NGAUS Legislative Alert #15-4; 9 April 2015

The Issue: Modernize the Army National Guard’s Black Hawk fleet

Immediate Action Required: Ask your senators and representative to support the National Guard request to authorize and appropriate $247.5 million for 15 additional UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Army National Guard in the fiscal 2016 defense bills

More Information: The UH-60 Black Hawk remains the Army National Guard’s go-to rotary wing aviation asset to respond to state emergency missions and to support overseas contingency operations. While Black Hawks from the Army National Guard are currently supporting missions overseas, Army National Guard Black Hawks have also been activated for general aviation support to state emergencies including floods, wildfires and other domestic needs.

However, more than a decade of high operational tempo has taken a toll on the Army National Guard Black Hawk fleet. Currently, the Army National Guard operates 849 Black Hawks, with approximately 350 of these aircraft being the older UH-60A models with an average age exceeding 25 years. In order for the Army National Guard Black Hawk fleet to remain viable and mission capable, these older UH-60As need to be modernized or replaced as quickly as possible. It is projected that the Army National Guard will not retire its last UH-60A until 2025, while the active component will retire its last UH-60A in 2018.

Increased congressional funding will accelerate the fielding of new UH-60M helicopters to the Army National Guard to close the gap and ensure the Black Hawk helicopter fleet is capable of meeting the requirements of domestic and overseas missions.

NGAUS Point of Contact
Andrea Peterson
Legislative Affairs Manager, Army Programs
202-408-5884
andrea.peterson@ngaus.org

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NGAUS Legislative Alert #15-3; 30 March 2015

The Issue: Reauthorizing and Strengthening the National Guard State Partnership Program

Immediate Action Required: Contact your representatives immediately and ask them to support H.R. 1614, the State Partnership Program Enhancement Act of 2015, a bill sponsored by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam

NGAUS strongly supports H.R. 1614, a bill that would strengthen the National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP) and build a strong permanent legal foundation for this critical “soft power” global partnership program.  The current authorization for the program expires at the end of FY16.

The National Guard SPP supports U.S. national interests and security cooperation goals by engaging partner nations via military, socio-political and economic conduits at the local, state and national levels.  SPP evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set up an outreach program in the Baltic Region with reserve-component members.  It has grown into a global endeavor, becoming a key U.S. security cooperation tool across all aspects of international civilian-military affairs providing international security solutions in support of national and defense strategy. SPP provides unique capacity building capabilities to Combatant Commanders and U.S. Chiefs of Mission supporting 68 partnerships with 74 partner nations. 

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-OK; Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO; and Rep. Timothy Walz, D-MN, fortifies the FY14 codification of this important program.  The bill:

  • Expands the operational definition of the program to align with national security global strategies
  • Creates one DoD-wide account for funding to ensure oversight and accountability
  • Requires CNGB to define core capabilities, design performance metrics and designate SPP state coordinators
  • Requires annual reporting to Congress on activities, performance and funding

Please contact your representatives and urge them to support this bill.

TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTION:  

By using the Write to Congress feature on the NGAUS website at www.ngaus.org, you can IMMEDIATELY email your elected representatives. A sample letter is included in Write to Congress. You can email the prewritten message or edit the sample letter as you desire. This is the quickest and most effective method of expressing your views to Congress. Also, contact your friends and family members and urge them to use Write to Congress as well. For further information and background visit our website at www.ngaus.org. Please direct any questions concerning this issue to Grace Washbourne, NGAUS legislative program manager for joint programs, at 202-408-5893 or via email at grace.washbourne@ngaus.org.

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NGAUS Legislative Alert #15-2; 26 March 2015

The Issue: Co-sponsoring H.R. 1384 and S. 743 to recognize the service of the Reserve Components of the Armed Forces by honoring them with veteran status 

Immediate Action Required: Contact your representative and Senators and ask them to co-sponsor H.R.1384 and S. 743, bills to provide veteran status to members of the Reserve Component.

Please contact your representatives and Senators to urge them to co-sponsor bills H.R. 1384 and S.743, companion bills that recognize service in the Reserve Components with veteran status.  Rep. Timothy Walz, D-Minn., is the original sponsor in the House and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., is the original sponsor in the Senate. 

Many members of Congress may not know that a reservist can complete a full Guard or Reserve career but not earn the title of “Veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States” unless the member has served on Title 10 active duty for other than training purposes.

Currently, the U.S.C. Title 38 excludes from the definition of “veteran” career reservists who have not served on Title 10 active duty for other than training purposes.  Title 32 drill training, annual training, and all vital operations and emergency response to terrorism and natural disasters under Chapter 502(f) are currently not considered qualifying service for veteran status.

Yet, active duty members whose enlistment tours, which can be short and spent in less rigorous assignments to bases and wings on Title 10 status, will fully qualify not just for veteran status, but for all veterans’ benefits. This disparity is unfair.

•    This veteran status legislation would be cost neutral by not awarding any other veterans benefit

•    Reserve component members who served 20 years standing ready to be sent anywhere in the world but, through no fault of their own, were never deployed could refer to themselves as veterans

•    A double standard should not exist that denies veteran status to the reserve component for 20 years of honorable domestic service, but awards veterans status and full benefits to active duty soldiers who serve shorter term Title 10 active duty tours 

•    Authorizing veteran status for career RC service would boost the morale of the RC members and their families

Please contact your representatives and Senators and urge them to support this resolution.

TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTION:  
By using the Write to Congress feature on the NGAUS website at www.ngaus.org, you can IMMEDIATELY email your elected representatives. A sample letter is included in Write to Congress. You can email the prewritten message or edit the sample letter as you desire. This is the quickest and most effective method of expressing your views to Congress. Also, contact your friends and family members and urge them to use Write to Congress as well. For further information and background visit our website at www.ngaus.org. Please direct any questions concerning this issue to Pete Duffy, NGAUS legislative director, at 202-454-5307 or via email at pete.duffy@ngaus.org.

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