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Friday, February 16, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 2/16/2007

Army and Air Guard Recruiting Surpass 100 Percent.
The Army National Guard and Air Guard both achieved more than 100 percent of their recruiting goals in January, along with the Marine Corps Reserve and Air Force Reserve, according to the Defense Department.

Army Reserve and Navy Reserve numbers lagged, achieving 99 percent and 93 percent, respectively.

In addition, Army Guard retention was 120 percent of the cumulative goal of 10,289, and Air Guard retention was 97 percent of its cumulative goal of 3,289.

Both the Army and Air Guard are at 99 percent of their target end strength.

Army Guard end strength for 2007 is 350,000, but the president’s 2008 budget request submitted to Congress Feb. 2 recommends increasing fiscal year 2008 Army Guard end strength to 351,300. Increases through fiscal year 2013 will bring the total to 358,200.

The president’s Air Guard budget recommends going from a 107,000 end strength in fiscal 2007 to 106,700 in fiscal year 2008 as well as in fiscal 2009.

Among a variety of recruiting initiatives the Guard has undertaken in recent years, the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) has remained a strong catalyst for building those troop levels.

The Army Guard began G-RAP late 2005, and the Air Guard adopted the program last April.

G-RAP basically turns Guardsmen into recruiters, paying them up to $2,000 for each recruit they bring to the service who enlists and reports to basic training.

Interested Guardsmen can call (866) 566-2472 or visit the G-RAP Web site at Guard Recruiting Assistant.

Summit Stresses Military Family Needs.
Col. Anthony E. Bake r, chief of family programs for the National Guard Bureau, said yesterday that family members really don’t care where they get their needs met, so long as there are met.

His remarks came at the 2007 Family Readiness Summit, which included about 100 top military family program leaders in Washington.

The group gathered to brainstorm ways to break down interservice bureaucratic barriers that sometimes prevent military family members from getting the help they need.

“All they care about is convenience,” Colonel Baker said. “They don’t care who delivers it, as long as it’s delivered. That’s what we’re trying to do, is figure out how we can deliver the services to them in such a way that it is not inconvenient to them.”

Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, said that their service branch shouldn’t matter if a military family member needs help, and added that studies have shown that the services need to improve their systems for meeting family members’ needs.

James L. Scott, director of individual and family policy for Mr. Hall said the summit’s goal is to figure out how to best provide services and support to all military families.

Officials put particular emphasis on those who are geographically separated from an installation.

“They are entitled to these services, but it is hard for them to access them,”Mr. Scott said. “Does that make those military members ... less deserving of services and support? No. Perhaps it makes them more deserving.”

DoD Program Teaches Military Personnel About Money Management.
"Military Saves," a new Defense Department program that encourages better money management, is targeting credit card debt and emphasizing savings accounts as routes to financial stability.

Initiated by David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness last year, the DoD-wide program sponsors money management seminars titled, “Moneywise in the Military,” held at military installations across the country.

“We want financial planning and financial strategies to become a part of everyday life” for service members and their families, said Leslye A. Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, yesterday.

Each seminar features the insights of money management expert Kelvin Boston, host of the PBS television series, Moneywise, as well as other sessions that discuss the proper use of credit, savings and investment strategies, home ownership and other topics.

The first seminar, held in September at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, attracted more than 200 service members and military spouses.

The second seminar was held Jan. 31 at Fort Dix, N.J., and it drew more than 400 service members and military spouses.

When service members are distracted by financial problems, it negatively affects military readiness, Ms. Arsht said. The state of a service member’s personal finances also affects security clearances.

Ms. Arsht encourages military personnel and their families to visit their Web site at Military Saves to access financial management information and register for a money management plan.

"Train the Trainer" Workshop Set for March 11 and 12.
State and territory association leaders will discover the latest recruiting and retention practices when NGAUS hosts a special “train the trainer”membership workshop, March 11 and 12 at The National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Workshop participants will hear what is helping many states consistently achieve 100 percent NGAUS membership.

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

Every state and territory is invited to send a participant, said Lt. Col. Tracy L. Settle of South Dakota, the new NGAUS membership committee chairman.

Ideal participants, Colonel Settle said, 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 the hotel and meals for participants. Additional workshop information will be provided in NGAUS NOTES, on the Web site and directly to each state and territory association.

NGAUS History.
In August 1988, NGAUS honored Sen. John C. Stennis, D-Miss., during a reception at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. Senator Stennis, 87, was retiring after 41 years in the Senate.

“Few members of the U.S. Senate have compiled a reputation for defense advocacy to match that of Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi,” said Maj. Gen. Ansel M. Stroud Jr., NGAUS president.

Senator Stennis had chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Armed Services committee through the years and had an extraordinary degree of influence on defense and Guard issues.

This Week in Guard History.
Feb. 15, 1898: Havana Harbor, Cuba—The USS Maine explodes, killing 260 American sailors. While still a matter of debate, many experts now feel it was an accident.

The Maine was sent as a goodwill gesture to Spain. When it suddenly blew up in the Spanish-controlled port, the newspapers of the day blamed the Spanish for sabotaging the ship. The event led America to declare war against Spain April 25.

Nearly 200,000 men would join the fight, including 170,000 of them drawn from uniformed volunteer militia units, the predecessors of the National Guard. Many of these men served in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines. Thousands would die (almost all from disease), while some like Teddy Roosevelt would gain national exposure.

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