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Friday, October 06, 2006

NGAUS Notes: Oct. 6, 2006

Guard, Reserve Get Top Marks from NATO Commander

Marine Gen. James L. Jones, commander of the European Command (EUCOM) and NATO supreme Allied commander for Europe, told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves yesterday that the Guard and Reserves fill critical roles in the EUCOM's headquarters and in operations around the world.

"Reserve-component forces are ever-present across EUCOM's 92-country area of responsibilities," he said at the Capitol Hill hearing. "The many skill sets and capabilities resident in the Guard and Reserves are of significant importance to the success of our theater security cooperation programs."

Every day, about 4,500 Guard and Reserve troops serve in EUCOM's region, performing missions such as command and control, airlift, airborne tankers, engineering, force protection, special operations and intelligence. In addition, members of the reserve components make up more than 10 percent of the uniformed personnel of the EUCOM headquarters, he said.

EUCOM is a major hub for troops and equipment deploying forward to U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility, General Jones said. Guard and Reserve members are managing logistics requirements, flying airlift missions and operating on airfields to keep the flow of personnel and materials moving forward, he said.

General Jones particularly noted the tremendous analytical skills reservists bring to theater intelligence. More than 560 Reserve and Guard members support EUCOM's joint intelligence operations center, intelligence mission operations center and the joint analysis center.

Reserve-component members at the joint analysis center produce more than 30 percent of the intelligence products in support of operations throughout the command, he said.

Fuel Prices Prompt Efficiency Exploration at DoD

John J. Young Jr., director of defense research and engineering, said Wednesday that the Defense Department is exploring ways to make weapons systems and facilities more fuel efficient and less vulnerable to market fluctuations.

DoD is the United States' biggest energy consumer, using more than 300 million barrels of oil every day. At those levels, a $10-a-barrel price hike puts a $1.3 billion dent in the defense budget and the funds appropriated to support the fighting force.

"When oil goes up $10 a barrel, there's a billion dollars in things we don't get to do [for] the war fighter," Mr. Young said.

But heavy dependence on oil has other repercussions for the military, too, he said. The United States imports 58 percent of its oil, so there's no solid guarantee that it will always have access to the energy it needs.

A major goal in DoD's energy program "is making sure we have multiple options in a changing marketplace for assured access to the energy that is required for the military to provide the nations security," he said.

For deployed troops, oil dependence boils down to a basic vulnerability, Mr. Young said. The more fuel they need, the more convoys they need to put on the road to deliver it, and the more frequently they expose themselves to improvised explosive devices and other threats.

About three-quarters of DoD's oil consumption goes toward keeping the military on the move: its aircraft conducting sorties, ships patrolling the seas and its wheeled and tracked vehicles patrolling Afghanistan and Iraq.

Military Personnel Can Become Rich through Proper lanning

Speaking and gesturing like a fired-up preacher selling salvation, Kelvin Boston is known for telling television audiences how they can realize their dreams of financial stability - or even become rich

"Everyone can become a millionaire," said the host of PBS' Moneywise program to 200 military and family members attending a Sept. 30 Defense Department-sponsored financial management seminar at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The catch, he said, is that most people don't practice the necessary fiscal discipline and planning to achieve millionaire status.

People in bill-paying and credit trouble should seek out a financial counselor immediately to help them rectify their financial situation, he said.

Military members are fortunate, he noted, in that they can get such financial advice free of charge from trained counselors on their bases.

Most people make more than enough money over their lifetimes to realize financial stability if they manage their money properly, he said.

Accumulating unnecessary debt, with accompanying large interest payments, is the biggest threat to that, however.

Mr. Boston advised the audience to formulate a credit card debt elimination plan as quickly as possible.

He also encouraged putting money back each payday - it accumulates over time.

"The real issue is who is setting the economic policies in your house," Mr. Boston said, and "finding the courage" to employ budgeting and other money management tools to become financially stable, or even, "the millionaire next door."

Congressman to Receive Truman Award Oct. 10

NGAUS will present Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, the 2006 Harry S. Truman Award at a luncheon and reception hosted by the association and the Missouri National Guard Association at The National Guard Memorial Tuesday (Oct. 10).

The Truman Award, authorized by the NGAUS board of directors in 1968, is the highest recognition conferred upon an individual by the association. Recipients have made sustained contributions of exceptional and far-reaching magnitude to the defense and security of the United States in a manner worthy of recognition at the national level.

Although a single deed or action may be considered as qualification for this award if it is sufficient magnitude and significance, weight should be given to sustained contributions to the Guard and national defense

NGAUS elected officials, board of director members, state associations and adjutants general may submit written nominations for the award each year to the NGAUS president. The nomination letter should contain clear and detailed statement of the nature and magnitude of the nominated individual's contributions to an improved defense posture.

NGAUS History

With the help of NGAUS, the National Defense Act of 1933 made the National Guard an Army component at all times, not just during war.

The act established that each member belonged simultaneously to his state Guard and the federal reserve force.

NGAUS worked long and hard to maintain the strength and readiness of the Guard in its dual role, but the United States withdrew into isolationism, and funding was cut as the nation slipped into the Great Depression. However, the looming onset of war in Europe would lead to the rebuilding of the nation's military.

This Week in Guard History

Oct. 6, 1918: After several days of intense fighting along a 20-mile front in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France, Allied attacks stopped to consolidate gains, rest troops and allow replacements to catch up. Phase Two, which included eight Guard divisions, began Oct. 5.

When a battalion from the non-Guard 77th Division became lost in a wooded area ahead of the American lines, several observation aircraft were sent to locate and rescue it. In the plane that found the "Lost Battalion" was 1st Lt. Erwin Bleckley, a Kansas Guardsman who volunteered for aviation duty as a rear observer and gunner. After reporting the unit's location, Lieutenant Bleckley's aircraft made two low-level supply drops to get food and medical supplies to the beleaguered troops. During its second pass his aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed killing the lieutenant and his pilot.

For showing the "highest possible contempt of personal danger, devotion to duty, courage and valor" Lieutenant Bleckley received the Medal of Honor, the first Guard aviator so honored.
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