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Friday, March 09, 2007

NGAUS Legislative Update: 3/9/2007

What’s Happening In Congress?

HASC Hearing on Aircraft Programs.

On Wednesday the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces held a hearing on Air Force and Army airlift and aerial refueling fixed-wing aircraft programs. The hearing focused on parts of the Department of Defense’s recent mobility study and its conclusions. There were two panels of witnesses at this hearing.

The first panel included:
Mr. William Solis - Director, Defense Capabilites and Management Government Accountability Office

Mr. Michael Sullivan - Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management, Government Accountability Office

Mr. Christopher Bolkcom - Specialist in National Defense Congressional Research Service
The second panel included:
Lieutenant General C.H. “Howie” Chandler - USAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements

Lieutenant General Donald J. Hoffman - USAF Military Deputy Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition

Lieutenant General Mark Curran - USA Deputy Commander, Training and Doctrine Command

Major General (Select) Jeffrey Sorenson - USA Deputy for Systems Management Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, & Technology)

Major General Thomas P. Kane - USAF Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements, and Programs Air Mobility Command
There were many programs and related issues discussed at this hearing, including the C-17, the C-5, the C-130, the KCX, the KC-135 tankers, and the Joint Cargo Aircraft. To read the prepared statements and hear their testimony, visit www.NGAUS.org and click on the JCA link on the home page.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

CACO Conference Held at NGAUS.

“Outstanding!” “Excellent!” “Very valuable time spent.”
These were comments made by attendees at The Congressional Action Contact Officer (CACO) 10th Annual Legislative Conference hosted by NGAUS March 5-6. NGAUS thanks the attendees from nearly thirty states for their attentiveness and the varied roster of presenters that included guest panelists Janet Saint Laurent, Director of Defense Capabilities at the GAO; Mackenzie Eaglen, Senior Policy Analyst for Defense and Homeland Security Issues at the Heritage Foundation; and Megan Scully, Defense Reporter for the Congress Daily. It was crystal clear from the presenters that the 110th Congress presents a window of opportunity for advancing legislation favorable to the National Guard.

States Hold Exceptional Events in DC.
State Associations are making their presence felt in the Nations Capitol. Last week Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin spent time on the Hill and at the NGAUS building meeting their Congressional delegations and informing them of their state’s shortfalls and critical needs. This week 4 more states came in to include Pennsylvania, Kansas, Indiana, and Illinois.

Pennsylvania held an evening reception in the Hall of States, a breakfast in the Rayburn House Office Building and spent time visiting their Representatives and Senators offices. Congressman John Murtha, Chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, was in attendance at the breakfast and spoke to the Pennsylvania Guard members. Illinois sponsored an evening reception in the Hall of States as well. Senator Barack Obama, 2008 presidential candidate, and Senator Richard Durbin, Senate majority Whip and member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee attended this event.

Grass Roots Again.
This week at the CACO Seminar a presentation was given on using the “Write to Congress” feature on the NGAUS website. A few common questions came up along with some misunderstandings of how the feature works. We would like to clear these up.

Q: Does it really matter if one person or 200 people send a letter on the same issue?
A: Yes. An office tracks the amount of people concerned about an issue and determines the issues importance based on these numbers.

Q: Will the email come from NGAUS when I use the NGAUS website to send it?
A: No. It will generate the email from the address that you provide to the “Write to Congress” feature.

Q: Does it really matter if I send emails for each Legislative Alert when some are on the same issue?
A: Yes. Many Legislative Alerts are put out at a specific time in order to impact a vote, a committee mark-up, or an important hearing on the issue. The emails may be on the same issue but have different text and are at a different time. Some issues may have even changed a little since the last alert sent out.

Q: Does the Representative or Senator actually read my email?
A: Not until the office has received a significant amount of email on the same issue. One of the office staffers will however read the email and keep track of how many emails they get on that issue. After enough emails have been received they will bring the issue to the Representative or Senator’s attention. Then they will research the issue and brief their boss on the facts. This is when the Representative or Senator will decide what they want to do about the issue.

In the past year we have been using only .06% of our potential to tell Congress about our important issues in the National Guard. Last year, 18,290 messages were sent using the “Write to Congress” feature. NGAUS would like to set a goal of 54,000 messages for 2008. This is three times the amount sent last year. With the potential to send over 2.8 million messages this is only a small first step, but an important one.

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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