NGAUS has joined the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United State and the Reserve Organization of America in urging the Defense Department to change its policy on when it issues a DD Form 214 to Guardsmen and Reservists.
The three organizations sent a joint letter to Matthew P. Donovan, who is performing the duties of under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. It requests DoD issue service members a DD 214 at milestones throughout their careers, instead of only upon discharge or release from active-duty service.
The DD 214 is the recognized gold standard of proof of military service for Department of Veterans Affairs programs, state-sponsored programs and even some commercial transactions. Today, members of the reserve components do not receive the same form as their active-component counterparts or are not issued a DD 214 on a predictable basis, which often inhibits a veteran from documenting the full scope of their service.
“Due to differing nature of active- and reserve-component orders, RC service members often do not meet the minimum requirement of 90 consecutive days of active-duty service to receive a DD Form 214,” the letter states. “Complicating the process, National Guard members can transfer between states during their career, but the records don’t always follow.”
Human error and convoluted personnel systems can cause additional inconsistencies and the current system results in many service members only receiving a portion of the benefits owed to them.
NGAUS, EANGUS and ROA propose a policy that would require a DD 214 be issued at discharge or release, re-enlistment or extension, and after professional education as a “first step” toward resolving the issues.
The letter notes that Congress attempted to address the problem in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The language required DoD to create a standard record of service for all personnel, but the three organizations could not support the attempt out of concern that it does not provide for the DD 214 to be issued on a predictable basis.