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Friday, January 19, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 1/19/2007

What’s Happening In Congress?
New VA Chairman and a Whole New Staff

Following former Congressman Lane Evan’s withdrawal from duties and retirement due to health reasons, Congressman Bob Filner of California has taken the realm as the new Chairman of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

In taking this new position, Chairman Filner has also replaced three of the committee’s most senior Democratic staffers. Filner dismissed the full committee’s staff director, the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee staff director, and the Health Subcommittee staff director. The incoming full committee staff director is retired Army Lt. Col. Malcolm Shorter. Shorter has experience as an Army Liaison on Capitol Hill and as a legislative assistant to Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts. Shorter will begin his duties as the committee’s staff director on Monday, Jan. 22.

The VA Committee also has not yet formally organized or established the chairmen or members for the subcommittees. The Republican staff under ranking member Congressman Steve Buyer is not expected to change. The stability and continuity on the senior level of the Republican side could give Buyer an edge over Filner for the next two years of the 110th Congress.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?
CACO Conference Reminder

The 10th Annual Congressional Action Contact Officer (CACO) Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 5 and 6. To register for this event we ask that you fill out the registration form that is located on our website and return it to emily.breitbach@ngaus.org or fax it to (202) 682 - 9358. To make hotel reservations contact the Phoenix Park Hotel at 1-800-824-5419 and mention group code 9641. The cut-off date for hotel reservations at the discounted rate is Feb. 2, 2007.

Congressman Rogers Receives Award.
On Wednesday Major General Donald Storm, the Adjutant General of Kentucky and Brig. Gen.(ret) Stephen Koper, President of NGUAS, presented the Charles Dick Medal of Merit to Congressman Harold Rogers (KY). The Charles Dick Medal of Merit is awarded to an individual who has distinguished themselves over an extended period of time in their support of the National Guard through service in a state or national elected legislative body. The support from this individual must be such that it has a lasting effect on the future of the National Guard. Also at this event were Congressman Geoff Davis and Congressman John Yarmuth, both representatives from Kentucky. After the award presentation the Kentucky National Guard presented a legislative briefing to their representatives in attendance and to the staffers of those not present. The briefing covered Army and Air equipment needs and also one important issue to both, reduced retirement age.

Kansas Stops By.
A group of Kansas National Guard members made an informal visit to the NGAUS Memorial Building after visiting with their state congressional delegation this week. Lt. Col. Tony Dejesus, Area IV representative on the NGAUS Committee on Membership, and some fellow Kansas Guardsmen spent time touring the NGEF Museum and the NGAUS Memorial Building.

For three of the Guardsmen it was their very first time at our building. The Kansas Guardsmen were very impressed with the building and the dedicated full time staff who work their issues for lobby for benefits in our nation’s capitol. The Kansas Guardsmen pledged to go back to their state and share their experience to encourage fellow Guardsmen to become members of NGAUS.

Keeping You Up to Date on Your Benefits.

Effective Feb. 1, 2007, the TRICARE Dental Program premiums will increase. The increased rates are as listed:

Active Duty

Single Premium $11.05
Family Premium $27.63

Selected Reserve

Sponsor Only $11.05
Single Premium $27.63
Family Premium $69.07
Sponsor-Family Premium $80.12

IRR

Sponsor Only $27.63
Single Premium $27.63
Family Premium $69.07
Sponsor-Family Premium $96.70

What Can You Do?
This is Your Building

The NGAUS staff would like to remind all of our members that this is your building. If ever you would like to hold a reception in the Hall of States or use the Montgomery room to go over legislative issues, you are welcome to give us a call and we will be happy to assist you in planning the event. The NGAUS Memorial building is located at One Massachusetts Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. This makes it a very convenient location both because of its close proximity to Union Station and the United States Capitol. Union Station is located only one block from our front door and the Capitol is approximately a 10 minute walk away. We encourage you to use the NGAUS building to receive legislative briefings prior to visiting your Congressional Delegation or to invite your delegation over for a meeting, breakfast, or even a reception.

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:
Brig Gen (ret) Richard M.
Green, Director
Col (ret) Pete Duffy, Deputy Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Emily Breitbach, Legislative Analyst

For more information on NGAUS, check out our website: NGAUS.

'Train the Trainer’ Membership Workshop Set for March

State and territory association leaderswill discover the latest membership recruiting and retention practices when NGAUS hosts a special “train the trainer” workshop March 11 and 12 at The National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Workshop participants will hear what helps many states consistently achieve 100 percent NGAUS membership within their ranks.

They will also review the association Web site, learn how to clarify the benefits and value of joining NGAUS and discuss a variety of membership committee initiatives.

Every state and territory is invited to send a participant.

Ideal participants, according to Lt. Col. Tracy L. Settle of South Dakota, the new NGAUS membership committee chairman, include state and territory association presidents, executive directors or membership chairs.

The workshop’s intent, he said, will be to provide attendees with all the tools necessary to go home and train their unit membership points of contact.

The association board of directors approved the workshop at its November meeting.

NGAUS will cover hotel and meal costs for participants.

Additional workshop information will be provided in NGAUS NOTES, on the Web site and directly to each state and territory association.

The workshop will likely generate conversation next week when state Guard association officials gather in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the annual National Guard Executive Directors Association (NGEDA) meeting.

NGEDA meets every January in the NGAUS general conference host city to share information and begin planning for the larger event, this year set for Aug. 25 to 27. The exhibition will open Aug. 24.

Guard Continues its Torrid Recruiting Pace.
The Army National Guard signed up more people than the active-component Army, Marines and Air Force combined in December, according to Defense Department figures released Jan. 11.

The Army Guard’s 5,035 December accessions—119 percent of its goal—coupled with high retention rates enabled the organization to post its sixth consecutive quarter of personnel end-strength growth.

The 347,129 Army Guard soldier total is almost 14,000 more than it had 15 months ago. The Army Guard’s authorized end strength is 350,000.

The active-component Army also exceeded its December recruiting goals. Its 861 accessions were more than 123 percent of its goal of 700 new soldiers. The Air Force enlisted 2,330 new airmen while the Marines had 1,761 accessions in December.

Air Guard recruiting also remains strong. The Air Guard signed up 827 people in December, the eighth straight month it has exceeded its monthly recruiting goal.

National Guard Bureau officials attribute the Guard’s recruiting success to a continuing high propensity to serve among young people, more robust recruiting efforts and the new Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP).

G-RAP, which is designed to stimulate Guardsmen to talk up their service among peers, pays participants $2,000 dollars for every person they help enlist.

More than 100,000 Guard soldiers and airmen have signed up online to be recruiting assistants.

NGB officials said G-RAP produced 39,902 potential Army Guard soldiers in fiscal 2006, the first year of the program.

They said increased bonuses also have stimulated both recruiting and retention.

NGB: State Guard Leaders Support Mobilization Policy Changes.
Governors and Guard leaders nationwide have “reacted enthusiastically” to changes in Defense Department policy that will limit mobilizations to 12 months total, according to Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief.

In a Jan. 11 conference call with representatives of the 54 states and territories, General Blum answered questions about the policy changes Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced earlier that day.

He said those on the line “universally accepted and sincerely appreciated” the changes.

Among the changes, which primarily affect Army Guard and Reserve units, are that mobilizations will now be managed on a unit, not individual, basis.

The goal, the defense secretary said, is for a unit to have five years at home after every one-year mobilization. He acknowledged, however, that some Guard and Reserve units would remobilize sooner.

But those personnel required to remobilize sooner or stay longer will be compensated, Mr. Gates said, as part of a new program not yet announced.

Guard leaders have called for policy changes of this type for the last few years, General Blum said.

Reducing mobilization time will also impact how Guard units train for combat.

Unit commanders and their adjutants general will now be the certifying officers for individual through squad-level readiness in all areas: medical, personnel, equipment and training.

This should provide a stimulus for the Defense Department to better re-equip Guard units after they return from overseas, General Blum added.

Communications Department Seeks Seasoned Writer.
The National Guard Association has an immediate opening for an experienced staff writer. Selected candidate will contribute to NATIONAL GUARD, the association’s monthly magazine, NGAUS NOTES and the NGAUS Web site.

Duties include writing short news stories and covering a variety of hearings on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

For the magazine, the successful candidate will contribute at least one substantial feature story each month and assist in editing and producing the final product. Some travel is required.

Candidates must have five years of reporting experience. Familiarity with the military and the National Guard is preferred.

Interest in writing about military/legislative topics a must. Car required. Salary: low- to mid-40s. Excellent benefits include health and dental coverage and a 401k plan. Convenient Capitol Hill location.

Please send cover letter, resume and three writing samples to:

Communications Department
National Guard Association
One Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C., 20001.
Fax: 202-682-9358.
E-mail: Chris Prawdzik.

Please enter “Application” in the subject line if sending e-mail.

NGAUS HISTORY.
In early 1911, the NGAUS magazine sponsored the National Indoor Rifle Team match. It included 24 teams from across the United States participating at their local ranges, who mailed their marks to the magazine, which compiled the results.

Total scores were tallied from five stages: 500 yards, 600 yards, 1,000 yards, rapid fire and skirmish.

Company A, 2nd Battalion from Staunton, Va. finished first with a score of 3,271. Although the Virginia Guardsmen did not win any early stages, their skirmish score was 66 points from perfection as they edged Company K, 2nd Battalion from St. Peter, Minn., by 57 points in the final competition. The University of Iowa finished third.

The targets were all carefully scrutinized by the executive officer. Provisions were made the following year for scores to be sent via telegraph so that weekly reports could be tabulated before the start of the next stage.

This Week in Guard History.
Jan. 21, 1903: Congress enacts the Militia Act sponsored by Rep. Charles Dick, an Ohio National Guard major general and NGAUS president.

The law, which repealed the Militia Act of 1792, made the Guard part of the federal reserve, giving birth to today’s Guard.

The Guard would now receive more federal funding. And its members now had to meet stricter training requirements. In addition, Guard officers would have to be federally recognized as meeting certain physical, professional and moral standards.

All ranks now received pay for a fiveday summer encampment. Later, there would be compensation for all training and funds for armory construction.

The law eventually became known as the Dick Act of 1903. The award NGAUS bestows on elected officials bears the name Charles Dick.

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