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Friday, April 13, 2007

NGAUS Legislative Update: 4/13/2007

What’s Happening In Congress?

SACD Hearing
In Wednesday’s Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing on the Guard and Reserves Budget Overview Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau stressed the National Guard as the “best defense bargain” in the country. With eleven percent of the Army’s budget supporting 365 “on-call” days for the Army National Guard and only six percent of the Air Force’s budget flying one-third of the aircraft and producing one-third of its capability, this statement is hard to contest.

The National Guard is no doubt the best defense bargain for the United States yet almost every Senator began their questioning time stating the incredibly low percentage of equipment on hand in their state. The Ohio Army Guard having the most with 65 percent of their equipment to the Maryland Guard with only 35 percent of their equipment on hand and New Mexico with less than 34 percent on hand.

The subcommittee ended the panel by announcing that they will be keeping the record open for two weeks in order to receive more information on shortfalls and needs. They have also requested a report from NGB on how much money it will take and how much time it will take to maintain a 100% equipment on hand.

CNGR Hearing
The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves met on April 12, 2007 to discuss changes contemplated and executed by the Department of Defense to transform the reserve components and make the operational reserve a sustainable force for “the long war.” Appearing on behalf of the National Guard was Major General Michael Sumrall, USA, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters. During the hearing, Major General Sumrall discussed such topics as the transitioning of the force into that of an operational reserve, total force management, the use of private contractors in the theatre, total force integration, rebalancing of the reserve and active components, human capital strategy program, Title 10 categories, and manpower issues. The Commission’s final report with recommendations shall be submitted to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Secretary of Defense by January 31, 2008. Further information on the Commission can be found at CNGR.

Document on 4th Star Hits the Hill
According to a Defense Department document circulating in private meetings between congressional aides, the Pentagon has officially endorsed promoting the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to a four-star general and making him a “senior advisor” to the Secretary of Defense. The Pentagon has however rejected the commission’s recommendation that the commander or deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command be a Guard or Reserve officer.

Each of these proposals are elements of the National Guard Empowerment Act. Make sure to urge your Representatives and Senators to support the legislation and become a co-sponsor.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

New Legislative Analyst Joins Staff
The NGAUS Legislative Department has been joined by Mr. Gareth Vaughan as the legislative analyst. Gareth comes to us from his most recent assignment as a Governmental Analyst for the Executive Office of Florida Governors Jeb Bush and his successor, Charlie Crist. He holds a B.A. from the University of Central Florida in English and another in History, as well as an M.S. in Political Science from Florida State University. He has also worked as a Legislative Aide for Florida State Senator Mike Haridopolos and as a Legislative Intern for Florida State Senator Lee Constantine. Gareth has experience as a professional writer and editor. He is a former Marine Reservist, serving from1995 to 2001.

What Can You Do?
Capwiz Update

4324 messages have been sent this year.
106 messages were sent this week.
1513 messages on Guard Empowerment.
2584 messages were sent on TRICARE fee increases.

Top 5 States:

1. Georgia - 528 messages
2. Tennessee - 471 messages
3. Missouri - 191 messages
4. Oklahoma - 186 messages
5. California - 169 messages

Our Goal for 2007: 54,000 messages. Only 49,676 messages to go!

Rich Green, Director
Pete Duffy, Deputy Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Emily Breitbach, Air Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Gareth Vaughan, Legislative Analyst

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


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