Our Community Salutes of Delaware

[Published From Our Community Salutes Web Site, an AUSA Delaware sponsored event]

Wilmington University and the Delaware Chapter, Association of the US Army co-sponsored the fourth annual “Our Community Salutes” ceremony in Delaware on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at Wilmington University. We recognized and thanked those high school seniors from Delaware who have chosen a military career after graduation.

Tim Furlong of NBC 10 Philadelphia returned as emcee. We were honored to have Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn and Major General Glenn Lesniak, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Reserve as our speakers. Student enlistees received letters of appreciation signed by U.S. Senators Carper and Coons, and U.S. Representative Carney. Students also received letters from the State of Delaware House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, and an ‘Our Community Salutes’ challenge coin.

Mr. Justin Null, a high school counselor at St. Georges’ Technical High School, was presented The General Colin L. Powell award in recognition of his help assisting students interested in beginning their career in the military.

Photos of this event can be found at OCSDE.org/2015-photos

OCS Class of 2015

Army Gets $7 Billion Budget Boost

[From AUSA National]

The Army would get a $7 billion increase in its base budget for 2016 under the Obama administration plan unveiled Monday.

The increase primarily goes to operations, maintenance and weapons modernization programs.

The administration requests $147 billion for the Army in fiscal 2016, $2 billion less than the current budget in a reduction resulting from reduced funding for contingency operations.

For fiscal year 2015, the Army received $121 billion in the base budget and $28 billion in operating contingency funds. For fiscal 2016, the administration proposes boosting the base budget to $127 billion while cutting the contingency budget to $21 billion.

The 2016 budget was announced Feb. 2, at a time when the Army has 140,000 soldiers serving in 150 foreign countries, and with nine of the Army’s 10 active divisions having headquarters actively engaged in ongoing operations.

The modest boost for the Army is part of a decision by the administration to ask Congress for a 2016 defense budget that is $38 billion over spending caps set in the Budget Control Act, something that will require consent from lawmakers. While the Army would receive $7 billion more than current spending, the budget would provide a $16 billion increase for the Air Force and an almost $12 billion increase for the Navy, according to Defense Department briefing charts.

Forty-five percent of the Army’s base budget goes for personnel costs, with 36 percent for operations and maintenance and 18 percent for weapons programs. Spending on personnel is flat, even though the Army expects to be smaller in 2016, a result covering the cost of modest increases in pay and benefits. The budget includes a 1.3 percent basic pay hike, an average 1.2 percent increase in housing allowance and a 3.4 percent increase in subsistence allowance.

Active-duty personnel levels would drop from 490,000 today to 475,000 by Oct. 1, 2016, under the plan. Army National Guard strength, now 350,200, would drop to 342,000. Army Reserve strength would remain at 198,000.

There is $16.1 billion allocated to Army weapons procurement in the budget request, up from $13.9 billion in 2015. Increases are spread over aircraft, missiles, track vehicle and ammunition programs, but Army officials said a top priority is modernizing Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopter fleets in support of the Aviation Restructuring Initiative, a controversial topic where an independent commission could end up deciding details and timing.

Ninety-four Black Hawks, 64 Apaches and 39 Chinooks would be purchased in 2016, an increase from the 87 Black Hawks, 35 Apaches and 32 Chinooks funded in 2015. Money also is included to buy 450 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and upgrades for 87 Strykers.

For more headlines, click here.

GEN (Ret) Sullivan remarks about seeking stability and sanity in Breaking Defense

[From AUSA National]

Unhealthy and unnecessary friction in the Total Force is a consequence of the larger budget pressures facing the Army. We need to make certain the suboptimal decisions foisted on the Army’s leaders don’t damage the overall cohesiveness of what is shaping up to be a much smaller active, Guard and Reserve force.

You can read the entire op-ed article published in Breaking Defense on January 19, 2015 here. Included you will also find links to MG (Ret) Gus Hargett’s comments for NGAUS’s perspective on the current budget crisis facing the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army in particular. Regardless, GEN (Ret) Sullivan is right in that the “most precious, capable, and flexible weapon system is people.”

More Veterans Day News from your AUSA Chapter

1.  Veterans’ Day Luncheon: All AUSA members are invited to a Chapter Veterans Day luncheon on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at 12:30 in the Lone Star Steakhouse on Route 13 in New Castle.  The room will be open at Noon, and a short program with lunch will begin at 12:30.  Cost is $15.00.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Gary Dawson at (302) 230-6074, or contact Laura Sievert at lauralsievert@gmail.com or (302) 545-6736.

2.  Veterans’ Day Ceremony:  The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Military Order of the Purple Heart will host the Veterans Day Ceremonies on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day (observed on November 11), this day is intended to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is our citizens’ opportunity to thank living Veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served have sacrificed and done their duty. The program, scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m., will be held at the Memorial Plaza, Delaware Memorial Bridge, New Castle, Delaware.

The National Veterans Day Committee in Washington, DC has designated Veterans Day in New Castle, DE, as a 2014 Regional Site. This is our twenty-third year of participation along with 67 similarly recognized sites throughout the United States and it’s territories.

3.  Veterans’ Day Discounts:  Military.com has posted a comprehensive list of Veterans Day discounts and free resources on their website under their Veterans Day Center. This is an excellent resource for military members to explore and includes the history of Veterans Day, tributes to Medal of Honor recipients, ways to honor veterans and much more.

News Flash:  National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and the Association  of the U.S. Army Join Forces Against Budget Cuts!

Two of the nation’s leading military associations have joined together to urge Congress to get rid of automatic, across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration. Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, the NGAUS president, and retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, president of the Association of the United States Army, wrote a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee leadership last week. The letter urges committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., to “end sequestration now.”

“The continued effects of sequestration on the Department of Defense will cause the Army, Active, Guard and Reserve, to fall into unreadiness,” they warn.

“The nation will be left with its smallest ground forces since 1940 – unable to carry out our defense strategy,” they said. “Troop levels so low put at risk our role as a guarantor of world security and embolden our enemies.”

Sequestration, which was enacted as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, cuts funding for Defense Department initiatives without regard to the importance of the individual program. The Pentagon was able to avoid the full impact of the cuts thanks to a legislative deal last year, but without additional action by Congress the cuts will come back in fiscal 2016.

“It’s no secret that we have some different priorities than AUSA, but there is no daylight between us on this issue,” said Hargett. “These cuts hurt our ability to defend the nation and respond in the homeland, and it’s time to get rid of them for good.”

Proposal to Freeze Military Pay

The Administration’s contention that military pay has drastically increased is accurate, but there is much more to the story.   Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, military pay was capped by Congress below private-sector wage growth which resulted in a 13.5% gap between military and civilian pay and was a serious retention and recruiting crisis by the early 2000s.  Why would good soldiers remain in uniform if they were earning less that comparable jobs in the civilian sector?  Over the last decade, Congress has worked hard to fix the pay gap, ensuring it kept pace with the private sector. But now, history is repeating itself. The Fiscal Year 2015 administration budget submission keeps pay caps in place for not just a second straight year, but for six straight years!  Therefore pay would remain stagnant for military jobs that often require, long hours, hazardous duty, and overseas deployment.

It has taken Congress 10 years to make military pay competitive with the civilian sector again. It would be a travesty to undo that.

Wilmington University Honors Those that Serve

Wilmington University has invited us to join in honoring our nation’s Heroes!

On March 26, 2014 from 11:00am-1:00pm, Wilmington University will host a Spring Military/Veteran Appreciation Day at the Pratt Student Center (New Castle Campus, 320 N. DuPont Hwy, New Castle DE 19720).

The event is designed to recognize and honor our Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. It will include attendance by Government Officials/Representatives, Senior Leadership from Wilmington University, our Military/Veteran Student Organization, and Vendors from the community. Activities will be available including a massage table, acupuncture table and a special “Rifle Spinning” demonstration performed by the ROTC Drill Team from William Penn High School! A light lunch, cake, and prizes will also be provided for attendees.

Agenda

  • 1100 – Event Begins: Sign in, networking/vendor tables/activities
  • 1200 – Remarks/Recognition: Jim Webb, Military Affairs Coordinator
  • 1210 – Rifle Spinning Demo: William Penn ROTC
  • 1220 – Continue networking/vendor tables/activities
  • 1300 – Event Ends

Supporting military vendors include: DAFB Airman & Family Readiness Center, Employer Support for Guard & Reserve (ESGR), MyHealtheVet, United Service Organizations Inc. (USO), Vet Center: Wilmington,  Military One Source, DE Army National Guard, and the DE Air National Guard.

New Family Program Updates

The Association of the U.S. Army Director of Family Programs recently distributed an update on their family activities.

Here are a few items that you might find helpful:

1.       Blue Star Families 2013 Lifestyle Survey on what military families say is most important to them: http://bluestarfam.s3.amazonaws.com/42/6b/b/1583/OnePager2013.pdf

2.      Upcoming locations of Hiring our Heroes Job Fairs: http://www.uschamber.com/hiringourheroes/events  Note: there are three pages that run all the way through March of 2014 so don’t forget to scroll through all of them

3.      Military Family Research Institute provided the newest information on what research is showing us about military children:  See http://blog.militaryfamily.org/2013/06/26/how-are-military-families-doing-what-researchers-are-discovering/

4.      AUSA is launching a Spouse membership initiative.   It is scheduled for a soft launch in late September/ early October! How will it work?

a.      Spouses will click on to a spouse membership link that will take them to a page explaining the new membership category

b.      Spouses will be asked if their spouse is currently an AUSA member

i.      If “yes”, spouse will type in their spouses email for verification and then will be taken to a page that allows them to join at the $14.oo rate (sans magazine)

ii.      If “no” spouses will be able to join at the rate equivalent to their husbands rank or DA civilian position

c.       FIRST 100 spouses to receive FREE Ann Hand AUSA membership pin (see photo)

5.   The AUSA Family Programs Directorate represented the association in the following meetings since the last Update (Links to the events have been included:

a.      OSD-Military Family Research Institute Launch of “How to Help Military & Veteran Families” materials: (FREE for download: https://www.mfri.purdue.edu/publications/how-to-help.aspx )

b.      “Celebration of Our Military Kids’ Star Power” http://www.ourmilitarykids.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Star-Power-Press-Release-2013.pdf

c.       Military Family Readiness Council (NMFA is a sitting council member- their report here: http://www.militaryfamily.org/feature-articles/military-family-readiness.html )

d.      Presented at AWAG in Germany: http://www.awagonline.org/Seminar-Speakers.html

e.      Blue Star Families Lifestyle Survey launch

f.       Exhibited at TAPS National Military Survivor Seminarhttp://www.taps.org/

g.      United through Reading Senior Spouse Roundtable: http://www.unitedthroughreading.org/

h.     Military Families Research Institute Symposium: https://www.mfri.purdue.edu/newsroom/view-news.aspx?newsitemid=95

i.      National Child Traumatic Stress Network Advisory Council Meeting (I represent not only AUSA but I am the military family rep) http://www.nctsn.org/