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Burn Pits, Battlefield Toxins, Disabled Troops and the Fight for Data

Posted By ROA National Staff, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ROA Executive Director Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jeff Phillips is published in The Hill as an opinion contributor.


“I will advocate until they drape the flag over my coffin.” That’s what Rosie Lopez-Torres told the Reserve Officers Association her husband, Army Reserve Capt. Leroy Torres, would say about his struggle for fair treatment after being disabled by toxic fumes spewing from burn pits in Iraq in 2007.


“You pretty much have to be a full-time advocate, just to ensure that the system doesn’t lose you in the process … if you come back from fighting a war and have to fight to keep your job.  It’s been a huge sacrifice; it’s had a huge impact on our lives,” she said. “How do you endure being stripped of your dignity and the one thing that was your life’s dream?”


Tags:  Burn Pit Iraqi 

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NDAA Goes to President

Posted By ROA National Staff, Friday, August 10, 2018

On Friday, August 3, 2018, Congress sent the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2019 to the White House.  The President is expected to have a signing ceremony for the bill at Ft. Drum, New York on Monday, August 13, 2018.  The President has 10 days to sign the bill, not counting Sundays, and Monday is the 10th day after receiving the bill. 


Fort Drum is home to the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), located in northern New York, approximately 30 miles from Canada.



Tags:  Defense Authorization Act  NDAA 

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Congressional Action at Recess

Posted By ROA National Staff, Friday, August 3, 2018

The House has left town for the August Recess and will return on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. The Senate has started a shorter August Recess and will return on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.


The National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2019 passed both the House and Senate and will now go to the President for signature or veto. After Congress sends the president a final bill, he has 10 days (not counting Sunday) to act on it.  President Trump can sign the bill, not sign the bill so that it automatically becomes law after 10 days, or veto (Latin for “I forbid”) the bill.


The Department of Defense appropriations bill passed in the House on 28 June 2018. The Senate is expected to vote on the DoD bill mid-August when they return from August recess.


Tags:  Congress  NDAA  Recess 

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Burn Pit Exposure Effects

Posted By ROA National Staff, Wednesday, July 25, 2018

In ROA’s recent VLOG, Rosie discusses the problems her husband, Army Reserve Captain (Ret.) Le Roy Torres, faced as his health declined from burn pit exposure following his 2007 deployment to Iraq. 

CLICK HERE to watch the video.

Tags:  Burn Pit 

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Youth Obesity is a Matter of National Security

Posted By ROA National Staff, Thursday, July 19, 2018

Major General (Ret.) Jeffrey Phillips, Mission: Readiness member and executive director of the Reserve Officers Association, writes in the Military Times about the impact of obesity on the military and the importance of PE and healthy school meals.


Whether or not you consider military service an attractive option, it’s hard to argue against a strong military being essential to America’s security.


Yet the U.S. military faces increasing difficulty finding enough quality recruits to meet its already slimmed-down goals. According to the Pentagon, 71 percent of Americans age 17 to 24 are ineligible to join the military, primarily because they are too overweight or too poorly educated, or they have a record of serious crime or drug abuse.


Tags:  National Security  Obesity  Youth Obesity 

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A War is a Crisis if No One on Our Side Shows Up

Posted By ROA National Staff, Friday, July 13, 2018

ROA member Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Dennis Laich is published in The Hill as an opinion contributor.

The Army is struggling to meet its enlistment objective of 76,000 recruits for fiscal year 2018; in fact, it has reduced its objective from its original goal of 80,000. Last year it achieved its objective of 63,000 recruits but had to accept more than 1,000 Category IV recruits to do so. These “CAT IV” recruits are applicants who score between the 10th and 30th percentile in aptitude tests.

CLICK HERE for the full story.


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Discharging Immigrants Breaks the Universal Code of Honor

Posted By ROA National Staff, Thursday, July 12, 2018

ROA is now becoming prominent in Washington media; this is our sixth op-ed in The Hill since March; Military Times is considering two more.


“The common bond that unites every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine is a commitment to duty, honor and country. Whether native born, naturalized, or not U.S. citizens at all, service members are unified not by a common heritage, race, religion or creed, but rather by this universal code that builds character, breeds conviction and encourages valor,” Emilio T. Gonzalez, then the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an immigrant and former U.S. Army soldier, testified before the Senate Committee on Armed Services in July 2006.

The ongoing discharge of immigrant recruits robs a U.S. military that is struggling to meet enlistment goals and profoundly betrays the very national values these young people seek to defend.

CLICK HERE for the full story.


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VA Secretary Nomination Moving Forward

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 9, 2018

Mr. Robert Wilkie, nominated to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, recently attended a hearing to discuss his views on leading VA.  Next week when Congress returns from the 4th of July they will vote him out of committee in order to get his nomination completed by Congress before August recess.  Congressional is fast tracking Mr. Wilkie because their bill, The Mission Act, only has a year to be implemented and they are fast running out of time for the VA Secretary to make it happen.  Mr. Wilkie is an Air Force Reserve officer.

Tags:  nomination  Robert Wilkie  VA Secretary 

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NDAA Goes to Conference

Posted By ROA National Staff, Thursday, June 28, 2018

Now that the House and Senate have passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, the Armed Services Committee members and staff will start negotiating the differences between the two bill versions. Here are the agreed upon Conferees:


On the Republican side, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) named the following conferees:

  • From the House Armed Services Committee: Chairman Mac Thornberry (Texas), Reps. Joe Wilson (S.C.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Rob Bishop (Utah), Michael Turner (Ohio), Mike Rogers (Ala.), Bill Shuster (Pa.), Mike Conaway (Texas), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Robert Wittman (Va.), Mike Coffman (Colo.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Austin Scott (Ga.), Paul Cook (Calif.), Bradley Byrne (Ala.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Don Bacon (Neb.) and Jim Banks (Ind.).
  • From the Energy and Commerce Committee: Reps. Bob Latta (Ohio) and Bill Johnson (Ohio).
  • From the Foreign Affairs Committee: Chairman Ed Royce (Calif.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.).
  • From the Financial Services Committee: Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Rep. Andy Barr (Ky.).

On the Democratic side, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named the following conferees:

  • From the Senate Armed Services Committee: Ranking member Adam Smith (Wash.), Reps. Susan Davis (Calif.), James Langevin (R.I.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Joe Courtney (Conn.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Marc Veasey (Texas), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Beto O'Rourke (Texas) and Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), as well as Del. Madeleine Bordallo (Guam).
  • From Energy and Commerce: Ranking member Frank Pallone (N.J.).
  • From Financial Services: Ranking member Maxine Waters (Calif.).
  • From Foreign Affairs: Ranking member Eliot Engel (N.Y.).

The non-Armed Services conferees from other committees are there to negotiate on a provision related to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, according to news releases.


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Senate Completes Military Bill

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Senate just completed their version of the FY2019 NDAA.  It included a reduction of end strength for the National Guard and Reserve so they stay at FY2018 levels.  It also allows the services to defer promotion consideration for reserve component servicemembers who are in a non-participatory, membership-only status.  This gives these officers more time to come back into a participating category and get good years before meeting a promotion board.

The bill text (S. 2987) is available here.

The report (S. Rpt. 115-262) is available here.

Tags:  FY2019  NDAA 

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