National Guard April 2012 : Page 18

WASHINGTON UPDATE The latest Capitol Hill news from the NGAUS legislative staff A Guardsman who serves 20 years but never is called to Title 10 service is not considered a veteran according to current law. Legislative Director Leaves NGAUS; Legacy Includes Historic Successes Richard Green, who was chief of the NGAUS legislative department during some of its greatest victories, left the association last month. He has returned to Ohio to begin the relaxed retirement he delayed when he became legislative director at NGAUS in September 2005, just after leaving the military. Green, 63, who piloted aircraft to every corner of the world during nine years with the active Air Force and 26 with the Ohio Air National Guard, said, “Given the significant legislative successes in recent years, such as affordable TRICARE, robust [National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account] funding, Army Guard equipment funding, enhanced educational benefits and, more recently, the elevation of the chief of the National Guard Bureau to a permanent seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I feel good about what has been accom-plished during my tenure.” But, he said, it is time to step down and pursue other interests. Retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president, said, “We are a better organization because of Rich’s seven years as our legislative director.” The members of the current legislative team were all hired by Green, so his mark on the association will continue, Hargett said. Once Again: NGAUS Backs Legislation Expanding Legal Definition of Veteran NGAUS is urging members to contact their senators and ask them to quickly pass a bill that more accurately defines a veteran under federal law. This effort has been ongoing as previous bills have been stopped for one reason or another in the legislative process. But the as-sociation is determined to keep attention on this attempt to give proud men and women their rightful respect under federal law. As it stands, a National Guardsman, for example, who serves 20 years but never is called to Title 10 federal service is not legally a veteran of the armed services, ac-cording to current law. NGAUS has been pushing for this cost-neutral bill for some time. The association distributed a Legislative Alert last month and retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association president, made it a focal point of his testimony March 22 to a joint panel of veterans’ committee members. “Approval of this bill,” he said, “would help tear down the remnants of a wall of prejudice that still exists in some quarters against the National Guard.” The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1025 last October and sent the bill to the Senate where it still awaits action by the Sen-ate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The Senate committee has uncertain plans about moving this bill forward. It is leaning toward folding it into an omnibus bill that would go back to the House as a joint conference item with no guarantee that it would successfully emerge. A similar bill passed the House unani-mously in 2010 only to stall in the Senate. Sen. Webb’s Legislation Restricts GI Bill Benefits at For-profit Colleges Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has introduced legislation to prevent possible abuse of the Post-9/11 GI Bill at for-profit schools. Many of those schools have been criticized for the quality of education they provide and for deceptive recruiting efforts. Webb said the cost to the taxpayer to send a veteran to a for-profit school is twice that at a public university. “Growing concerns of abuses by some educational institutions put at risk the Post-9/11 GI Bill itself and the invaluable ben-efits it provides our veterans,” he said when introducing last month the Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012. His bill would require those colleges to meet the same federal requirements for receiving Pell Grants and other federal aid, disclose graduation rates and loan default rates, and provide better support and coun-seling services to students using the GI Bill. Webb introduced the Post-9/11 GI Bill legislation, which passed three years ago. Since then, about 700,000 people have received a combined total of more than $17 billion for their education. 18 | Na tional Guard

Washington Update

A Guardsman who serves 20 years but never is called to Title 10 service is not considered a veteran according to current law.<br /> <br /> Legislative Director Leaves NGAUS; Legacy Includes Historic Successes<br /> <br /> Richard Green, who was chief of the NGAUS legislative department during some of its greatest victories, left the association last month.<br /> <br /> He has returned to Ohio to begin the relaxed retirement he delayed when he became legislative director at NGAUS in September 2005, just after leaving the military.<br /> <br /> Green, 63, who piloted aircraft to every corner of the world during nine years with the active Air Force and 26 with the Ohio Air National Guard, said, “Given the significant legislative successes in recent years, such as affordable TRICARE, robust [National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account] funding, Army Guard equipment funding, enhanced educational benefits and, more recently, the elevation of the chief of the National Guard Bureau to a permanent seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I feel good about what has been accomplished during my tenure.” <br /> <br /> But, he said, it is time to step down and pursue other interests.<br /> <br /> Retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president, said, “We are a better organization because of Rich’s seven years as our legislative director.” <br /> <br /> The members of the current legislative team were all hired by Green, so his mark on the association will continue, Hargett said.<br /> <br /> Once Again: NGAUS Backs Legislation Expanding Legal Definition of Veteran <br /> <br /> NGAUS is urging members to contact their senators and ask them to quickly pass a bill that more accurately defines a veteran under federal law.<br /> <br /> This effort has been ongoing as previous bills have been stopped for one reason or another in the legislative process. But the association is determined to keep attention on this attempt to give proud men and women their rightful respect under federal law.<br /> <br /> As it stands, a National Guardsman, for example, who serves 20 years but never is called to Title 10 federal service is not legally a veteran of the armed services, according to current law.<br /> <br /> NGAUS has been pushing for this costneutral bill for some time. The association distributed a Legislative Alert last month and retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association president, made it a focal point of his testimony March 22 to a joint panel of veterans’ committee members.<br /> <br /> “Approval of this bill,” he said, “would help tear down the remnants of a wall of prejudice that still exists in some quarters against the National Guard.” <br /> <br /> The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1025 last October and sent the bill to the Senate where it still awaits action by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.<br /> <br /> The Senate committee has uncertain plans about moving this bill forward. It is leaning toward folding it into an omnibus bill that would go back to the House as a joint conference item with no guarantee that it would successfully emerge.<br /> <br /> A similar bill passed the House unanimously in 2010 only to stall in the Senate.<br /> <br /> Sen. Webb’s Legislation Restricts GI Bill Benefits at For-profit Colleges <br /> <br /> Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has introduced legislation to prevent possible abuse of the Post-9/11 GI Bill at for-profit schools.<br /> <br /> Many of those schools have been criticized for the quality of education they provide and for deceptive recruiting efforts.<br /> <br /> Webb said the cost to the taxpayer to send a veteran to a for-profit school is twice that at a public university.<br /> <br /> “Growing concerns of abuses by some educational institutions put at risk the Post- 9/11 GI Bill itself and the invaluable benefits it provides our veterans,” he said when introducing last month the Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012.<br /> <br /> His bill would require those colleges to meet the same federal requirements for receiving Pell Grants and other federal aid, disclose graduation rates and loan default rates, and provide better support and counseling services to students using the GI Bill.<br /> <br /> Webb introduced the Post-9/11 GI Bill legislation, which passed three years ago.Since then, about 700,000 people have received a combined total of more than $17 billion for their education.<br /> <br /> Law Would Recognize Military Training For Civilian Professional Licenses <br /> <br /> Legislation introduced by a lawmaker who is a member of the Ohio Army National Guard would require states that accept federal funds to recognize military training when granting professional licenses and certification.<br /> <br /> Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, a lieutenant colonel, introduced H.R. 4115. He says it is a way for veterans to get credit for their military experience when they seek professional work in the civilian world, according to Army Times.<br /> <br /> “There is no reason that if someone can perform a job when serving in a war zone, they can’t do the exact same job back home once they leave the military,” he said.<br /> <br /> If the bill becomes law, states that receive money from the federal Department of Labor would have to consider the military training and experience of applicants for professional licenses and certification.<br /> <br /> As examples, Stivers said truck drivers and nursing assistants who perform those jobs in the military are sufficiently trained for the same jobs in the civilian world.<br /> <br /> The bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep.Tim Walz, D-Minn., a retired Army Guard command sergeant major, was sent to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.<br /> <br /> Senator Probing Army Pay Problems Seeking Evidence from Guardsmen <br /> <br /> As he investigates the Army’s problems delivering soldiers’ pay to them in a timely and accurate manner, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., is looking for people in the National Guard who have had problems regarding their pay.<br /> <br /> Carper, who is on the federal financial management subcommittee of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, believes the problems arise because the Army’s payroll and personnel databases are not able to talk to each other.<br /> <br /> The service has been unable to produce basic documentation, such as active-duty status, duty station, pay grade and more.This prevents soldiers from receiving pay in an expeditious manner.<br /> <br /> The Government Accountability Office is currently reviewing for the senator several specific cases. To further his investigation, he is seeking examples of these problems among the nation’s citizen-soldiers.<br /> <br /> A joint House and Senate Oversight committee heard testimony from an Ohio Army National Guard officer who said pay problems have become “a normal part of Army life.” <br /> <br /> Lt. Col. Kirk Zecchini described pay issues he experienced during a 28-year career that included time as a traditional Guardsman, as an active-duty soldier and as a federal technician.<br /> <br /> He told the committee of a problem he had in 2003 while deployed to Afghanistan.He volunteered to serve an extra six months.Although the extension was published, his military pay stopped when his original orders ended. It took more than a month to resolve the issue.<br /> <br /> Anyone else who has experienced a problem receiving pay in an accurate and timely manner can contact Pete Duffy, the NGAUS acting legislative director, at pete.duffy@ngaus.org. He will forward the information to the senator’s office.<br /> <br /> AFRICOM Commander Recommends Expanded Guard Presence in Africa <br /> <br /> The commander of U.S. Africa Command told senators last month that the National Guard’s State Partnership Program should be expanded in Africa.<br /> <br /> Gen. Carter Ham told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “I think we should look for some new and innovative ways to apply state partnerships.”<br /> <br /> The State Partnership Program matches states and territories with 65 nations. The program gives Guardsmen and military members from the foreign nations an opportunity to share ideas and capabilities.<br /> <br /> Ham said he suggested to Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the National Guard Bureau chief, that the Guard will add two state partnerships to Africa this year.<br /> <br /> He suggested Libya as a place to start as the relationship there is in the fledgling stage after the overthrow of the longtime government of Moammar Gadhafi.<br /> <br /> Ham told senators that eight states have existing partnerships with African nations.They are Botswana and North Carolina; Ghana and North Dakota; Liberia and Michigan; Morocco and Utah; Nigeria and California; Senegal and Vermont; South Africa and New York; and Tunisia and Wyoming.

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