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Friday, June 01, 2007

Legit: 1 June 2007

What’s Happening In Congress?

Senate Approves Markup of Defense Authorization Bill
In a closed hearing on Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the FY08 National Defense Authorization Act (S.567). Due to the Memorial Day recess, specific details and language pertaining to the bill are not presently available, but an early summary of the bill released by the committee revealed positive language such as a 3.5 percent pay increase for military personnel.

The approved version of the bill also included several provisions specific to the National Guard. In the Airland Committee, an increase in the grade of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to general was approved. Other provisions would expand “the duties of and eligibility requirements for” the Chief of the Bureau; require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to prescribe the charter for the National Guard Bureau; and enhance “the authority for National Guard … officers to serve on active duty.”

A positive step was also taken in the Personnel Subcommittee where language was inserted in the bill to reduce the age to receive retirement pay using S.628 (Chambliss) and H.R. 1428 (Latham) principles. The bill language reduces the age to begin receiving retirement pay by three months for every 90 days (in a fiscal year) of Title 10 combat duty, or duty in response to a Presidential declared emergency (Title 32). However, since specifics of this legislation have not been released, it is unclear if it will be retroactive to September 11, 2001. As the House version of the NDAA did not include any language relating to retirement, this issue will be resolved during the conference process, slated to begin sometime in the coming weeks. More specific details on the markup will be made available in the near future.

Empowerment Act Continues Progress Through Congress
As noted above, the Senate version of the NDAA includes several provisions of the National Guard Empowerment Act. These provisions (increasing Chief of NGB to general and authorizing Secretary of Defense to prescribe the NGB charter) were also included in the House version of the bill.

Several other aspects of the Empowerment Act made their way into the House version of the NDAA and, while it is not known at this time just what the Senate version includes, it is hoped they will concur with a majority of the House’s recommendations on this issue.

The House version (H.R.1585) authorized several key aspects of the Empowerment Act, to include:

* Establishing NGB as a joint activity of the Department of Defense
* Allows the Chief - NGB to serve as a principal advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
* Allows a member of the National Guard to serve as Deputy Commander of the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).

Look for further updates on the National Guard Empowerment Act provisions as details on the Senate version of the NDAA are released.

Adjutants General Association Holds Annual Spring Conference
The Adjutants General Association of the United States will hold its annual Spring Conference this coming week, from June 4-9, 2007, in Anchorage, AK.

What’s Happening at NGAUS?

Submission Process for Resolutions Ends
The resolution deadline of June 1 has arrived and, as of today, we have received submissions from 24 states. Resolutions received after today, but before the annual conference, are considered late resolutions. These resolutions require a 75 percent favorable vote in order to be accorded regular status consideration by the resolutions committee at conference.

What Can You Do?

Capwiz Update:
16,841 messages sent this year.
555 messages sent this week.
3626 messages on Guard Empowerment.
4274 messages on TRICARE fee increases.
7506 messages on retirement.
859 messages on JCA

Top 5 States:
1. Georgia – 2196 messages
2. Tennessee – 2118 messages
3. Mississippi – 1148 messages
4. Ohio – 665 messages
5. Indiana 549 messages

Our Goal for 2007: 54,000 messages

Only 37,159 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.org.


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