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Friday, March 02, 2007

NGAUS Legislative Update: 3/2/2007

What’s Happening In Congress?

CNGR Delivers Requested Report
Last year in the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves to research and report back on the legislation known as the “National Guard Empowerment Act”. On Thursday, March 1 the Commission announced its findings.

Commission Chairman Punaro announced the 23 recommendations contained in the report. Eight of which Punaro said would require legislative changes. The recommendations include the elevation of the National Guard Bureau chief from a three-star to a four-star general and consideration of Guard and Reserve officers for senior leadership positions (including deputy commander and commander) at the U.S. Northern Command. The Commission did reject one key provision of the “Empowerment Act” legislation that would have made the National Guard Bureau chief a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The report also recommends that the National Guard Bureau be made a joint activity of the Department of Defense, rather than remain a joint bureau of the Army and Air Force and that the charter of the National Guard Bureau be re-written to make the “Chief of the National Guard Bureau a senior advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, through him, to the Secretary of Defense on matters related to the National Guard when not in active federal service. These are only a select of few of the recommendations found in the CNGRs in-depth report. You can download and view the entire report by going to NGAUS.org and clicking on the CNGR emblem. (See NGAUS Notes for additional coverage of the report).

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

CACOs: Bring Your Local Shortfalls
NGAUS is looking forward to hosting the CACO conference here March 5-6. We ask each attendee to try to bring any local newspaper clipping that cites a shortage of Army or Air equipment or other current deficiency within the National Guard that needs to be addressed by Congress. These clippings will carry some local weight in support of the National Guard when shown to Congress while visiting the Hill next week.

The agenda for the event is posted on the NGAUS website (NGAUS.org). Dress is business attire.

What Can You Do?

Record Response from Members
This week our members surpassed 2000 messages sent to Congress through the NGAUS “Write to Congress” feature. The Grand total as of 3:00 pm yesterday was 2338 messages. This year NGAUS has posted two Legislative Alerts; one on the Empowerment Act and one on TRICARE fees. The top five states with the highest participation are:

Tennessee - 259 messages
Mississippi - 130 messages
California - 116 messages
Missouri - 113 messages
Georgia - 104 messages

Thank you to all of our members and other individuals interested in the National Guard legislative issues for using “Write to Congress”.

While we are very excited that the participation from states in using the “Write to Congress” feature is increasing we know that our members can do better. The National Guard Association has over 45,000 members, the total Army and Air National Guard Strength as of August 2006 was 444,994 soldiers and airman.

If each member of NGAUS sent only 3 letters a year to their representatives we could have at least 135,000 messages sent to Congress. Last year NGAUS posted 21 Legislative Alerts. If each one of our members would have sent an e-mail for each one of those alerts to their Representative and 2 Senators we could have reached over 2.8 million messages. This is the voice we have and the voice we need to use. Last year’s grand total was only around 18,000. We can do better.

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

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

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