National Guard July 2012 : Page 16
NEWSBREAKS Study Suggests Big Changes to Guard, Reserve Compensation National Guardsmen and Reservists would receive less drill pay but be able to draw retirement earlier under a plan recommended by a Pentagon review of the combat pay system. The Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), which was released last month, says the reserve compensation system “was designed to support a strategic reserve by optimiz-ing compensation for training.” The report recommends “transi-tioning” the Guard and Reserve to a “Total Force pay structure under which a member receives full pay and allow-ances for each day of duty regardless of the type or purpose of duty.” Reserve-component personnel cur-rently receive two days of pay for ev-ery one full official day of inactive duty training and four days of pay for a full weekend drill; however, they receive one day of pay for other duty days, in-cluding periods of annual training. Guard and Reserve officers and noncommissioned officers have long maintained that the extra IDT pay helps cover personal time spent pre-paring for training and other military requirements. But the QRMC also suggests tran-sitioning the reserve components to a retirement system more closely aligned with the active-component system. The report calls for Guardsmen and Reservists to receive retired pay upon reaching their 30th anniversary of mil-itary service, after having completed 20 qualifying years of service. Also, the QRMC recommends changes to the way combat pay is de-termined. The report notes that offi-cers serving far from danger are better compensated in some ways than young enlisted troops facing possible combat on an hourly basis. The report suggests setting hostile ﬁre pay higher than imminent danger pay. Both are at $225 per month now, so an officer working in Greece, for example, gets the same amount as an infantryman in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Also, the report suggests creating several categories of imminent danger that would provide more money for those facing the most danger. The report, which would require approval from Congress to be imple-mented, also would replace the com-bat-zone tax exclusion with another type of tax credit. The current plan beneﬁts most those with highest sala-ries. Full recommendations, in greater detail, can be viewed on the Web at http://militarypay.defense.gov/RE-PORTS/QRMC. Carter directed the DoD comptrol-ler to reduce travel expenses for ﬁscal 2013 by 30 percent from DoD’s ﬁscal 2010 baseline, excluding national se-curity exemptions and without harm-ing agency missions. The deputy secretary also directs the undersecretary of defense for per-sonnel and readiness to work with DoD components and services to implement a conference policy that establishes standard, tiered approval levels for conference spending. Effective immediately, Carter is di-recting a review of upcoming confer-ences and temporarily suspending new conference obligations. The deputy secretary will person-ally review conferences that will cost more than $500,000. The depart-ment’s deputy chief management of-ﬁcer Elizabeth McGrath will review conferences whose costs exceed $100,000. The DoD will report back to OMB, the deputy secretary said, on proposed reductions in these areas within 90 days, and in some cases 180 days, of the May 11 memo. Carter said McGrath would coor-dinate DoD implementation of OMB’s executive-branch-wide policies and practices involving travel, conferences, real estate and ﬂeet management. “Increased scrutiny is being ap-plied to DoD spending,” McGrath said, “which makes it more important than ever that we continue to instill a culture of cost consciousness and ac-countability across the Defense enter-prise.” The department has always taken Pentagon Ofﬁcials Look to Cut Travel, Conference Spending In response to a May 11 call to ac-tion from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has directed Defense Department officials to reduce spending on travel, conferences and other agency operations. “DoD consistently strives to be an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars and has focused on these issues for a number of years,” Carter said in a June 3 memo. National Guard Casualties Three Army National Guard soldiers lost their lives from May 26 to June 20 supporting the war on terrorism, according to Defense Department casualty reporting. r 'JSTU-U�f;3ZBO%�f;3BXM�d;�d;-FYJOHUPO�d;4�f;$�f;c; 4HU�f;
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Study Suggests Big Changes to Guard, Reserve Compensation
National Guardsmen and Reservists would receive less drill pay but be able to draw retirement earlier under a plan recommended by a Pentagon review of the combat pay system.
The Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), which was released last month, says the reserve compensation system “was designed to support a strategic reserve by optimizing compensation for training.”
The report recommends “transitioning” the Guard and Reserve to a “Total Force pay structure under which a member receives full pay and allowances for each day of duty regardless of the type or purpose of duty.”
Reserve-component personnel currently receive two days of pay for every one full official day of inactive duty training and four days of pay for a full weekend drill; however, they receive one day of pay for other duty days, including periods of annual training.
Guard and Reserve officers and noncommissioned officers have long maintained that the extra IDT pay helps cover personal time spent preparing for training and other military requirements.
But the QRMC also suggests transitioning the reserve components to a retirement system more closely aligned with the active-component system.
The report calls for Guardsmen and Reservists to receive retired pay upon reaching their 30th anniversary of military service, after having completed 20 qualifying years of service.
Also, the QRMC recommends changes to the way combat pay is determined. The report notes that officers serving far from danger are better compensated in some ways than young enlisted troops facing possible combat on an hourly basis.
The report suggests setting hostile fire pay higher than imminent danger pay. Both are at $225 per month now, so an officer working in Greece, for example, gets the same amount as an infantryman in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Also, the report suggests creating several categories of imminent danger that would provide more money for those facing the most danger.
The report, which would require approval from Congress to be implemented, also would replace the combat- zone tax exclusion with another type of tax credit. The current plan benefits most those with highest salaries.
Full recommendations, in greater detail, can be viewed on the Web at http://militarypay.defense.gov/REPORTS/ QRMC.
Pentagon Officials Look to Cut Travel, Conference Spending
In response to a May 11 call to action from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has directed Defense Department officials to reduce spending on travel, conferences and other agency operations.
“DoD consistently strives to be an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars and has focused on these issues for a number of years,” Carter said in a June 3 memo.
Carter directed the DoD comptroller to reduce travel expenses for fiscal 2013 by 30 percent from DoD’s fiscal 2010 baseline, excluding national security exemptions and without harming agency missions.
The deputy secretary also directs the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness to work with DoD components and services to implement a conference policy that establishes standard, tiered approval levels for conference spending.
Effective immediately, Carter is directing a review of upcoming conferences and temporarily suspending new conference obligations.
The deputy secretary will personally review conferences that will cost more than $500,000. The department’s deputy chief management officer Elizabeth McGrath will review conferences whose costs exceed $100,000.
The DoD will report back to OMB, the deputy secretary said, on proposed reductions in these areas within 90 days, and in some cases 180 days, of the May 11 memo.
Carter said McGrath would coordinate DoD implementation of OMB’s executive-branch-wide policies and practices involving travel, conferences, real estate and fleet management.
“Increased scrutiny is being applied to DoD spending,” McGrath said, “which makes it more important than ever that we continue to instill a culture of cost consciousness and accountability across the Defense enterprise.”
The department has always taken its duty to be an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars very seriously, she added.
The new directives will impact official support of and involvement in military association conferences, including the 134th NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition, Sept. 9 to 12 in Reno, Nev.
Panetta: No Aircraft Transfers Until 2013 Budget is Finalized
The Defense Department will not move any more Air National Guard aircraft until the budget for fiscal 2013 has been finalized.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta made that promise in a June 22 letter to Senate leadership.
A planned transfer of F-15 Eagle fighters from the Montana Air Guard, which was announced in 2010, prompted Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer to recently file a lawsuit against the Defense Department claiming it was stepping into a governor’s role.
Panetta’s action would keep the F- 15s in Montana, at least temporarily.
In all, about 150 aircraft transfers and nearly 100 retirements were in the plans for fiscal 2012 and 2013. Panetta’s letter asks Congress to take quick action regarding defense appropriations.
“These delays impact our military capability and introduce uncertainly in future missions and training schedules for the affected units; and they will also delay the department’s ability to reach the level of budget reductions mandated in the 2011 Budget Control Act,” Panetta wrote.
Panetta’s action came after both House and Senate took action to block an Air Force proposal in the fiscal 2013 budget request to transfer or retire nearly 200 aircraft from the Air Guard over the next five years.
The House voted to stop the movement of Air Guard aircraft in fiscal 2013, while the Senate opted to prohibit transfers in 2013 and the rest of 2012.
Suicide Continues in Military; Panetta Challenges Leadership
Despite having the full attention of the military for the past few years, suicide in the ranks continues.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, in an internal memo written in May, called suicide one of the most complex and urgent problems facing the department.
In a briefing with reporters last month, Navy Capt. John Kirby confirmed the accuracy of numbers in news reports indicating that military suicides have risen 18 percent, from 130 in the period from Jan. 1 to June 3, 2011, to 154 in the same period this year.
“We’ve said for many years now how deeply concerned we are about the tragedy of suicides in the military and we recognize that the numbers are going up,” Kirby said.
“If you just compare this year’s numbers…compared to 10 years ago, they’ve doubled,” he added, “and each one is a tragedy.”
Referring to Panetta’s May 10 memo on suicide prevention for Defense Department personnel, Kirby said the secretary makes clear that suicide prevention is, first and foremost, a leadership responsibility.
“To that end,” Panetta wrote, “leaders throughout the chain of command must actively promote a constructive command climate that fosters cohesion and encourages individuals to reach out for help when needed.”
In the memo, he notes that the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness established a Defense Suicide Prevention Office to serve as the focal point for suicide prevention policy, training and programs.
The suicide prevention office, Panetta wrote, will collaborate with military departments to implement the recommendations of the DoD Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide and serve as the DoD lead with the Department of Veterans Affairs and nongovernment organizations on suicide prevention.
“We understand there is a stigma to mental health issues that regrettably persists,” Kirby said.
“The secretary wants to make it very clear to everybody in uniform and their families that there’s nothing stronger you can do for yourself and your family than to come forward and seek some help and seek the counseling that you need,” he added. “And you’ll get it from the department.”
Report: F-35 Fighter Price Tag Soaring Beyond First Estimate
Costs are skyrocketing for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the stealth plane that the Pentagon has committed to buying for generations to modernize U.S. air attack fleets, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
Total acquisition costs are now projected to be $395.7 billion, up by 42 percent from the prior estimate in 2007. The cost per plane has doubled from when development began in 2001, the GAO noted.
The U.S. has committed to buy 2,457 of the aircraft through 2037 to modernize the fleets of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Eight U.S. allies also are committed to the F-35.
The Obama administration’s decision to delay some purchases will make the aircraft more expensive in the long run, GAO officials said in a report released last month. There are delays in developing and integrating software, and development of critical combat mission systems is behind schedule. Aircraft deliveries are on average more than a year late, the auditors found.
The program’s challenges are creating doubts about whether it can meet critical dates for delivery.
“Affordability is a key challenge— annual acquisition funding needs average about $12.5 billion through 2037 and life-cycle operating and support costs are estimated at $1.1 trillion,” the report said.
The government’s share of the F-35 program’s increased cost is $672 million, adding about $11 million to the cost of each of the 63 planes to be delivered under initial contracts, according to the report.
Guardsmen From Five States Help Battle Western Wildfires
National Guardsmen from five states worked alongside civilian first responders to battle wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico.
In New Mexico, 218 New Mexico Guardsmen were on duty on June 13, according to National Guard Bureau officials.
The New Mexico Guard had deployed three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, two equipped with Bambi buckets and one on standby for medical evacuations.
Guardsmen there were also performing roving walking patrols, setting up traffic control points, and handing out information to residents who could be affected by the wildfire, officials said.
In Colorado, Guardsmen battled the High Peak wildfire near Fort Collins, said officials.
There were approximately 90 Colorado National Guard soldiers and airmen providing support and performing missions such as communication support, refueling and security.
In addition, the Colorado National Guard has deployed UH-60s equipped with Bambi buckets, said officials, who said the fire had destroyed approximately 46,600 acres as of June 13.
The Kansas National Guard, Nebraska National Guard and Wyoming National Guard also were assisting with wildfire suppression in Colorado, each sending one UH-60 equipped with a Bambi bucket and support crew.
Leaders: Diversity Vital to Successful National Guard
Diversity is essential to the National Guard’s success, senior leaders said to about 500 people attending the 2012 National Guard Diversity Conference in late May in Reno, Nev.
“Diversity defines America, and the National Guard is America,” Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., the director of the Army National Guard, said in remarks read by Maj. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, the deputy director of the Army National Guard.
“Encouraging diversity in our ranks is not something we just dreamed up a few years ago,” Ingram said,
“The National Guard has been and always will be a fundamental part of our communities where we live work and play, and we reflect the faces of those communities in our ranks.”
Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, described two key characteristics of the National Guard to the conference hosted by the Nevada National Guard:
“No. 1, we all possess individuality,” McKinley said.“We encourage it, we think that’s what’s important, we don’t want to destroy it.
“We also believe that out of many become one. So the individual— all of us—create the desire and passion that molds and shapes us into one large, powerful and effective organization. Out of many, one voice.”
During his tenure as chief, McKinley has reinvigorated the National Guard’s diversity program.
“We are well on our way to implementing all the tools,” McKinley said. “We need to create more passion in our hearts for this program. We’ve got the science. We’ve got the way ahead in terms of numeric achievements, goals. We’ve got metrics. We’ve got handbooks. This has got to be a program, a project, a mission, a journey that’s embedded deeply inside our hearts.”
Canada Recognizes Retired Guard General
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, the former acting director of the Army National Guard, received the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal from the governor general of Canada during a ceremony in Ottawa, Ont., June 22.
The Canadian MSM recognizes a military deed or activity performed in a highly professional manner, according to a very high standard that brings benefit or honor to the Canadian Forces.
Carpenter, who now resides in Rapid City, S.D., was recognized for his instrumental efforts in enhancing the Army Guard’s relationship with the Canadian army reserve during his 29 months spent as the acting director.
According to the award citation, Carpenter’s influence further enhanced the unique relationship between Canada and the United States, delivering considerable benefits to the Canadian Forces.
As the acting director, Carpenter was responsible for the execution of a budget of about $40 billion, the procurement of more than 300,000 equipment items, and oversaw the deployment of 80,000 soldiers.
Employer Support Group Marks 40th Anniversary
Officials at the Pentagon celebrated last month the 40th anniversary of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an agency considered to be the linchpin of the nation’s sustainment of an all-volunteer military.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Jessica L. Wright and James Rebholz, ESGR national chair, spoke during a June 22 ceremony of the continuing importance of nurturing the partnership between employers and citizen-warriors through ESGR and its legion of volunteers.
“This organization is made up of a very small cadre of full-time people and they work very, very hard,” Wright said. “[But] we wouldn’t be an organization that is so robust, so wellknown, that works so well for our men and women without the long, hard work of our very large cadre of volunteers.”
ESGR was established in 1972. Its mission and strategy is to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve component members and their civilian employers to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.
AF Personnel Website Changed to ‘myPers’
The Air Force Personnel Services website has been renamed “myPers” and has a new address.
Airmen can access myPers via a secure link, https://mypers.af.mil, to use existing personnel services information and transaction applications.
The site is customized, recognizing the user’s affiliation as officer, enlisted, civilian, Reserve or Guard. There are also links to the most commonly used applications that allow airmen to navigate the site with greater ease, enhancing the user’s experience.
The new name and URL will establish a unified Total Force brand for online personnel services, officials said.
The myPers website is available now. All transactions are conducted within a secure environment, officials said, who remind airmen to use the “https” prefix when entering the URL.
Seven Guard Officers Get MacArthur Awards
Seven Army National Guard officers were among the 27 recipients of the 2011 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award during a recent ceremony at the Pentagon.
The award recognizes company-grade commissioned officers and warrant officers in the three Army components who demonstrate to their superiors the ideals of duty, honor and country.
Before presenting each of this year’s recipients Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the Army chief of staff, noted the role in which each officer served in as a leader came with its own set of unique challenges.
“Company-grade leadership is about leading our nation’s sons and daughters at the tip of the tactical spear… and as company-grade [leaders] you have the most impact on our young soldiers,” he said.
The seven Guard soldiers recognized were:
> Capt. Audrey L. Fielding, Ohio;
> Capt. Nils D. Henderson, Wisconsin;
> Capt. Anthony J. Ortega, Massachusetts;
> Capt. Benjamin L. Ruffner, Florida;
> Chief Warrant Officer 2 Timmothy A. Smario, North Carolina;
> Capt Andrew W. Vidourek, Oregon; and
> Capt. Charles W. Wimp Jr., Indiana.
Ruffner is a member of the NGAUS Committee on Company Grade Issues.
—Compiled from staff and Pentagon reports
Texan Nominated to be NGB’s First 3-star Vice Chief
President Barack Obama has nominated the senior U.S. defense official in Egypt as vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced last month.
If confirmed, Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel would be the first three-star occupant of the position.
Lengyel also was nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, the Defense Department announced.
The nomination has been sent to the Senate for confirmation.
Lengyel has served more than 30 years in uniform. His career includes extensive service with the Texas Air National Guard and assignments at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington, Md.
He most recently served as the senior U. S. defense official; chief of the Office of Military Cooperation; and defense attaché for U.S. Central Command in Cairo.
In Cairo, Lengyel has been the principal military official at the American Embassy and the Defense Department’s representative to the embassy country team and host nation.
Before his service in Egypt, Lengyel’s assignments included three years at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, which he commanded from 2006 to 2009 and where he served as the Air Guard’s deputy director in 2008 and 2009.
From 1991 to 2004, Lengyel held a number of command assignments with the Texas Air Guard.
Those tours were just one part of a career that started with his ROTC commission in 1981 from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas.
He was an F-16 Fighting Falcon instructor pilot and weapons officer, and his F-16 experience included tours in Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Air Forces in Europe as well as the Texas Guard.
He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours, most in the F-16.
Lengyel has commanded a fighter squadron, operations group and air expeditionary group.
The position of NGB vice chief was re-established at the three-star level in the fiscal 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
—Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill
“Do the math. There is nothing we can do to catch up.”
—Ronald Robinson, Veterans Benefits Administration employee, “Workers Point Finger At Their Own Agency Amid A Backlog In Veterans’ Benefits,” New York Times, June 16
“Our reserve-component soldiers remain the bedrock of the Army’s domestic response capability, but where appropriate we will also dedicate activeduty forces, especially those with niche skills and equipment, to provide civilian officials with a robust set of reliable and rapid response options.”
—Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, “The U.S. Army in a Time of Transition,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012
“I got a phone call at four in the morning from my husband and he said I need you to be strong for me honey. I said ok what’s going on? And he said we are not coming home for leave and I about fell to the floor.”
—Jennifer Dangerfield, wife of deployed South Carolina Guardsman, “Local National Guard caught off guard over leave time,” WCBD-TV, Charleston, S.C., June 18
STUMPED, SORT OF
“I don’t have any ready answers to why we are experiencing a serious problem that apparently didn’t surface during the supposedly extensive testing the Air Force did.”
—Thomas Christie, former top Pentagon weapons tester, “F-22’s Balky Vests Add Clue In Mystery Of Ailing Pilots,” Bloomberg News, June 14
NOT SO FAST
“Taking most of them out of the force structure is one thing, but let’s not discard the vehicles, fire the mechanics or forget the lessons of how to employ them.”
—Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst at Brookings Institution, “MRAP Trucks Near The End Of The Road In Military Strategy,” USA Today, June 16
DAYS GONE BY
“Over the last 10 years of relatively unconstrained resources, we’ve had a thousand flowers blooming out there.”
—Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman “Dempsey maps sequestration cuts at Defense,” www.govexec.com, June 19
Below is an excerpt as it appeared in the July 1987 issue of NATIONAL GUARD. It’s part of a monthly series of relevant articles from the publication’s more than 65 years of archives.
Speaker Enrolls Montgomery GI Bill on Capitol Hill
For the first time since Jim Wright, Jr. (D-Texas) became speaker of the House, the House of Representatives had a formal bill-signing ceremony, known as an enrollment of the bill.
The Montgomery GI Bill, HR 1085, was used to set this precedent. The enrollment was the final House action before it was sent to the White House June 1 where President Ronald Reagan signed it into law.
“We are here today not only to honor all those who have worked for passage of HR 1085, the Montgomery GI Bill, but in a much larger sense to honor those legions of citizens who have defended this nation for more than 200 years and Americans who continue to provide that defense today in every corner of this earth,” Wright said at the bill enrollment before members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.
“The legislation institutionalizes the educational assistance programs available to the men and women of our armed forces as a permanent part of the fabric of our society,” Wright said.
In addition to hailing the success the House had in passing the Montgomery GI Bill, Wright also honored the man who was the premier sponsor of the legislation.
“I want to pay special tribute to the gentleman whose name will forevermore be identified with education for our GI sons and daughters—Congressman G.V. ‘Sonny’ Montgomery of Mississippi, the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.”
It was then that the founder of the Montgomery GI Bill spoke to those in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol.
“Mr. Speaker, you and many others in this room are responsible for making these educational benefits permanent legislation. Young men and women who obligate themselves to serve our country can now be assured that these education benefits will be there and will not be cancelled.”
The Montgomery GI Bill, which up until this signing had been known as the New GI BiIl, was a three-year test benefit that came up for permanent legislation this year.
Did You Know?
Nearly 20,000 Air National Guardsmen deployed to more than 60 countries and every continent last year.
National Guard Casualties
Three Army National Guard soldiers lost their lives from May 26 to June 20 supporting the war on terrorism, according to Defense Department casualty reporting.
. First Lt. Ryan D. Rawl, 30, Lexington, S.C.; Sgt. 1st Class Matthew B. Thomas, 30, Travelers Rest, S.C.; and Spc. John D. Meador II, 36, Columbia, S.C., died June 20, In Khowst province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with small-arms fire and an Improvised explosive device.
All three were members of the South Carolina Army National Guard's 133rd Military Police Company, 51st Military Police Battalion, from Florence, S.C.
Read the full article at http://www.nationalguardmagazine.com/article/Newsbreaks/1113017/118311/article.html.