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Friday, December 15, 2006

NGAUS Notes: 12/15/2006

NGAUS TAGs Meet Guard Commission on Empowerment.
As the clock tics down on the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves' March 1 deadline to offer an opinion on the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006, three Guard leaders made the case for empowerment in front of the commission yesterday.

The act would, among other things, elevate the National Guard Bureau chief to a four-star position, give the chief a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ensure the deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command was a Guardsman.

"Logic suggests that the National Guard has a perspective that merits senior leadership participation in more than an ordinary way," said Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, NGAUS chairman and Indiana adjutant general. "The leadership of the Guard does not seek confrontation or espouse disloyalty. They want a professional, collegial relationship with their parent services and the Department of Defense."

Joining General Umbarger were Maj. Gen. Francis D. Vavala, Delaware adjutant general and vice president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, and Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Oregon adjutant general.

"In my view, that piece of legislation is what is needed to reform National Guard relationships and resourcing so that it can fully provide the American [people] with the quality of security they deserve," added General Rees in his prepared statement.

Commissioners then followed with more than two hours of questions.

"If the Congress agreed to authorize one [four-star Guard officer] would you rather have it as the chief of the Guard bureau or commander, U.S. Northern Command?" asked commissioner Stanton Thompson.

All three Guard representatives insisted the four-star level rank should be the chief if forced to choose between the two.

Many of the topics also flowed into homeland security requirements, funding and the Guard's position within a joint environment, particularly under Title 32, when the Guard is federally funded but under state control.

A question of such requirements became paramount in the discussion.

"If you can help us with any ideas to clearly define how that requirements process on an interagency basis could occur and how that funding could be requested and flow, I think it would much improve your position," said commissioner Patricia Lewis.

The lines of questioning followed a morning hearing with Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, Michael Wynn, Air Force secretary, and Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff.

In the hearing, the three outlined their opposition to the legislation.

While actually focusing on callup frequency for Guardsmen rather than empowerment legislation, General Schoomaker said the Global War on Terror must be fought with the active, Guard and Reserve components working together, and suggested that such empowerment legislation would hinder that.

"In my view, our nation should continue to grow the Army and fully use the reserve components as an integral part of the Total Force," General Schoomaker said in his prepared statement. "These proposals would introduce unnecessary complexity and confuse lines of authority, thereby detracting from the unit of effort that we strive to achieve."

He spent most of his testimony calling for a change in Pentagon policy that would make all Guardsmen and Reservists available for involuntary mobilization beyond the 24-month cumulative limit.

Complete testimony is available at NGAUS.

DIMHRS Pay System Will Answer Joint Challenges in Early 2008.
A new pay system in 2008 will integrate pay and personnel and make life easier for Army and Air Force service members, including the National Guard.

The Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS) will integrate the two services' pay and personnel systems into one Web-based system.

The active, Guard and reserve components of the Army and Air Force will all be included in the system, according to Maj. Gen. Carolos Pair, the general in charge of the system's deployment.

DIMHRS will be Web-based, accessible from anywhere with an access card, and will be a one-stop shop for service members with pay and personnel issues, General Pair said. Service members will be able to view their entire record, and even make certain changes themselves.

Army and Air Force commands also will have access to the system to resolve any issues the troops can't handle themselves he said. This will be especially helpful in today's joint environment, where troops from different services fight alongside each other.

"It's conceivable today that if you're an airman in an Army task force, you might have to get in a Humvee and travel 30 or 40 kilometers to find a personnel service unit to support you," General Pair said. "Under DIMHRS, that won't happen."

The Army will launch DIMHRS in March 2008, followed by the Air Force in the summer.

DIMHRS will include a requirement that service members can go to any military installation and get their pay or personnel issues resolved, General Pair said.

Legislative Dept. Seeks Air Programs Lobbyist.

The National Guard Association seeks an individual experienced in legislative affairs to be responsible for lobbying Air National Guard issues on Capitol Hill, while pursuing member resolutions of the NGAUS legislative agenda. Duties will include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, coalition development and administrative duties relevant to the Air Programs issue area.

Successful candidate will have 3 to 5 years legislative/political experience and strong knowledge of the defense community, a bachelor's degree, preferably in political science or government affairs.

Strong advocacy and communication skills are a must, and military experience is a plus.

Send cover letter and resume to:
National Guard Association of the United States
Legislative Director
One Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Applicants may also apply for the position via e-mail. Send resume to: Richard Green.

This Week in Guard History.
Dec. 14,1799: Mount Vernon, Va. - President George Washington dies at his home of pneumonia at the age of 67. Few realize, however, that Washington got his start in the Virginia militia.

Appointed as a major in 1754, he made a name for himself during the French and Indian War. He resigned his commission as colonel of the Virginia regiment in 1761 - the highest-ranking man in the 13 colonies.

As tensions grew with England, he sponsored the organization of the Fairfax County Minute(man) Company. In 1775, the Continental Congress appointed Washington to command the newly organized Army.

His success in the Revolution led to his two terms as president.

NGAUS History.
During the 1930s, NGAUS insisted upon more "slots" for Guardsmen in all levels of the Army schools, such as the Field Artillery School at Fort Still; Infantry, at Fort Benning; Command and General Staff; and the War College. The association constantly fought for additional service and training assignments.

As one officer enthusiastically argued, "Let's not fight them; let's join 'em."

Rapport between the professional and volunteer soldiers was generally good throughout this period, notwithstanding minor friction areas. When the Army said "no," there was usually a price tag explanation.

The Great Depression led to a reduced stream of tax dollars to all government agencies, and limited funds were available to the military. Thus, the association found itself in the role of a military lobbyist for funds not only for itself but for the regular Army. Chiefs of staff and War Department secretaries more than once appealed to NGAUS for help.
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Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department. Comments and questions should be directed to ngaus@ngaus.org. NGAUS members can sign up for electronic delivery of NGAUS Notes at NGAUS.
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