Early Retirement Credit Under 12304b Orders

Army Guardsmen on deployment mission
Army Guardsmen on deployment mission
Priority
Joint-Personnel

The Issue

National Guard servicemembers have deployed under U.S.C Title 10, Section 12304b orders since 2012 for pre-planned missions in support of Combatant Commands, but are not authorized to receive the same benefits provided under other overseas mobilization authorities.

Recommendation

Authorize the full complement of benefits currently afforded to other overseas mobilizations for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers serving under 12304b orders, includes:

  • Providing for reduction in age for eligibility of retired pay.
  • Providing eligibility protection for training and rehabilitation services interrupted by deployments.

Background

The FY12 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) established the 12304b mobilization authority to allow the Department of Defense to deploy National Guard and Reserve forces for pre-planned missions in support of Combatant Commands. Since introducing the 12304b authority, Guard and Reserve servicemembers have been deployed on operations to support the Multinational Force Observers mission in the Sinai, Egypt, NATO’s Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo, and the European Reassurance Initiative countering Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. The Guard and Reserve servicemembers have provided a cost-effective means of meeting the needs of Combatant Commanders and have provided important experience and expertise.

When the 12304b authority was authorized, it failed to make important changes to U.S.C. Title 10, Title 5, and Title 37. As such, health, education, leave, pay, and retirement benefits equal with Active Component servicemembers serving the same functions were denied to Guard and Reserve servicemembers serving under the 12304b authority.

Thanks to Congress, some of those discrepancies have been addressed.  In the FY18 NDAA, Congress authorized pre-mobilization and transitional health benefits for Guard and Reserve servicemembers serving under 12304b.  Additionally, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 included a provision that granted access to Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits for all Guardsmen and Reservists serving under 12304b orders going forward and for all those who served under 12304b since 2012.

However, the failure to make corresponding changes to federal law has resulted in National Guard and Reserve Component servicemembers continuing being denied reduction in retirement age for service on active duty, provide protection of eligibility for training and rehabilitation services interrupted by deployments. Each of these provisions are currently earned by Guard and Reserve servicemembers serving on other mobilization authorities.

Point of Contact

J.C. Cardinale
Legislative Affairs Manager, Joint & Personnel

Air National Guard
Army National Guard
Pay and Benefits
Retirement