National Guard May 2012 : Page 18
NEWSBREAKS Governors, DoD Still Far Apart On Air Guard Budget Proposal Despite some negotiation between the governors and Pentagon officials, a showdown in Congress over plans to cut the Air National Guard appears inevitable. At issue is an Air Force proposal to cut 5,100 personnel and nearly 200 aircraft from the Air Guard in the ﬁs-cal 2013 defense budget request. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta invited the Council of Governors—a 10-member group established in 2010 to speak for all of the governors on de-fense matters—to submit an alterna-tive plan. The CoG alternative would make the cuts more proportional across the Air Force. Meanwhile, Guard supporters on Capitol Hill began drafting legislation last month that would restore the Air Guard cuts, all the while hoping the issue could be resolved without a leg-islative remedy. Such a compromise seemed very unlikely late last month after the ap-pearance of a controversial Air Force memo and the governors said “thanks but no thanks” to a counterproposal by Panetta. The memo ( Chairman’s Message, page 10 ) rejected the CoG alterna-tive entirely, but it was circulated to congressional offices after Panetta re-placed Air Force officials with Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in ne-gotiations with the governors. It also misstated the governor’s plan. Panetta then sent a letter to the CoG April 23 proposing to restore 24 C-130 cargo planes and approximate-ly 2,000 personnel to the Air Guard. He also said Pentagon officials would establish a process with the governors to “exchange views, in-formation, and advice on state civil support requirements” before the de-velopment of the ﬁscal 2014 budget request. Many in Congress immediately said the defense secretary’s effort did not go far enough. And in an April 27 letter to Panet-ta, Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Washington Gov. Christine O. Gre-goire, the CoG co-chairs, also said the proposal fell short, adding that they would be asking Congress to “sustain” ﬁscal 2012 “funding, manpower and aircraft levels” for ﬁscal 2013. Copies of the memo and letters are available at www.ngaus.org. head of the country and basically say that if they did not come up with a plan to reduce the deﬁcit that this so-called sequester process would go into effect.” That process, the secretary ex-plained, would cut $1.2 trillion in federal spending across the board, in-cluding almost $500 billion from the defense budget. The cuts would be implemented across the board, he said, guarantee-ing that the force would be hollowed out in the process. He expressed disappointment that a specially appointed congressional deﬁcit-reduction committee has not been able to come up with solutions that will prevent sequestration from triggering in January 2013. Panetta Blasts Congress for Failure to Avert Sequestration Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta blasted Congress recently for threaten-ing the military with sequestration he said would be devastating to the U.S. armed forces. “Congress did a stupid thing,” he told crewmembers of USS Peleliu dur-ing a shipboard visit off the California coast. “What they essentially did was to put a gun to their heads and to the Defense Department Delays New Tuition-Assistance Rules The Defense Department has pushed until this summer new over-sight rules for colleges and universities to participate in the military’s tuition-assistance program. Officials are also revising the rules after working with several education groups that were concerned about the original requirements. Hundreds of colleges, including some Ivy League schools and many of the nation’s top public research univer-sities, refused to sign on to the origi-nal new rules, saying they favored for-proﬁt institutions and failed to protect National Guard Casualties Four Army National Guard soldiers lost their lives from March 22 to April 17 while supporting the war on terrorism, accord-ing to Defense Department casualty reporting. r 4HU�f; %FOOJT 1�f; 8FJDIFM +S�f;�d; a;�d; PG 1SPWJEFODF�d; 3�f;*�f;�d; EJFE March 22 in Laghman province, Afghanistan, from injuries he sustained in a noncombat-related incident ( 4UBUF3PVOE -up, page 42)  )F XBT B NFNCFS PG UIF 3IPEF *TMBOE "SNZ /BUJPOBM (VBSET $PNQBOZ $�d;
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Governors, DoD Still Far Apart On Air Guard Budget Proposal
Despite some negotiation between the governors and Pentagon officials, a showdown in Congress over plans to cut the Air National Guard appears inevitable.
At issue is an Air Force proposal to cut 5,100 personnel and nearly 200 aircraft from the Air Guard in the fiscal 2013 defense budget request.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta invited the Council of Governors—a 10-member group established in 2010 to speak for all of the governors on defense matters—to submit an alternative plan. The CoG alternative would make the cuts more proportional across the Air Force.
Meanwhile, Guard supporters on Capitol Hill began drafting legislation last month that would restore the Air Guard cuts, all the while hoping the issue could be resolved without a legislative remedy.
Such a compromise seemed very unlikely late last month after the appearance of a controversial Air Force memo and the governors said “thanks but no thanks” to a counterproposal by Panetta.
The memo (Chairman’s Message, page 10) rejected the CoG alternative entirely, but it was circulated to congressional offices after Panetta replaced Air Force officials with Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in negotiations with the governors. It also misstated the governor’s plan.
Panetta then sent a letter to the CoG April 23 proposing to restore 24 C-130 cargo planes and approximately 2,000 personnel to the Air Guard.
He also said Pentagon officials would establish a process with the governors to “exchange views, information, and advice on state civil support requirements” before the development of the fiscal 2014 budget request.
Many in Congress immediately said the defense secretary’s effort did not go far enough.
And in an April 27 letter to Panetta, Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Washington Gov. Christine O. Gregoire, the CoG co-chairs, also said the proposal fell short, adding that they would be asking Congress to “sustain” fiscal 2012 “funding, manpower and aircraft levels” for fiscal 2013.
Copies of the memo and letters are available at www.ngaus.org.
Panetta Blasts Congress for Failure to Avert Sequestration
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta blasted Congress recently for threatening the military with sequestration he said would be devastating to the U.S.armed forces.
“Congress did a stupid thing,” he told crewmembers of USS Peleliu during a shipboard visit off the California coast. “What they essentially did was to put a gun to their heads and to the head of the country and basically say that if they did not come up with a plan to reduce the deficit that this socalled sequester process would go into effect.”
That process, the secretary explained, would cut $1.2 trillion in federal spending across the board, including almost $500 billion from the defense budget.
The cuts would be implemented across the board, he said, guaranteeing that the force would be hollowed out in the process.
He expressed disappointment that a specially appointed congressional deficit-reduction committee has not been able to come up with solutions that will prevent sequestration from triggering in January 2013.
Defense Department Delays New Tuition-Assistance Rules
The Defense Department has pushed until this summer new oversight rules for colleges and universities to participate in the military’s tuitionassistance program.
Officials are also revising the rules after working with several education groups that were concerned about the original requirements.
Hundreds of colleges, including some Ivy League schools and many of the nation’s top public research universities, refused to sign on to the original new rules, saying they favored forprofit institutions and failed to protect service members from unscrupulous providers.
The new program was to go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, but the Pentagon delayed implementation for 90 days after lawmakers and some associations— including NGAUS—wrote to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta saying that rules designed to protect service members actually did the opposite.
DoD says the revised rules, which are still being finalized, will now be in place by “sometime this summer.”
They will include guidelines that require institutions to provide a financial aid adviser to military students, outline tuition and program fees for service members and ban aggressive marketing to military students.
Troops will not be able to use federal tuition at schools that do not sign a memorandum of understanding with DoD covering the rules. Those using veteran education benefits available through the Post-9/11 GI Bill are not affected.
Only 2,200 of the nation’s 7,000 colleges and universities have thus far signed the MoU. NGAUS is concerned that the revised rules may not go far enough to allay the concerns of the nonsignatories.
About 320,000 service members currently use federal tuition assistance, a Pentagon official said, and that assistance totaled $545 million in fiscal 2011.
More information about the program and a list of schools agreeing to the MoU is available at www.dodmou.com.
VA Mental Health Care Effort Receives Boost to Workforce
The Department of Veterans Affairs will add approximately 1,600 clinicians, including nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, as well as nearly 300 support staff, to its existing mental health workforce of 20,590, VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced recently.
The staff increase is part of an ongoing review of the VA’s mental health care operations, Shinseki said.
“As the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to anticipate the needs of returning veterans,” he said. “History shows that the costs of war will continue to grow for a decade or more after the operational missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended. As more veterans return home, we must ensure that all veterans have access to quality mental health care.” VA’s ongoing comprehensive review of mental health operations has indicated that some VA facilities require more mental health staff to serve the growing needs of veterans, officials said. It projected the need for the 1,900 additional mental health staff largely because of increasing needs for the Veterans Crisis Line, as well as an expected increase in compensation and pension and integrated disability evaluation exams.
VA will allocate funds this month from the current budget to all 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks across the country to begin recruitment immediately.
VA has enhanced services through the integration of mental health care into the primary care setting, developing an extensive suicide prevention program, and increasing the number of Veterans Readjustment Counseling Centers. VA’s Veteran Crisis Line has received more than 600,000 calls, resulting in more than 21,000 rescues of veterans in immediate crisis.
Veterans in need of immediate help can receive assistance by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.
F-22 Raptor Advisory Board Announces Recommendations
Air Force leaders provided an update on the service’s Scientific Advisory Board study into F-22 Raptor aircraft life support systems and flight operations during a Pentagon briefing recently.
Retired Gen. Gregory Martin, an aviator and a former commander of two major commands, chaired the nine-member SAB team which studied the F-22’s onboard oxygen generation systems and briefed its findings and recommendations in trying to determine a reason why some people have experienced unexplained physiological events while piloting the aircraft.
“From April 2008 until May 2011, the Air Force experienced 14 physiological incidents with the fleet of F- 22s,” Martin said. “Each incident was investigated and, of those incidents, 10 did not reveal a root cause.”
It was the unexplained nature of those incidents that gave the Air Force concern and led Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley to ask for a broad area review which the SAB conducted, he added.
“We were unable to determine a root cause, but we were able to put in place the proper safety measures and risk mitigation techniques that would allow the F-22 fleet to return to fly .. To ensure the integrity of the life support system,” Martin said. “We went from ground test to flight test to a return- to-fly phase, and moving into a transition phase.”
The advisory board made nine findings and 14 recommendations based on a seven-month study of the F-22’s evolution, from conception and acquisition through current flight operations, which the Air Force can use to move forward.
Martin said the board’s findings and recommendations fall into three areas: acquisition processes and policies, organizational structure recommendations and equipment recommendations to not only protect the pilots and crew members today but also in the future.
Two Air National Guard wings operate the F-22—Hawaii’s 154th Wing and Virginia’s 192nd Fighter Wing.
Army Guardsman Honored for Aiding Sexual Assault Victims
The Defense Department honored last month the men and women who are on the front lines of the battle against the crime of sexual assault, including Colorado Army National Guard Maj. Alisa M. Englert. Maj.Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, director of the department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Offi ce, saluted DoD’s sexual assault response coordinators, saying they treat all victims with dignity and respect and are tireless advocates for the victims of these crimes.
The ceremony honored six men and women who serve as sexual assault response coordinators, including Englert, who works at the Colorado National Guard’s joint headquarters.
Hertog thanked the award winners for making a diff erence every day. The coordinators present classes aimed at prevention.
They also take care of victims of the crime and interface with commanders. All these eff orts are aimed “to build an environment free of sexual assault,” the general said.
The award winners all have key attributes in common, Hertog said.
“[Y]ou treat victims with dignity and respect, and that is the key to help them past this crisis,” she said. “Building on that, you have proven yourselves to be tireless victim advocates to ensure the best possible case management with commanders.”
The coordinators often are a victim’s fi rst point of contact in the program, Hertog said, and as such, they are the program’s center of gravity.
“We not only rely on you to take care of our victims,” she said, “but we rely on you to make sure our victims know what’s available to them from forensic exams to counseling services to our new options, such as expedited transfer, document retention and expanded legal services.”
Pentagon Seeks Industry Help To Stop Continuing Cyber Thefts
The Defense Department needs private-sector cooperation in reporting computer network attacks in real time to stop what has been the “greatest transfer of wealth in history” that U.S.
Companies lose to foreign hackers, the head of U.S. Cyber Command told a Senate committee recently.
Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who also is the National Security Agency director, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he supports legislation that would require private companies to report attacks, and added that such reporting needs to happen before an attack is complete.
Many cyber defense bills have stalled in Congress over concerns about privacy, overregulation and the military’s role in cyber protection, Alexander and the senators noted.
The general compared the current situation to a missile being fired into U.S. airspace with no radar to see it. “Today, we’re in the forensics mode,” he said. “When an attack occurs, we’re told about it after the fact.”
Alexander added, however, that industry should be monitoring its own systems with help from Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Defense Department’s request of $3.4 billion for Cyber Command in fiscal 2013 is one of the few areas of growth in the DoD budget, senators noted.
New Fixed-Wing Plane To Replace C-12 Huron
The Army is looking to replace its fleet of 117 C-12 Huron aircraft, more than 50 of which are in the Army National Guard.
The Army uses the C-12 for personnel transport, intelligence gathering and reconnaissance, and for carrying cargo.
“The biggest program that we have got coming up, and of course this is going to replace all the Army C-12s, we’re looking at putting a program together called the Future Fixed Wing Utility Aircraft,” said Col. Brian Tachias, the Army’s project manager for fixed-wing aircraft.
He said a requirements document for the program is now “working in the Pentagon.”
When that is approved, he said, it will allow the Army to begin an analysis of alternatives, and eventually define the requirements for the program in a capabilities development document. If approved, that will allow the Army “to go out and procure the next fixed-wing utility aircraft.”
Tachias spoke last month at the Army Aviation Association of America conference in Nashville, Tenn.
More Assignments Open for Women
Policy changes announced in February opening more than 14,000 new assignments to women in uniform will take effect May 14, Defense Department officials said recently.
Officials issued a Pentagon press release confirming that two changes to the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule can now move forward since the congressionally-mandated notification period has expired. The changes were first announced Feb. 9 in a report to Congress.
The biggest barrier DoD is lifting is a 1994 policy prohibiting women from jobs—such as tank mechanic and field artillery radar operator— that take place near ground combat units. With that restriction removed, 13,000 new assignments will be available for women.
Nearly 10,000 of those new opportunities are in fields never before open to women.
The second change is an “exception to policy” that will allow the Army, Navy and Marines to open select positions at the battalion level in jobs women already occupy.
The previous policy, also set in 1994, barred women in jobs such as intelligence, communications and logistics from assignment at units smaller than a brigade. Nearly 1,200 assignments will open to female soldiers, sailors and Marines under the exceptions.
Air Force to End New Travel-Card Program
The Air Force recently decided to transition existing Controlled Spend Account travel cards to an enhanced Government Travel Card by the end of fiscal 2012.
“The CSA, a pilot travelcard program, provided some enhancements for travelers, but also brought about significant challenges for our most frequent travelers and those with unique mission sets,” said Joan Causey, the deputy assistant secretary for financial operations.
“We recognized that for any travel-card program to work, it has to work for all travelers,” she said.
The actual transition will occur in August and September and current CSA cardholders should continue to use their cards as normal. The transition strategy allows travelers to continue using their “blue cards” without interruption.
The card functionality will be converted to a GTC by CitiBank without the need to get a new card.
ESGR Freedom Award Semifinalists Selected
The Defense Department agency that promotes cooperation between civilian employers and their reservecomponent employees has announced semifinalists for its most prestigious award.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) has selected 133 employers as semifinalists for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, DoD’s highest recognition for employer support.
Overall, 3,236 employers were nominated by service members or their families.
Employers chosen as semifinalists support their Guard and Reserve employees through a variety of formal and informal initiatives, including developing internal military support networks, caring for the families of deployed employees and granting additional leave for employees preparing to leave for or return from deployments.
ESGR will announce the 2012 Freedom Award finalists this month after a review board comprised of military and civilian leaders selects the 30 finalists. The 15 award recipients will be announced early this summer and honored in Washington, D.C., at a ceremony Sept. 20.
The complete list of semifinalists from each state and territory can be viewed at www.freedomaward.mil under the “media” tab in the press releases section.
Air National Guard Officer Awarded Air Force Cross
A Maryland Air National Guard captain received the Air Force’s second highest award last month for keeping more than 100 insurgents at bay for 10 hours with a little help from above.
Capt. Barry F. Crawford Jr. Was awarded the Air Force Cross at a Pentagon ceremony April 12 for controlling the air space and calling in airstrikes during the May 2010 battle in Afghanistan.
His action allowed his special operations team to get out of the kill zone and ultimately saved the lives of his American comrades.
While assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, Crawford was the joint terminal attack controller—the air-to-ground communications link—for an Army Special Forces and Afghan commando team.
He called in multiple fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, allowing for the safe return of all U.S. forces, the evacuation of two Afghan commandos killed in action, and the rescue of three other wounded Afghan commandos.
“Captain Crawford repeatedly and conspicuously disregarded his own safety to assist his United States and Afghan teammates,” said Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, shortly before Presenting the award to Crawford. “It is not hard to be utterly impressed by his bravery and inspired by his selflessness.”
According to his citation,“Crawford braved effective enemy fire and consciously placed himself at grave risk on four occasions while controlling over 33 aircraft and more than 40 airstrikes on a well-trained and well-prepared enemy force. His selfless actions and expert airpower employment neutralized a numerically superior enemy force and enabled friendly elements to exfiltrate the area without massive casualties.”
After returning home, Crawford wanted to continue to serve but also live out another dream of his—to become a pilot. He found this opportunity with the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Wing.
“I love serving my country. I don’t think there’s anything more honorable than that,” he said.“I was offered the opportunity to attend undergraduate pilot training and become a member of the 104th Fighter Squadron . . . To fly A-10s.”
He said the move is personal since he spent his time on the ground coordinating the close-air support fighters.
“It used to be that we were the only military who could drop a bomb down a chimney, or choose which window to send a cruise missile through. Now dozens of ‘middleweight’ militaries have this capability.”
—Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman,
“World More Dangerous, Top General Tells Harvard,”
Boston Globe, April 13
“The Air Force needs to downsize, no question— but it has chosen radical surgery rather than more judicious cuts or going on an overall diet.”
—Editorial on proposed Air Guard and Air Force Reserve cuts,
“Winging it: The Air Force is deaf to base closure arguments,”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 9
“Sometimes it’s just us making noise, and the bad guys will disengage.”
—1st Lt. Ryan Scott, 132nd Fighter Wing,
“Iowa Guard jets providing air cover for U.S., Afghan troops,”
Des Moines Register, March 30
“It’s entirely likely that my grandchildren, should they choose to go in the Army, will be fighting with equipment I was using when I was a captain.”
—Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales,
“Being ‘Army Strong’ Gets Weak Backing With Obama’s Strategy,”
Washington Times, April 8
NO WISHFUL THINKING
“Do I wish that the top line were different? Sure. I wish that Christmas would come every day. But the reality is the country has trillion-dollar deficits to deal with, that’s part of it.”
—Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff,
“Air Force’s Schwartz Rejects McConnell, Ryan Claims
Of Budget Dissent,” NationalJournal.com, April 9
SPINNING OUR WHEELS
“After 40 years of pedaling and pedaling very hard, sometimes you look to your left, you look to your right and you are almost in the same position.”
—Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
“More Latin Leaders Say U.S. Anti-Drug Policy Is Failing,”
Washington Post, April 11
Below is an excerpt as it appeared in the May 1952 issue of NATIONAL GUARDSMAN, as this magazine was called at the time. It’s part of a monthly series of relevant articles from the publication’s more than 65 years of archives.
Disturbed over the astronomically mounting costs of the Nation’s defense bill, angered by evidences of enormous waste, a suspiciously distrustful Congress was in no mood last month to rubber-stamp the annual request for funds to keep the Services going for another year. ...
The last word was yet to be said, for at press time the Senate had not yet acted, but the House had passed an appropriation bill granting $46,207,177,554 for the year beginning 1 July. That was 9.2% less than the President had requested.
The House Appropriations Committee already had knocked off $4,200,000,000, and when the bill got to the House floor, members sliced off an additional $473,000,000. In addition, the House voted to limit to $46,000,000,000 the amount the Services actually may spend in the coming year, no matter how many billions in “carryover” they have from previous years’ appropriations.
The National Guard shared in the financial surgery. Where $220,000,000 had been asked for the Army National Guard, $153,300,000 was granted. Ten millions were snipped off the $116,000,000 requested for the Air Guard. …
The House Committee further explained that the Guard’s appropriation request had been based on the assumption that its strength would increase from 208,000 at the time the request was submitted, to 225,000 by 30 June 1952, and to 362,000 by 30 June 1953.
It thinned the amount for the Air Guard along the same line of reasoning. The Committee went into considerable detail in explaining how the Air Guard had grown since 1946, its mobilization for the Korean emergency, the States’ contribution of approximately $134,000,000 in the years 1947-51, and the plans for reequipping and remanning 374 units, and providing operational support for 486 ANG units as of 30 June 1953.
It described the Air National Guard as “for all intents and purposes a small-sized air force performing all the essential purposes of a regular air force except that of major procurement of equipment and of conducting research and development.”
Read the full article at http://www.nationalguardmagazine.com/article/Newsbreaks/1054871/110141/article.html.