National Guard April 2017 : Page 14

NEWS BREAKS F-15C May Be Retired, ANG Director Confirms The Air Force is considering retiring the F-15C Eagle fighter, an aircraft critical to the Air National Guard’s air-sovereignty, to save money, the Air Guard director House lawmakers last month. Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice confirmed that plan when asked about it by Rep. Joe Wil-son, R-S.C., during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subcommittee. Rice said the plan was “predecision-al.” That was echoed by Maj. Gen. Scott D. West, the Air Force director of current operations and deputy chief of staff for op-erations, who said the service is seeking ways to cut the number of aircraft systems it operates to make the best use of available resources. The six Air Guard wings flying the F-15 would convert to the F-16, a multirole fighter. No retirement would take place until at least fiscal 2020. NGAUS notes that the Air Force’s plan took several lawmakers by surprise, which is not a good thing for the Air Force. Without congressional buy-in, the plan may be doomed to failure, which is what happened when the service wanted to retire the A-10 fighter in a cost-cutting move a few years ago, said Matt Pincus, the NGAUS se-nior legislative programs manager. He said lawmakers from the five states where Air Guard pilots fly the F-15—Cal-ifornia, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oregon (two wings)—are asking for more information and have worries about a shortage of combat capability if the F-15 goes away. “The concerns are that the air-sover-eignty and homeland-defense missions, now performed by both the F-15 and F-16, would suffer if those critical operations were left entirely to the F-16,” Pincus said. The F-15, with its far-reaching radar, is widely considered a better fit to protect U.S. airspace, Pincus said. “There’s a risk in changing any of our force-structure decisions,” Rice told the subcommittee. “There are capabilities we can add and provide on the F-16 that will [fill] a gap as we go into the future. Overall, CONFERENCE UPDATE ‘Hatitude,’ Retiree Discussion Highlight Conference Luncheons Luncheons for spouses and retirees are taking shape on the agenda for the 139th General Conference & Exhibition in September in Louisville, Kentucky. Both events are set for Sept. 9. The Spouses Luncheon is scheduled for the Galt House hotel and the Retiree Luncheon & Caucus is planned for the Ken-tucky Exposition Center. The Spouses Lun-cheon theme will be the Best of the Bluegrass, said Cathy Mattingly, one of the organizers. A highlight will be Hatitude, presented by the Kentucky Derby Museum. Spouses will be able to make their own Derby hats or fascinators. Supplies will be available for both men’s and women’s hats and museum staff will be on hand to assist. Hats, Mattingly said, are an essential part of Derby wear, which is the rec-ommended attire for the States Dinner the next night. “In addition to the Spouses Lunch, we are working hard to make sure all our spouses and guests have a fabulous overall experience at NGAUS Derby City,” she said. “We want each person to feel confident that they know where to go and what to do for official and unoffi-cial events.” Mattingly encourages all attendees to join the Facebook group created for the conference, which can be found by search-ing NGAUS Derby City Spouses & Guests on Facebook. Retired and separated officers held a caucus for the first time at last year’s NGAUS conference in Baltimore. Retired Brig. Gen. David Brubaker, one of two retired/separated represen-tatives on the NGAUS board of directors, promises this year’s caucus will feature a larger and more focused agenda for the estimated 300 retired and separated officers expected to attend. “Last year, there were many who were there who wanted to be more involved and do things with NGAUS,” Brubaker said. “We want to focus on that, whether it’s offering up personal time engaging with Congress, helping with membership or whatever is best for the organization.” An effort to improve the lines of communication and strengthen mem-bership is underway. Brubaker said more specifics will be announced in the months ahead on the Retiree/Separat-ed Focus section at www.ngaus.org. Brubaker said retired and separated NGAUS members can send suggested topics to retirees.ngaus@ngaus.org. “I’m going to challenge every one of them to help with membership,” Bru-baker said. “I know every one of them knows at least 10 other National Guard people that are retired that could po-tentially be members for us.” —By Cody Erbacher 14    NATIONAL GUARD   April 2017   WWW . NGAUS . ORG |

News Breaks

F-15C May Be Retired, ANG Director Confirms

The Air Force is considering retiring the F-15C Eagle fighter, an aircraft critical to the Air National Guard’s air-sovereignty, to save money, the Air Guard director House lawmakers last month.

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice confirmed that plan when asked about it by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subcommittee.

Rice said the plan was “predecisional.” That was echoed by Maj. Gen. Scott D. West, the Air Force director of current operations and deputy chief of staff for operations, who said the service is seeking ways to cut the number of aircraft systems it operates to make the best use of available resources.

The six Air Guard wings flying the F-15 would convert to the F-16, a multirole fighter.

No retirement would take place until at least fiscal 2020. NGAUS notes that the Air Force’s plan took several lawmakers by surprise, which is not a good thing for the Air Force.

Without congressional buy-in, the plan may be doomed to failure, which is what happened when the service wanted to retire the A-10 fighter in a cost-cutting move a few years ago, said Matt Pincus, the NGAUS senior legislative programs manager.

He said lawmakers from the five states where Air Guard pilots fly the F-15—California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oregon (two wings)—are asking for more information and have worries about a shortage of combat capability if the F-15 goes away.

“The concerns are that the air-sovereignty and homeland-defense missions, now performed by both the F-15 and F-16, would suffer if those critical operations were left entirely to the F-16,” Pincus said.

The F-15, with its far-reaching radar, is widely considered a better fit to protect U.S. airspace, Pincus said.

“There’s a risk in changing any of our force-structure decisions,” Rice told the subcommittee. “There are capabilities we can add and provide on the F-16 that will [fill] a gap as we go into the future. Overall, our readiness and our protection of the U.S. will change, but I think overall, we will be OK.”

Guardsmen Take Third at Best Ranger Competition

The Army National Guard team that took top honors in last year’s Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition returned to Fort Benning, Georgia, April 7-9 to defend their title in this year’s competition, finishing in third place.

“This year the competition had the most stacked teams with four previous winners and it showed,” said Capt. Robert Killian, a member of the Colorado Army Guard. Killian, along with teammate Pennsylvania Army Guard Staff Sgt. Erich Friedlein, won last year’s competition, the first time a Guard team took first place in the competition’s history.

The event, now in its 34th year, showcases the high-endurance athleticism of the Ranger-qualified competitors, as well as testing their tactical and technical skills in time-sensitive situations.

Over the course of the 60-hour competition, competitors covered more than 60 miles while taking part in a variety of physically and mentally challenging events, said competition officials.

This year’s competition featured 53 teams and 18 events. By the end of the first day, officials cut the 27 lowest-scoring teams. Another five teams dropped out due to medical issues.

The Army Guard fielded four teams. Three finished among the top 20. In addition to Killian and Friedlein’s third-place finish, Army Guard teams ended the competition in 10th and 18th place.

Group Suggests Move to Merit-based Promotions

Adding women to the Selective Service System and basing promotions on merit are two of 39 changes recommended for the military personnel system by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

A task force formed by the nonprofit organization describes the Pentagon’s current personnel system as “a holdover from the Cold War.”

“The ‘one-size-fits-all’ force that won the Cold War needs to be updated to one that fully engages all of American society, adapts to new threats, is sustainable over the long term, and is technically proficient,” according to the task force report released March 20. Those goals form the acronym in the 100-page report title, “Building a F.A.S.T. Force: A Flexible Personnel System for a Modern Military.”

The report is available at www.bipartisanpolicy.org.

Retired Gen. Jim Jones, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Kathy Roth-Douquet, the chief-executive officer of Blue Star Families, and former Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., were the task force co-chairs.

Other recommendations range from conducting exit interviews with separating service members to creating a strategy- based budget that does away with caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Four former Senate majority leaders— Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tenn., Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine—created BPC in 2007.

Former NFL Ref’s Program Turns Vets into Officials

A former NFL referee now familiar for his role in television broadcasts of the sport thinks former service members should be wearing the striped shirts in their communities.

Mike Pereira, who analyzes the work of NFL referees for Fox Sports, has created Battlefields to Ballfields, which offers scholarships to veterans to learn how to become an official.

Pereira told Military Times he wanted to somehow show his appreciation for what service members do.

“And then thinking of the shortage of officials, I thought, ‘Look at these returning servicemen. They have some of the qualities that we need in officiating,’” he said.

The pilot program was created in California, but with a board of directors that now includes a former NFL coach in Jeff Fisher, Battlefields to Ballfields has gone national in multiple sports.

Pereira said the decision-making experience of military members is a chief reason they would make good sports officials. But he also said the physical presence and confidence on the field is important.

“They’ve got the ‘it’ factor,” he said.

With the scholarship comes equipment and uniforms specific to the sport, a oneyear membership in the National Association of Sports Officials, which includes additional training materials, and a mentor in the sport chosen by the veteran.

The organization website is www.battlefields2ballfields.org.

Personnel Strength

AN OBVIOUS CORRELATION EXISTS between a state’s population and its personnel strength. More populous states have a bigger pool of potential recruits. They also have more lives and property to protect during state emergencies, so they need a larger force. But population isn’t the only factor influencing a state’s personnel strength. Some have a citizenry with a higher propensity to serve in the Guard than others. That influences national decisions on where to place units, and the more large formations (Army Guard division and brigades; Air Guard wings) a state has, the higher its personnel strength.

VA Plans to Expand Mental-Health Services

Veterans who received other-than-honorable discharges will have access within a few months to mental-health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs if the agency’s boss has his way.

VA Secretary David Shulkin told lawmakers last month that the VA has the authority to do that, according to Military Times.

“So many veterans are just disconnected from our system,” he told the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The 20 a day committing suicide are not getting the care they need. We’re going to do whatever we can. We’re going to work with you. This is unacceptable and we shouldn’t have to wait for Congress to force the issue.”

The 300,000 or so veterans who have received separations that were less than honorable are not eligible for VA benefits. However, advocates for veterans say that many of them were separated for behavior that could be a result of mental-health issues.

Shulkin told Military Times that he took on the issue because of legislation introduced in February by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., that would allow the VA to provide mental-health services to some veterans regardless of the reason for their discharge. He said the care could be available by June or July.

House Members Push for National GWOT Memorial

Two lawmakers who served as Marines in Iraq have introduced legislation that would establish the National Global War on Terrorism Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The bill introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., would exempt the memorial from the law requiring 10 years to pass from a war’s official end before it can be commemorated on federal land.

No site for the memorial has been selected, but advocates want a spot on the National Mall. The location, which spreads out westward from the Capitol, is home to memorials to other wars, including World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the war in Vietnam.

“I served in Iraq with some of the best Americans I know, and we owe this to all of them, to their families and to the young men and women who continue to put their lives on the line for us today,” Moulton said in a statement.

Gallagher said, “Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t matter. Memorializing the service and sacrifice of more than 6,800 fallen United States service members is an American matter.

The memorial would be funded privately through the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation.

Sinai a Combat Zone, Say Two Senators

Troops serving on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula would receive full combat pay under Senate legislation introduced last month by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

The bill would upgrade the compensation to tax-free status, just as if serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. The Sinai is now a hazardous- duty area allowing troops to receive imminent danger pay and hazardous-duty living stipends, according to Military Times, but the benefit is taxable.

Army National Guard units are frequent contributors to the Multinational Force and Observers mission on the Sinai. Members of the Minnesota Army Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry, have been serving with the force since late last summer.

The MFO is the result of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that mandated Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai. The first rotation of the multinational force took its place in 1982. The mission has continued uninterrupted ever since.

Four U.S. troops have been wounded supporting the mission since last fall.

“As terrorist groups like ISIS spread throughout the region, the dangers these service members face has increased,” Klobuchar said. “Current rules regarding benefits for those serving in the Sinai do not reflect these new threats.”

Cornyn said, “These men and women serving in this region have been facing life-threatening conditions for years and deserve the same benefits as military deployed in designated combat areas.”

Army Awards Eligible For New ‘C,’ ‘R’ Devices

Twelve Army awards are eligible for the “C” and “R” devices recently created by the service after a two-year review of awards by the Pentagon.

Much like the “V” device is added to recognize valor in combat, the new devices will honor actions taken under combat conditions— C—and at remote locations—R.

The Pentagon review focused on honoring positions such as drone pilots, cyber- warfare specialists and other who have an impact on the battlefield without entering combat, according to Army Times.

The publication based its story on Military Personnel Message 17-095.

The MILPER message says the “C” device can be worn with the Army Commendation Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.

The “R” device can be attached to the Army Commendation Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. —Compiled from staff & Pentagon reports

Sound Bites

LESSONS APPLIED

“The Air Guard has taught me to have a sense of service and commitment. I have been able to handle stressful responsibilities when faced with adversity. Situational awareness and attention to detail have helped me in my civilian career.”

—Staff Sgt. Michael Bean, a sheriff’s deputy in civilian life, “TN Air National Guard Airman Saves Man from Burning Home,” Winchester (Tenn.) Herald Chronicle, March 8

MESSAGE IN A BUDGET

“Make no mistake about it, this is a hard-power budget, not a soft-power budget. That was done intentionally.”

—Mick Mulvaney, White House budget director, press briefing on the president fiscal 2018 budget request, Washington, D.C., March 15

MATTER OF NUMBERS

“Having female soldiers in combat arms increases the pool of available recruits to fill our ranks in a time when an increasingly small population of Americans qualify to serve in the military. We need them.”

—Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski, “New York Guard Seeks Female Soldiers Ready to Become Infantrymen,” New York National Guard release, March 7

TECHNICAL FOUL

“Please keep in mind; if you’re streaming video to watch your favorite player shooting free throws, you’re consuming network resources that could be served to support the Warfighter.”

—Joint Service Provider email to Defense Department workforce telling employees not to watch NCAA tournament games on Pentagon computers, March 15

REAL BUDGET CASUALTIES

“The ultimate impact [of budget restrictions] is cumulative and leads to lost battles and dead soldiers on a battlefield.”

—Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army chief of staff House Armed Services Committee hearing Washington, D.C., April 5

TOO NICE

“The fact remains that we are not immune to terrorist threats and that our enemies often use our own freedoms and generosity against us.”

—Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, “US President Donald Trump signs new travel ban, exempts Iraq,” cnn.com, March 7

Read the full article at http://nationalguardmagazine.com/article/News+Breaks/2768068/402332/article.html.

‘Hatitude,’ Retiree Discussion Highlight Conference Luncheons

Cody Erbacher

Luncheons for spouses and retirees are taking shape on the agenda for the 139th General Conference & Exhibition in September in Louisville, Kentucky.

Both events are set for Sept. 9. The Spouses Luncheon is scheduled for the Galt House hotel and the Retiree Luncheon & Caucus is planned for the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The Spouses Luncheon theme will be the Best of the Bluegrass, said Cathy Mattingly, one of the organizers. A highlight will be Hatitude, presented by the Kentucky Derby Museum. Spouses will be able to make their own Derby hats or fascinators. Supplies will be available for both men’s and women’s hats and museum staff will be on hand to assist.

Hats, Mattingly said, are an essential part of Derby wear, which is the recommended attire for the States Dinner the next night.

“In addition to the Spouses Lunch, we are working hard to make sure all our spouses and guests have a fabulous overall experience at NGAUS Derby City,” she said. “We want each person to feel confident that they know where to go and what to do for official and unofficial events.”

Mattingly encourages all attendees to join the Facebook group created for the conference, which can be found by searching NGAUS Derby City Spouses & Guests on Facebook.

Retired and separated officers held a caucus for the first time at last year’s NGAUS conference in Baltimore.

Retired Brig. Gen. David Brubaker, one of two retired/separated representatives on the NGAUS board of directors, promises this year’s caucus will feature a larger and more focused agenda for the estimated 300 retired and separated officers expected to attend.

“Last year, there were many who were there who wanted to be more involved and do things with NGAUS,” Brubaker said. “We want to focus on that, whether it’s offering up personal time engaging with Congress, helping with membership or whatever is best for the organization.”

An effort to improve the lines of communication and strengthen membership is underway. Brubaker said more specifics will be announced in the months ahead on the Retiree/Separated Focus section at www.ngaus.org.

Brubaker said retired and separated NGAUS members can send suggested topics to retirees.ngaus@ngaus.org.

“I’m going to challenge every one of them to help with membership,” Brubaker said. “I know every one of them knows at least 10 other National Guard people that are retired that could potentially be members for us.”

Read the full article at http://nationalguardmagazine.com/article/%E2%80%98Hatitude%2C%E2%80%99+Retiree+Discussion+Highlight+Conference+Luncheons/2768087/402332/article.html.

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