Since 1878, the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) has been fighting for the needs of the National Guard on Capitol Hill. Legislative successes include:
National Guard Empowerment
NGAUS has worked to ensure that National Guard leaders have an enhanced voice and position in the Department of Defense decision-making process. In 2008, NGAUS worked with Congress to pass Empowerment I, elevating the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB) from a three-star to a four-star general. NGAUS celebrated the victory, but didn’t stop there. In 2011, NGAUS successfully pushed for Empowerment II, which provided a seat for the CNGB on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and re-established a three-star Vice Chief position, an effort that’s considered the most significant legislative victory since the Militia Act of 1903 created the modern, dual-mission National Guard.
GI Bill 2.0 – Post 9/11 GI Bill for National Guard
In 2008, Congress passed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, with significant improvements to the original GI Bill. The Post-9/11 GI Bill was hailed as a vital step forward for the armed services, allowing qualifying members to use GI Bill benefits and reflecting the changes in duty that have been observed since 9/11. Due to its expeditious passage, the bill left out National Guardsmen and their service time. NGAUS worked with our Congressional partners to quickly correct the oversight and recognize Title 32 duty, with benefits starting at 90 aggregate days.
Overturning Proposed Air National Guard Cuts
In 2012, the Air Force shocked Congress and the National Guard community by announcing drastic cuts to the Air National Guard, including more than 5,000 personnel and 200 aircraft. NGAUS, the Council of Governors and our members argued that the Air Force was disproportionally applying cuts to the National Guard, which would harm our ability to respond domestically and abroad. After months of debate, Congress agreed with NGAUS and halted most of the proposed personnel and aircraft cuts to the Air National Guard.
Creation of Commission on the Future of the Army
The panel, established by the FY15 defense authorization bill, was charged with investigating how the Army should look to meet the national security threats of the future. NGAUS lobbied Congress for the creation of the Commission following a proposal to remove all attack aviation from the National Guard, among other disagreements over Army force structure and equipment. In January 2016, the National Commission on the Future of the Army (NCFA) released its final report that included 63 recommendations, many of which are favorable for the reserve component.
Other notable legislative successes:
- Historic levels of National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) and Military Construction (MILCON) funds
- Robust Personnel and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funding to maintain an operational reserve
- Behavior health support for members of the Reserve Component during scheduled unit training assemblies
- Reemployment rights for Title 32 National Guard duty
- Authority for the VA to provide mental health care for veterans and their families — post deployment
- Extended TRICARE coverage for “Gray Area” retirees
- Doubled from 90 to 180 days the time a Reserve Component member is covered under TRICARE Prime prior to mobilization
Establishment of the National Commission on the Future Structure of the Army to assess Army/ARNG size and force mix
Prohibition on the transfer of AH-64 Apache aircraft in FY 2015
Prohibition on cancellation or modification of avionics modernization program for C-130 aircraft
Prohibition on retirement of A-10s with the exception of 36 aircraft that may be placed in “backup flying status”
Fix to future reserve retirement calculation