AUSA urges Congress to increase support to the Reserve Component

Update from Gary Dawson

The Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) has joined six other organizations to get congressional support for the Reserve Component, including expanded health care coverage, eliminating equipment shortfalls, and an increase in full-time personnel support.

Along with the Adjutants General Association of the U.S., Air Force Association, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the U.S., National Governors Association, National Guard Association of the United States and Reserve Officers Association, AUSA wrote to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees seeking support for legislative priorities that “directly correspond with the National Defense Strategy to restore readiness and build a more lethal force” and “will enhance Reserve Component operational readiness while continuing to promote the goals of the Total Force.”

The Associations are asking Congress to consider expanding the Tricare program to federal employees, who are now excluded and study the feasibility of eliminating premiums.

Additionally, the associations ask for an increase in authorized full-time National Guard and Reserve personnel that keeps pace with increases in the size and optempo of the Reserve Component. They also ask for continued congressional support for “robust funding” of equipment and platforms to ensure the reserve component keeps pace with active forces and funding to address equipment shortfalls and compatibility issues.

National Guard (and Army Reserve) Essential in Europe

[Editor’s Note: Excerpt below From AUSA National]

For those of us who served in the National Guard or Army Reserve on training or on deployment in Europe or Asia, we know the value of the partnership with active duty units. It helps them with training, alleviates burdens when there are personnel shortages, and provides a level of comfort to leadership when regular rotations include known National Guard and Army Reserve units. The National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers often provide continuity on scheduled training exercises. –Editor.

To make the fewer than 30,000 soldiers assigned to Europe look more like 300,000, U.S. Army Europe needs the Army National Guard and Army Reserve to train in the theater on a regular basis, the command’s top Guard leader says.

To that end, Army commanders in Europe are creating every possible training opportunity for Guard and Reserve troops, said Maj. Gen. John M. Gronski, who became U.S. Army Europe’s deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard on May 1.

Read more here.

AUSA to host a Family Readiness forum in NJ

The Family Readiness Directorate of the Association of the U.S. Army has planned an event in September aimed at Army National Guard and Reserve families.

On Sept. 22, a forum focusing on National Guard and Army Reserve spouses will be held at the New Jersey National Guard Armory in Bordentown, N.J.

The forum for National Guard and Reserve spouses will look at help that is available for spouses and families when not located in a military community. The discussion will focus on where to find help, how to build a support network and practical tips.

Homefront United Network, an organization founded by Army National Guard spouse Angela Caban, is a co-sponsor of the event. Caban, the New Jersey National Guard Spouse of the Year 2013, and Bianca Strzalkowski, 2011 Military Spouse of the Year, will speak at the event.

Register for the Guard and Reserve spouse event here:

http://homefrontunited.com/spousetalks/

Delaware National Guard Golf Tournament

Save the date! September 16th is the Delaware National Guard Golf Tournament. This event will be held at the Deerfield Golf Club and has a shotgun start at 9:00 AM. The event is open to all current and retired Delaware Army and Air National Guard members, their families or friends of the Delaware National Guard. For more details check out the attached flyer.

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Army Announces Restructure of the Force

After the Army announced that it is reducing end-strength and reorganizing brigade combat teams, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., said, “As damaging as they are, these cuts don’t begin to reflect the crippling damage sequestration will do to our Armed Forces and National Security.  The Committee will carefully examine the implications of this initial restructuring, but we all must understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg, much deeper cuts are still to come.  America learned the hard way that our pre- 9/11 military was too small.  Now, even before sequestration, we are reducing the force to that same size and foolishly expecting history to teach us a different lesson.  What lessons will we learn when sequester doubles these cuts in just a few months’ time?”

The Army plans to reduce the authorized end-strength of the Active Army from 570,000 to 490,000 and the Army National Guard from 358,000 to 350,000 and will inactivate a total of 12 BCTs.  In a press conference last week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said, “The reduction of 80,000 Soldiers or 14% from the Active Component will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017.  Let me be clear, we are taking these actions as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.  This end-strength and force structure reduction predates sequestration.  If sequestration continues into Fiscal Year 2014, Army reductions to end-strength, force structure and basing announced today will be only the first step.”  Later in the press conference, Odierno reiterated, “I want to emphasize that these reductions do not reflect reductions due to sequestration.  Full sequestration could require another significant reduction in Active, Guard, and Reserve force structure as much as 100,000 combined.”

AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan said that “Congress must quickly find an alternative to sequestration.  Everyone needs to be reminded of history’s lessons, of the dangers of a hollow Army that is called to fight the first battle of the next war – but without enough manpower, training or weaponry to do the job – of an Army which then pays the price in the blood of too many Soldiers killed or wounded while they train the hard way – during war, not before it.”