HEY NATIONAL GUARD: The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission Needs Your Help

Right now is a very good time for every member of the National Guard to stand up and be counted.

The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, established by the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, is currently conducting a review of all military compensation and retirement systems. This Commission is tasked to submit a report, containing a comprehensive study and recommendations, by Feb. 1, 2015, to the President of the United States and Congress. The report will contain detailed findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with its recommendations for such legislation and administrative actions it may consider appropriate in light of the results of the study. Congress is very likely to use these recommendations when crafting both authorization and appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2016.

This week, the Commission released a 341-page Interim Report that comprehensively reviews 65 special and incentive pays, 40 health benefit programs and more than 200 distinct programs and benefits administered by eight separate federal agencies in support of military, veteran, retiree and family member quality of life. Although recommendations cannot affect the retirement eligibility date or the amount of retirement pay to the detriment of servicemembers serving, or who have retired, before such recommendations are enacted, the final recommendations will affect the National Guard pay and benefits for decades to come.

Of keen interest to members of the National Guard, the Commission notes that current compensation programs do not adequately address the operational requirements of the Guard and Reserve and that the Commission offers an opportunity to address such inefficiencies.   

Although the Interim report is more of a catalogue of current pays and benefits, the interim report lays out parameters, standards and hints of things to come that will affect every current and former member of the National Guard and their families. The Commission is:

  • Focusing on the composition, needs, preferences and priorities of the Service Member
  • Taking into consideration key changes in American society and culture, including:
    • Increased levels of education
    • Evolving workforce composition
    • A more informed populace (Internet)
    • Emphasis on choice, personalization and responsiveness
    • Increased worker mobility
    • Flexible work hours and increased telework
    • Spiraling growth in technology and private sector demand for high-quality tech savvy people
    • Today’s work force is much older, more diversified
  • Examining trends in federal appropriated funding, noting it has increased and will continue to increase due to inflation of health care costs
  • Recognizing the services need to keep an all volunteer force, which includes keeping incentive pays and benefits to keep the force
  • Making the current selection of benefits more flexible, and looking at a “cafeteria style” benefits plan
  • Evaluating the fiscal sustainability of programs and keeping an eye on cost-effectiveness
  • Functioning under the assumption that lower defense spending may force additional reductions in uniformed services
  • Looking at the President’s fiscal 2015 budget recommendations including limited pay raises, restoring servicemember out of pocket costs for housing, reductions in commissary benefits and the consolidation of TRICARE health benefit programs.

The Commission wants to understand YOUR compensation preferences and concerns, and is surveying a number of current and retired active-duty, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers during the next few months. Even if you don’t receive a survey, there are other ways to let your voice be heard. There is a comment section on the Commission website, and written comments may be mailed directly to The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, P.O. Box 13170, Arlington, VA 22209.

This is a great opportunity for the Guard to actively participate in crafting recommendations that will shape the future of the nation’s military force, and NGAUS highly recommends that Guardsmen take advantage of this opportunity. There is much at stake here, and the time to help is now.

Comments

Dual status technicians (Guard and Reserve) should be exempt from government shutdowns. We wear the uniform every day, we adhear to the same standards as Active Duty Airman but get paid far less and receive fewer benefits. And, we accept this. We actually are one of the reasons the Guard is more cost efficient than Active Duty; AGR are the exact same cost as Active Duty. It is a slap in the face when the government shuts down and we are not treated as military members. NGAUS should work with other Reserve lobbying organizations to exempt dual status technicians from furlough. The last attempt was weak and too late. This would be a benefit that would save money because HR, A1, G1, J1 and pay sections would not have to waste hours accomplishing furlough letters and stopping pay only to later correct everything the furlough set in place. It is a horrible waste of money and manpower. Further, it affects directly readiness. What is NGAUS going to do abut this?

Personnel ended up with a two weeks off and did receive back pay for that time. But, there is no guarantee it will work out that way next time. Next time may be October 2015. It was a waste of money and affected readiness.

NGAUS has worked very hard with Congress over the last two years to see that dual status technicians are exempt from future furloughs. With the help of Congress, there is language now in law for FY14 and now FY15 that prohibits dual status technicians from being furloughed indiscriminately. The language for FY 15 states: NDAA FY 15 Section 8040: Prohibition of Funds for Technician Reduction
"No funds in this Act may be used to reduced authorized positions for ARNG and ANG dual status technicians unless such reductions are a direct result of a reduction in military force structure.

Be assured, we have many supporters on the Hill, and will continue to fight to see this never happens again.

Thank you for your comments.

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