Why You Should Care About the Upcoming Defense Department Technician Survey

The National Guard and Reserve full-time workforce has been in the news lately because of the furloughs that they are facing due to sequestration. 

The original furlough has been cut from 22 to 14 days. That is okay news for the Guard, though it's far from optimal. Another announcement was made this week that could greatly affect future Guard readiness: The Defense Department Department is undertaking a study (required by law) to determine the effectiveness of the Guard and Reserve dual-status technician program. In a letter sent out earlier this week, the DoD told mil-techs they'd have the chance to make their voices heard about their jobs:

The purpose of this survey is to collect information from current dual status military technicians about the military technician program. Section 519 of Public Law 112-81 requires the Secretary of Defense to "conduct an independent study of the feasibility and advisability of terminating the military technician as a distinct personnel management category of the Department of Defense." 

 

("Public Law 112-81" refers to the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2012)

The survey questions have not been released publicly, but NGAUS encourages all technicians to answer them honestly. The DoD needs to know more about the workload and responsibilities of mil-techs. Military technicians perform daily the vital training, maintenance and administrative functions that maintain the high level of readiness required for critical domestic and overseas missions.

A little background about why NGAUS cares so much about technicians. In the late 1980s, the Army Guard's full-time force of dual-status technicians had reached a high point. Over the next 10 years, the number of full-time techs steadily decreased and bottomed out around 1999. By then, the Guard technicians -- then servicing a strategic reserve  -- were so overworked they could barely fulfill their daily responsibilities. In a NATIONAL GUARD magazine story from 1999, one mil-tech from Wisconsin said he was only able to complete 5 to 10 percent of his daily workload. 

That year, NGAUS convinced Congress that it needed to increase the number of full-time technicians to help maintain readiness. Since then the Guard has had a "ramp up" that has steadily increased mil-tech numbers. Even with the steady increases, the Guard falls short by about 25 percent of what it needs to maintain readiness in today's operational reserve. To put it in perspective, the full time force is about the same size as it was back in 1989, during an era when the Guard was not deploying units at such a high tempo.

That's why NGAUS doesn't want to lose any ground on full-time technician authorizations. NGAUS believes that we still have some distance to travel before the Guard has even reached an optimum level of full-timers. When the survey makes it to your inbox, make sure you take the time to fill it out. 

Andrew Waldman is a staff writer and blog editor for NGAUS. 

Comments

Why not just convert the military technician to a normal competitive government worker?

Better yet an AGR. Cut tons of red tape and confusion. Streamline us with active duty.

I am in Dual status and I do not need to be AGR. Streamlining MilTechs to AGR is just not a good idea. Career growth is my big issues, one way or another, we will join the fully civilian sector. Most of us will eventually reached retirement and the way the economy is going, Soldiers have keep working to sustain family needs and have to be very competitive as ever when they retire. Keeping, civilian status as a MilTech will bring a sense of competitiveness to employers.

I am a National Guard M-day member with dual status as a Military Technician, and I feel that I perform a daily tasks that are both crucial in support to my Guard unit readiness as well as the National level readiness and security. In this sense, M-day Soldiers and Military technicians have direct support to defend our country no matter what the situation is. Therefore, I strongly believe that as a Soldier with dual status, we represent an entity that has a special function relative to the tasks that we perform daily (we even put on our M-day uniform to perform MilTech daily task). And we also support deployments if needs be leaving our family behind. In fact, in the last 10 years or so - we have committed and train ourselves to be very flexible putting our country first. At the same token, we live our lives with our civilian families.

Yet, the lack of competitiveness as far as career growth is concern is very limited being in dual status; for example, the number of positions available for bids are not very many, Military Bonus is not available to us, we get no Overtime pay, not to mention we loose our job if we quit being an M-day due to some physical disability resaons. Although, I consider my status as relatively special entity compare to other government workers. I feel that we should have the same amount of flexibilities when it comes to the issues I mentioned above. Thus, converting Military Technician to a normal competitive government worker is a great idea. This will not only increase Soldier Moral but promote career growth.

I am a National Guard M-day member with dual status as a Military Technician, and I feel that I perform a daily tasks that are both crucial in support to my Guard unit readiness as well as the National level readiness and security. In this sense, M-day Soldiers and Military technicians have direct support to defend our country no matter what the situation is. Therefore, I strongly believe that as a Soldier with dual status, we represent an entity that has a special function relative to the tasks that we perform daily (we even put on our M-day uniform to perform MilTech daily task). And we also support deployments if needs be leaving our family behind. In fact, in the last 10 years or so - we have committed and train ourselves to be very flexible putting our country first. At the same token, we live our lives with our civilian families.

Yet, the lack of competitiveness as far as career growth is concern is very limited being in dual status; for example, the number of positions available for bids are not very many, Military Bonus is not available to us, we get no Overtime pay, not to mention we loose our job if we quit being an M-day due to some physical disability resaons. Although, I consider my status as relatively special entity compare to other government workers. I feel that we should have the same amount of flexibilities when it comes to the issues I mentioned above. Thus, converting Military Technician to a normal competitive government worker is a great idea. This will not only increase Soldier Moral but promote career growth.

Cut the authorized dual status technician force by 25% and convert the remaining to AGR. Many many many benefits to this initiative.

I am quoting, "Many many many benefits to this initiative". Where are they? How do I find this information? For now I do not have any information about the initiative. Therefore, I cannot comment on this issue.

That is right. Ask any Air Technician trying to advance in their career and you will find extreme dissatisfaction and at the end emotional deterioration. Being subject to the same boss for 20 plus years without chance for promotion without losing Tech status or pay even though out-doing those above you appertaining to AFI 36-2618. College degrees, PME, Community Service, Religious service, on-base associations etc. and at the end because I could not in my right mind comply, quote by my Technician Chief, "Get in LOCK-STEP" with my boss I am being non-retained militarily via AF Form 418 without possibility of appeal. You heard that right - an AF FORM 418 - when used in the ANG is a form that the commander can use to non-retain an enlisted member and not even have to tell them! ANG appeal - N/A. IG said they can do it and even lie on the form and have to answer to no one. Union help - sorry that is a military transaction and as a WS they can't represent anyway, State HQ, sorry CC discretion. Group & Wing CCs, what do you mean N/A for appeal same as the CChief, must be a typo in the ANGI 36-2606...nope. Thank you for your 30 years of "Satisfactory Service." Now do you-all understand why the Air Tech program is bad for Mental Health? Even if a guy commits suicide after getting kicked out like this the CC skates as that Airman is no longer a member under him.

Sorry, ANGI36-2002 1 OCTOBER 2012 Attachment 7 is the ANG's document authority for AF FORM 418

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