen have seen a performance within the past five years. Of all the age groups, and representing a third of the overall Airman population, the 25- to 34-year-old age group was the least likely to have a positive opinion of Tops in Blue.  In addition to the official survey, feedback solicited from the MAJCOMs and bases showed 41 percent recommended divesting, while 19 percent of the members polled were in favor of keeping Tops in Blue. Around 17 percent suggested a modified program, and six percent had “other” opinions.”  Tops in Blue started in 1953. 

Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty

The Air Force is offering Guard and Reserve members the opportunity to go back on active duty for three year tours of duty.  The job openings are around the country and there are nearly 100 different career fields being included for enlisted personnel.  Officer opportunities also exist and all positions require a letter of recommendation from the Wing Commander. Details are at the secured myPERS website:,17

Member Update

81 House members and 21 Senate members of the 114th Congress have served or are Serving in the Military. Download the attached list showing which have served in the Reserve Components.



Reunion Date:
11th Airborne Division Association’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and former members of the 11th Air Assault Division and the
187th Regimental Combat Team
February 21-24, 2016
Myrtle Beach, SC
Artie Heape - (843) 846-4693 or
Herb Shapiro - (410) 827-6410
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

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.

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. 15115 The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Has Moved
  • No. 15116 New USERRA Primer
  • No. 15117 Maintain your Texas Domicile until you Retire and Leave Active Duty
  • No. 15118 Maintain your Domicile on the Indian Reservation To Avoid State Income Tax while on Active Duty
  • No. 15119 Check out the Law Review Library
Visit the Service Members Law Center

There’s Still Time To Give!

As 2015 draws to a close, please consider a charitable donation to the ROA STARs Foundation.  The Foundation is a membership organization of patriotic individuals and corporations who Stand Together for America’s Reservists.  The Foundation supports the work of the Reserve Officers Association through development of programs and initiatives to support reserve component service members and their families.
We cannot thank you enough if you have already sent your tax-deductible donation to support the Foundation.  If you have not yet donated, please know that it is not too late!  Online contributions must be made by 31 December 15; or if by mail it must be postmarked by December 31st

The ROA STARs Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization as defined by IRS.
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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