Provide Post-Deployment Health Care to Guardsmen Responding to COVID-19

Support including S.3713 and H.R.6967 within Supplemental Coronavirus Legislation

NGAI and NGAUS strongly support S.3713 and H.R.6967, the Support Our National Guard Act. This legislation would provide transitional healthcare benefits to National Guard servicemembers who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic under Title 32 orders.

S.3713 is sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joni Ernst of Iowa. H.R.6967 is sponsored by Reps. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina and Steven Palazzo of Mississippi.
As of May 26, more than 45,000 members of the National Guard across all 54 states and territories have been activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While most soldiers and airmen are currently serving on federal Title 32 orders responding to a federally-declared national emergency, under current law they will not receive federal post-deployment transitional health care coverage.

The Support Our National Guard Act would require the Secretary of Defense to provide National Guard servicemembers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with six months of post-deployment health care. These transition benefits will ensure Guardsmen do not experience a lapse in healthcare coverage after their Title 32 deployment ends and would ensure treatment of medical issues arising from their service.

It is critical to provide this coverage because Guardsmen are responding on the front lines of a health emergency, often in direct contact with the COVID-19 virus when staffing testing sites, transporting testing materials, and assisting in disinfecting care facilities. National Guard servicemembers deserve full federal support during this time, including directly after their mission is complete and they are able to return to their families.

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The Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act

The Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act

NGAI and NGAUS strongly supports S. 3308 and H.R. 5887, the Guard and Reserve Hazard Pay Equity Act. This legislation would equalize all hazard-duty incentive pay (HDIP) for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers.

As part of their service, qualified Active Component, National Guard, and Reserve servicemembers are entitled to HDIP while performing hazardous duties such as flying duty, parachute jumping, and demolition of explosives. However, Guardsmen and Reservists are only awarded 1/30th of HDIP compared to their Active Component counterparts, while still being required to perform the same requirements and being subject to the same risk.

For example, a Private First Class (E-3) with two years of service makes $272 during a drill period each month. While this servicemember is required to maintain the same parachute jump requirements as his or her Active Component counterpart, they are only entitled to $12 in additional monthly compensation. His or her counterpart would receive $150 in additional monthly compensation, which is an annual difference of over $1,600.

Please contact your Senators and urge them to support and co-sponsor S. 3308.

Please contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support and co-sponsor H.R. 5887.

Please contact your congress representatives now!

Pentagon Money Grab Would Drain Guard Modernization Program

Support Restoring Over $1.0 Billion in National Guard Funds Reprogrammed by DoD
NGAUS and NGAI strongly opposes the Department of Defense (DoD) reprogramming $3.8 billion of FY20 funding. Through tireless advocacy, NGAUS helped Congress recognize the critical role of the National Guard to our national security and helped secure robust funding to ensure readiness and lethality in FY20.WASHINGTON (Feb. 13, 2020) — A Defense Department plan announced today to reprogram fiscal 2020 defense appropriations would drain more than $1 billion from critical programs that modernize some of the National Guard’s oldest equipment.The Guard cuts include:

•    $790 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA);
•    $169 million for two C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes for the Air Guard; and
•    $100 million for the Army National Guard High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) modernization program.

While technically “congressional add-ons” to the president’s formal budget request, the funds were intended to purchase unfunded requirements and are the product of longstanding programs in the annual defense budget process.

“The services have historically underfunded the National Guard,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “They have done so more recently knowing that Congress will make up some of the difference. In fact, this gives the services something of an excuse as to why they don’t pay more attention to Guard equipment modernization.

“Any inference that these aren’t critical needs for the Guard is false,” he said. “This is just the Guard being used as a convenient bill-payer.”

NGREA has been around since 1982. The account has provided millions of dollars every year since for the Guard and Reserve to modernize or replace old equipment. The president’s defense request arrives on Capitol Hill at $0. Congress determines the amount in consultation with the Pentagon.

In recent years, NGREA has helped the Guard purchase radios, vehicles, training simulators, firefighting equipment and install new radar, avionics and engines on older combat aircraft. Every state is impacted.

“NGREA has allowed us to employ 20th-century aircraft in 21st-century fights,” Robinson said.

The two C-130Js would be one-quarter of the planes required to outfit a wing with new aircraft.

The Air Guard has 16 wings that operate C-130s, 14 fly the older H-model, which are on average 29 years old. They either need new avionics, engines and propellers or to be replaced with the more advanced J-model.

Congress provided funds in recent years to buy 16 new C-130J. They will be fielded starting in 2021

The Humvee program is now in its seventh year. It has rebuilt more than 3,800 vehicles. Yet it has only dented the need. The Army Guard has some 40,000 Humvees. They contribute daily to Guard operations at home and abroad. About half are more than 20 years old and are not scheduled to be replaced.

The Guard reprogramming is part of $3.8 billion in the Pentagon announcement.

Robinson and Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the NGAUS chairman, expressed their concern with the reprogramming to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a letter sent earlier today. The letter follows.

NGAUS Reprogramming Letter (DoD)

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Legislative Action – Help protect our right to transfer The Post 9/11 GI Bill!

The Department of Defense has indicated they wish to further limit and deny servicemembers and veterans the right to transfer their education benefits to their families. The Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferability Entitlement Act (TEA Act) in the Senate and House has been introduced as a response to DoD’s intention to limit education benefits, and will ensure that transferring education benefits becomes an entitlement for all military families.

Please join us by reaching out to your Senator and member of Congress to vocalize your support for S. 2327 and HR. 5522, the Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferability Entitlement Act (TEA Act).