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May 15, 2018


Legislative Update
Army Update

Naval Services Update
Air Force Update

Military Life
Jobs on the Hill
Law Reviews

Reserve perspectives for local radio or TV

Looking for on-air “talent” for your local veterans or military radio (or TV) program? ROA is ready to serve: we can provide over-the-phone or on-screen (Facetime, etc.) briefings on Reserve Component issues from Washington, DC. Email ROA’s executive director, Jeff Phillips:

Legislative Update

ROA endorses VA Mission Act!

Veterans and community organizers speak to Department of Veterans Affairs staffers at a VA Services Showcase in Arlington, Va., in January 2014. House lawmakers this week are poised to pass a massive VA omnibus bill that would reorganize community care programs in VA and expand caregiver benefits to all veterans. (Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs)

ROA recently praised U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for introducing bipartisan legislation titled the “VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018” or “VA MISSION Act of 2018.”

This important bill, if passed, would streamline the department’s duplicative community care programs into one cohesive program; create a non-partisan process for reviewing VA’s assets to ensure veterans can access the care they have earned and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 Caregiver Program to all eras.

The bill also includes funding for the Choice Program that is expected to last until the new program authorized under the VA MISSION Act is implemented. In April, Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie informed Congress that the current account would run out of funds in early to mid-June, ending the Choice Program and potentially creating another access to care crisis.

ROA believes in a strong VA, but the agency must be better aligned with the needs of today’s veterans. ROA, along with 37 other military and veterans groups, and stakeholders signed a joint letter to Congress stating:

“Since the access and waiting list crisis exploded in 2014, Congress, VA and veteran’s leaders have debated how best to strengthen and reform the delivery of veteran’s health care to ensure timely and seamless access for enrolled veterans. The legislation before the Committee would take a major step towards that goal by making improvements to and investments in the VA health care system, creating integrated networks so that veterans have access to care when and where they need it, and providing the further recognition and assistance to family caregivers of severely disabled veterans deserve.”
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House committee passes NDAA FY’19

(Photo: Pentagon)

On May 9, the House Armed Services Committee passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019 (H.R. 5515). The bipartisan 60-1 vote concluded debate on hundreds of amendments to the defense authorization bill for next year and included everything from whether the United States should develop new nuclear weapons to parochial environmental issues.

The bill seeks to provide the Pentagon with $708.1 billion in discretionary spending, including $69 billion for overseas operations for troops serving in conflict zones. Other panels plan to authorize $7.9 billion in discretionary spending for defense-related programs, bringing the total discretionary amount the House wants to authorize for defense to $716 billion — the amount stipulated in a bipartisan budget deal announced in February and signed by President Trump (PL 115-123).

ROA weighed in on this, the second step of the defense funding process (after the budget proposal and before the appropriation process), by submitting a strong letter of support for the legislation to Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Ranking member Adam Smith (D-WA). READ MORE>

The full House is expected to take up H.R. 5515 in the coming weeks with the Senate following thereafter. ROA continues to work with Members of Congress and their staffs to include our legislative priorities. Stay tuned!

Reserve Component Mobilizations — By the Numbers
(as of 1 May 2018 )

The Department of Defense publishes contingency activations of the Reserve Components on a weekly basis. When DoD considered stopping the contingency reporting earlier in 2017, ROA was instrumental in pressing DoD to keep it as a reporting requirement. This information is important because Congress uses this information to gauge how the Reserve Component is being used for operational missions which results in authorizations and appropriations.

Additionally, this report reminds the President and Congress that the Reserve Component is still being used for contingency activations despite years of drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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ROA executive director on the air with association’s agenda

ROA’s Jeff Phillips described ROA’s founding and its legislative agenda and recent successes in his second radio interview with web-cast “Veteran Matters.” The show is an hourlong program on veterans and military issues hosted by James McCormick, medically retired as an Army National Guard captain, and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star for valor in combat at the Baghdad International Airport in 2004. The show can be heard from 4PM to 5PM Mondays at

McCormick works with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture as the director for the newly established WV Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project, the first of its kind in the nation that directly helps veterans become agribusiness owners. McCormick lives in West Virginia with his wife and their eight children; he holds doctorates in Christian counseling and divinity.

Army Reserve Update

Michigan National Guard buys land and seeks to build ‘super armory’

DUNDEE, Mich. — The Michigan National Guard has bought land in the southeastern part of the state for what it’s calling a “super armory.”

Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais announced Friday the Guard bought 44 acres in Monroe County’s Dundee from Monroe Bank & Trust. A release says the Guard seeks federal funding to build multiple units and a maintenance facility on the site.

The Guard participated in a national study that found the area was “high value” because of the large population within a one-hour drive. Detroit is about 40 miles northeast of Dundee.

The Guard says they have divested armories costing more to maintain than they were worth.

If the project gets funded, construction could take several years. Officials say owning land could speed the process.

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New bill in Congress would speed up National Guard promotions

ROA is pleased to announce its support for “The National Guard Promotion Accountability Act” bills S. 2801 and HR. 5713, a bipartisan bill to address the nearly 7,000 Guardsmen waiting for federal recognition of their promotions.

The bill would compensate Guard officers who serve at a higher rank while waiting for federal recognition by backdating their date of rank to the date they were promoted by the state.

This legislation is a critical step towards streamlining the convoluted and inefficient evaluation process to ensure that Guard members receive their hard-earned pay and recognition without this needless backlog. National Guard promotions must be recognized by both by the state and the federal government. While thorough review is important, undue delays in the federal recognition process can have particularly negative consequences for Guard officers.

Delays can result in officers being evaluated in lesser positions than they are qualified to perform. And Guard officers may be passed up for additional responsibility, such as command, when working hand-in-hand with their active duty counterparts on a federal mission.

The National Guard Promotion Accountability Act would take steps to fix this problem

  • Backdating the date of rank: upon receiving federal recognition, an officer's promotion would be considered effective on the date at which it was recognized by the state. This allows Guard officers to claim that time in grade at the higher rank, improving future promotion opportunities and making them eligible for back-pay.
  • Imposing notification requirements for delayed federal promotion recognition: the secretaries of the Amy and Air Force would be required to report on the status of promotion scrolls that exceed their target publication date and the reason for any delays, providing more transparency around the process.
  • Requiring a report on improvements to the process: the secretaries of the Army and the Air Force must review their existing promotion review process and report to Congress with recommendations for improvements, including considering automation, additional delegated authorities, or streamlining of existing steps. READ MORE>
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Naval Services Update

SECNAV Reserve personnel preference survey

Photo: US Navy)

The Secretary of the Navy is seeking to quickly assess workforce preferences across the Department of the Navy and is very interested in the views, opinions and concerns of Navy Reservists for improving overall quality of service. This is an opportunity for members to communicate with the Navy’s leadership by completing the short 15-minute survey, accessible via a personal computer or smart device, concerning your preferences with regards to the Blended Retirement System, Civilian Employment and Skills, and Voluntary Operational Support.

This survey opportunity will close on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Your participation is greatly appreciated. The results of this survey will be provided to you within 4-6 weeks after the survey closes. The link is

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What might be the impact of six new USCG Artic Icebreakers?

(Photo: USCG)

The Coast Guard finds itself in a significantly different budget environment this year -- not only is the service requesting a sizeable bump in funding, the money would help pay for its first new heavy icebreaker in 40 years.

The service recently asked for – and received -- a total of about $11.7 billion in funding for fiscal 2019, an increase of $979 million, or 8.4 percent, over its previous request in President Donald Trump's budget request.

The additional money for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will include $750 million for a new heavy icebreaker slated for delivery in 2023, according to the White House. The funding would go toward building "the Nation's first new heavy Polar Icebreaker in over 40 years," it states.

The Coast Guard wants to replace the barely seaworthy Polar Star for Arctic missions with a fleet of three heavy icebreakers. Last fall, it released a draft request for proposals from potential builders for a new heavy icebreaker design. The service also wants to build three additional medium icebreakers soon.

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently soliciting public feedback on their six new polar icebreakers, which are expected to train in Arctic waters as soon as 2023. Online comments can be submitted here. For more information, visit the project website.

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Air Force Update

Air Force Reserve tankers support Navy readiness exercise

A Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter flies behind an Air Force Reserve E-3C Sentry. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Wanzer)

Reservists from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, supported the Navy’s 3rd Fleet in San Diego, California during an exercise to evaluate the Navy’s ability to support the Pacific.

The 513th Air Control Group provided Airborne Warning and Control System support. The group also assisted the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol with their homeland security and counter-drug operations.

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Air Force Changes to
professional military education

The Air Force continues to make changes to professional military education by removing the requirement to complete Courses 14 and 15 through distance learning.

This is part of a change by the 2018 National Defense Strategy to emphasize warfighting and technology in addition to studying military history.

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Hawaii National Guard Deployed to Assist with Volcano Response

About 70 Hawaii National Guard joined volcano response efforts on Friday, after being activated by Gov. David Ige. The citizen airmen and soldiers are supporting Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Hawaii Guard personnel "are assisting Hawaii County with evacuations of residents, security of the neighborhoods and the monitoring of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas," the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said.

The National Guard has also provided video support of the Kilauea volcano and tested air quality. READ HERE

VA Expands Telehealth by Allowing Health Care Providers to Treat Patients Across State Lines

WASHINGTON Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a new federal rule that will allow VA doctors, nurses and other health-care providers to administer care to Veterans using telehealth, or virtual technology, regardless of where in the United States the provider or Veteran is located, including when care will occur across state lines or outside a VA facility. READ MORE >
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IRS urges taxpayers to do ‘Paycheck Checkup’

With the recent tax law changes this past year, many people found that their paychecks had a slight change in the early Spring. While many people enjoyed a few more dollars in their wallet, the changes were created based on averages. The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging all employees who receive a paycheck to do a “Paycheck Checkup” using the Withholding Calculator found on the IRS homepage. This will take a few minutes. You will need your most recent paycheck and copy of last year’s tax return to complete the simple steps. You will receive an immediate result telling you if you have enough withholding for the year or if you may want to make a change to your W-4 Form. If you do make a change, complete a new W-4 and submit to your employer (not the IRS). See the IRS Withholding Calculator (pdf)

Military Family

ROA Henry J. Reilly Scholarship applications being judged

Fifty completed and qualified applications for the academic year 2018-2019 Henry J. Reilly Scholarship program are now being evaluated by a team of six judges under the leadership of ROA’s Milton Houghton, Ph.D., a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and member of ROA’s Executive Committee. Up to 20 recipients of $2,500 scholarships will be announced in early June.

ROA thanks all who applied and looks forward to sending congratulations – and checks – to the deserving recipients, whose names will appear in a national ROA news release in mid-June.

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USAFR spouse selected AF Spouse of the Year

Kristen Christy, Air Force Spouse of the Year and Col. James DeVere, 302nd Airlift Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Frank Casciotta)

Recently Armed Forces Insurance and Military Spouse Magazine selected Kristen Christy as the 2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year, for “building relationships and supportiveness for the squadron’s reservists.” She does this by being part of six boards that gather resources and advises on needed community changes. Kristen is married to Tech. Sgt. Sean Lange. READ MORE>

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Jobs on the Hill
Three good sources for legislative related job opportunities

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Law Reviews:
Legal analysis on the issues impacting your life in and out of uniform

Former Service Member’s Law Center director, retired USNR Capt. Sam Wright, provides periodic law review updates. Please see ROA’s Law Center webpage for more information on service members’ law.

No. 18039 You Don’t Have To Be a Perfect Soldier To Get your Job Back
No. 18040 No Reemployment for Army Deserter
No. 18041 You Will Not Have the Right to Reemployment if you Leave a Private Sector Job To Become a Temporary Air National Guard Technician
No. 18042 Coast Guard Reservist Loses USERRA Case at MSPB and Federal Circuit

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To publish your reunion notice in Reserve Voice, email or send by mail to
ROA Reunion Notice
1 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

Reunion for member of 311th Evac Hosp of Bismarck, Minot and Fargo, ND US Army Reserve.
Where: Bismarck, ND
When: June 15, 16 & 17, 2018
Contact; David Becker at
Note: Unit was viable from early 1940s through 1990/s. Mobilized once to the Persian Gulf in 1991.

77th Armor Regiment Reunion
Dates: June 21-24, 2018
Location: Hilton El Conquistador Resort
10000 N. Oracle Rd., Tuscon, AZ 85704.
Registration forms:
Contact: Robert L. Basner, 989-624-4593; e mail:

Society of the First Infantry Division, "Big Red One" 2018 Reunion

Dates: August 1-5, 2018
Location: Westin Lombard, Ambler PA 19002
Contact: • PH 215-654-1969

U.S.S. John R. Craig DD885
Dates: September 5-9, 2018
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Contact: Jerry Chwalek
Email: • 734-525-1469

Army, 1st Signal Brigade (Vietnam & Korea)
5-9 September 2018
Location: Menger Hotel, San Antonio, TX.
POC: John Keenan • (913) 633-2639 •

USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) Association 21st Shipmates' Reunion
Dates:12-16 September 2018
Location: Courtyard Marriott, 1001 Intrepid Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19112
(Historic Navy Yard, Philadelphia)
POC: Tim Gildea, (215) 480-4260,
Note: Open to present and past members of ship's crew, Marine Detachment, embarked staffs, specialty detachments, and air wing. Reunion participants may bring guests.
Information & Registration form:

U.S.S. Perkins 27th Annual Reunion
September 13-15, 2018
Kansas City, Missouri
POC: Barry Buchanan • Ph 816-792-3040

Vinh Long Outlaws Association Biennial Reunion
September 13-17, 2018
North Charleston Marriott • Charleston, SC
POC: Jim Donnelly email:
Info & Registration:

39th Engineer Battalion Alumni Association
Dates: September 30 - October 3, 2018
Location: Desert Diamond Hotel & Casino, Tucson, AZ
Hotel: 877-777-4212 (refer to 39th Engineers block)
Form & Info:
March 2018 Newsletter with reg form

More Info: 39th 2018 Arizona Reunion Information
Contact: Bill Ray, 817-239-0787,

USS Taylor (DD/DDE-468)
Dates: 07-11 October, 2018 • Location: Colorado Springs, CO
POC: CDR James G. O'Neill USNR-RET
Email: • Phone: 804-212-8911

Patron Four Five Association (VP-45) 15th Biennial Reunion
Dates: October 24-28, 2018 • Location: Grand Hotel, Pensacola, Florida
POC: Doug "Pooh Bear" Mitchell (President)
Phone: 678-650-7500Email:

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