Virginia Senator Jim Webb comments on the passage of his legislation that explicitly states in law that TRICARE and Department of Defense (DOD) nonappropriated fund (NAF) health plans meet the minimum essential coverage standard for individual health insurance required by the recently enacted health care reform law. Click here for video
2011 / 2012 EANGUS Accomplishments:
No matter how you look at it the first session of the 112th Congress can be counted as a major success for EANGUS. As the second session continues throughout the year, rest assured that EANGUS will continue to vigorously fight on behalf of our membership.
One of the largest fights EANGUS will take on this year is the defense budget. Although, the budget is a battle each and every year, this time around it looks to be extra contentious. The main reason for this is because of the Air Force’s proposal to cut airmen and aircraft from the Air National Guard in disproportionate numbers than the rest of the active and reserve forces. EANGUS has been working closely with key members of Congress to fight these cuts and will keep our members informed of developments as they arise.
The following are some other issues that EANGUS has advocated on behalf of or are currently working on:
1) The National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act of 2011 – Signed into law as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation makes the chief of the National Guard Bureau and full and legal member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This legislation also re-established the position of vice chief of the National Guard Bureau at the three-star rank and mandates that the respective Army and Air NORTHCOM commanders are selected from the National Guard.
2) The Honor America’s Guard –Reserve Retirees Act - Currently, if members of the National Guard and Reserve have not served a qualifying period of Title 10 active duty service (180 days or more), they are not considered to be veterans under Federal law. The Honor America’s Guard – Reserve Retirees Act seeks to extend honorary veteran status to those National Guard and Reserve members who qualify for retirement after 20 years, but who were never activated long enough to attain veteran’s status under the current statutory requirements. The House version of this legislation passed the House chamber on October 11, 2011 and is currently awaiting action in the Senate. *Executive Director Al Garver testified at before the House subcommittee regarding this legislation.
3) Military Construction (MILCON) – ARNG facilities will receive $773.6 million and the ANG will receive $116.2 million.
4) National Guard & Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) – the FY12- NDAA authorizes $325 million for ARNG and $315 million for ANG.
5) Post-Deployment / Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA) Leave – Currently, National Guard soldiers and airmen who have been serving as operation force in the Middle East are often times deployed in excess of the DoD rotational frequency policy of one year mobilized and five years demobilized. DoD implemented a policy change effective Oct. 1, 2011 which reduced the leave for deployed members that was promised to them under the policy in effect when they began their deployments. H.R. 4045 and S. 2121 would grandfather units mobilized and deployed before October 1, 2011, under the old policy to allow them to return home with the leave originally promised to them.
6) National Guard Birthplace – on March 28, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1339) to recognize Salem, Massachusetts, as the birthplace of the National Guard of the United States. Companion legislation, S. 2013 is currently awaiting action by the Senate.
Co-Host of Heritage Forum – In July of 2011 EANGUS co-hosted an 85-minute forum entitled: Beyond the Border; The Future of the National Guard in Homeland Security. With three panelists and a keynote by Congressman Tim Walz (the highest ranking enlisted ever to serve in Congress), the event has received many positive reviews from those who attended or watched the live streaming version.
2010 EANGUS Accomplishments:
Download 2010 Accomplishments Click Here!
Fiscal Year 2011 Legislative Accomplishments, only half the story
Due largely to the political climate before and after the November elections, the National Guard’s budget and policy guidance provided by Congress is half way there. The FY-2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law on January 7th, representing the authorization pillar supporting the Department of
Defense. The second pillar, the defense appropriations which represents the legal authority to actually spend funds, is currently operating under a temporary funding measure known as a continuing resolution (CR). The present CR expires on March 4, 2011. Congress is debating H.R.1, and should it pass both chambers of Congress, it will fund appropriations for the federal government until the end of FY-2011 on September 30, 2011. The following are issues that EANGUS has advocated on your behalf, and keep in mind that we are still very much in the process of determining the final product.
- Post 9/11 Veterans Education Improvement Act of 2010 - Signed into law on January 4th, this legislation expands GI Bill benefits to over 84,000 members of the National Guard. This will allow, for the first time, soldiers and airmen who have served under Title 32 full GI Bill educational benefits.
- National Guard & Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) $700 million – FY-11 NDAA authorizes $700 million in NGREA to provide equipment for Title 32 and Title 10 operations.
- Military Construction $1.068 billion – ARNG facilities will receive $873 million and ANG to receive $194 million in military construction funds. While this is represents an adequate funding level, the out years are below the needs to improve and maintain over 3,000 readiness centers, of which 40% are over 50 years old. The NDAA mandates that the Secretary of the Army report back to Congress on the present condition of readiness centers and the funding required to properly maintain the Guard’s facility infrastructure.
- Banned transfer of Guard & Reserve C-130s to active units – The NDAA halted Air Force attempt to take C-130s from both Guard and Reserve units across the country and place designated aircraft with an active-component unit. The Secretary of the Air Force must now submit to Congress a written agreement between all involved parties that details any plan to transfer aircraft from one component to another.
- Access to the Operational Reserve - Also included in the NDAA report language is the opinion of the Committee that current legal authorities may not offer the flexibility for the effective use of the operational reserve and recommends that the Secretary of Defense review current authorities and submit legislative proposals for additional authority needed to facilitate involuntary activation of reserve component members or units to support operational requirements.
- Temporarily hiring non-dual status technicians – This represents a partial victory, as the ARNG will be given the authority to hire only for two years 1,600 non-dual status technicians to make up for permanent technicians who are on Title 10 orders. This is in contrast to the President’s budget request of 2,520 non-dual status technicians.
2009 EANGUS Accomplishments
- Pay increase 3.4% (.5% more than requested by the President)
- No TRICARE fee increase
- TRICARE Standard for ‘Gray Area’ retirees under 60
- Reserve Component Pre-Mobilization Health Care - doubles from 90 to 180 days the amount of time a Reserve Component member is eligible for TRICARE coverage prior to mobilization
- More full-time support
- New GI Bill education benefits (tuition, stipend, books and tutors)
- Lower TRICARE Reserve Select fees
- Additional National Guard member on the Defense Military Family Readiness Council
- NG Youth Challenge: Increases DoD share of program from 60% to 75% of the costs; includes $110.8 million for the National Guard Youth Challenge
- Program, which is $15 million above the President’s request of $95.8 million
- AGR PAY INCREASE Additional (.5 Percent above Presidents Request)
- Mil-Tech Pay Increase
- Two Year advance VA funding
- Variance in Reserve Component End Strength - allows the Service Secretaries to waive Reserve Component end strength by up to two percent if such a waiver would enhance manning and readiness in essential units or in critical specialties
- Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence - allows up to $200 for each day of Admin-istrative absence that a member would have earned between January 19, 2007, and the date of the implementation of the PDMRA program had the program been implemented during that time
- Stop Loss Special Pay - authorized for any month, or portion of a month beginning October 1, 2009, and ending on June 30, 2011, for a Reserve Component member who serves on active duty while the member’s enlistment or period of obligated service is extended, or has the member’s eligibility for retirement suspended due to Stop Loss
- Continued Service after AGR Retirement - includes provisions allowing for recomputation of retired pay and election to receive Non-regular retirement pay after qualifying for regular retirement
- Military Construction - authorized $585 million in Army National Guard Military Construction ($156 million above the President’s Budget Request) and $236 million in Air National Guard Military Construction ($108 million above the President’s Budget Request.)
- $50 million for state specific National Guard counter-drug programs as well as an additional $15 million to sustain current levels of staffing for High Priority National Guard Counterdrug Programs. This continues the elevated funding for National Guard state plans nationwide which Congress has provided in recent years; includes $1.1 billion for Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug activities, Defense-wide. Fully funds the request of $166.5 million for National Guard State Plans that support domestic law enforcement efforts and counter-narcoterrorism schools
- An additional $20 million for Yellow Ribbon Reintegration and Outreach programs
- STARBASE - received full funding of $16.4 million
2008 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- Pay raise of 3.9%, 0.5% over what the President asked New GI Bill with better financial benefits, still have MGIB Tuition assistance for spouses for portable careers Increased full time support positions Recalculation (lowering) of TRICARE Reserve Select fees No TRICARE fee or pharmacy increases(3rd year in a row) Waiver of copayments for preventive health services for those under 65 Expanded medical and dental readiness with onus on services not individual Health risk management demonstration project Smoking cessation programs with Rx at no cost and 24 hr quit line Presumption of service connection for retirement eligibility (medical issues)
2007 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- Pay raise of 3.5%
- Raise creditable retirement points from 90 to 130 per year
- Early retirement provisions -- 90 days off age 60 for 90 aggregate days deployed
- Use of MGIB REAP benefits for 10 years after discharge
- IDT travel cost reimbursement in limited situations
- National Guard Empowerment Act provisions (except no seat on JCS or procurement authority)
- Repeal Insurrection Act changes
- No TRICARE fee or pharmacy increases
- Retain Mil Techs as non-dual status if combat injured and discharged
- Salute the flag when not in uniform
- Extend VA health care from 2 years to 5 years post-deployment
- Retain JCA program with Army and not transfer to Air Force
- Obtain funding for more C-17 aircraft
2006 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- TRICARE for all reservists at only ONE rate (28%) and not three rates
- Maintained end strengths of Army and Air Guard against DOD push for reductions
- Federal retirement credit for Guard members in four New Jersey counties who performed state active duty on 9/11/2001
- Restricting pay day lenders to maximum interest rate of 36%
- Stopped DOD attempts to increase TRICARE fees for under-65 retirees
- Stopped DOD attempts to charge enrollment fees and higher deductibles for TRICARE Standard
- Stopped DOD from attempting to increase pharmacy co-pays and mandatory use of TMOP
- Full funding of full time support ramp despite DOD attempt to curtail it
2005 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- Reenlistment bonus eligibility extended from 16 to 20 years service
- Modification of MGIB benefits for those who are mobilized or served on full time National Guard duty for national emergencies for more than 90 days
- Use of MGIB for mobilized members use in securing licenses and certifications
- Military retirement credit for those in NY and VA who served on state active duty after 9/11/2001
- TRICARE for all reservists (TRS)
- BAH II all but eliminated; moved threshold from 139 days of active duty to less than 30 days
- Extension of recruiting and retention authorities
- Continuance of Full Time Support ramp
- Another pay raise above the ECI, 3.5% pay increase (no targeted raises for senior enlisted this year)
- Flexible payment of assignment incentive pays
2004 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- New education benefit for Guard and Reserve members who have served in support of a contingency operation since September 11, 2001: 90 days to less than one year of service would earn 40% of the active duty MGIB benefit level; one year to less than two years earns 60% of active duty level; and two years or more of continuous duty earns 80% of the active duty level. Benefits can be paid for up to 36 months, but the member must remain in the Selected or Ready Reserve.
- New TRICARE program for Reserve Component members who commit to continued service in the Selected Reserve after release from Title 10 active duty for a contingency operation. Member receives one year of coverage, with a 28% premium, for each 90 days of Title 10 active duty served.
- Transitional health benefits for 180 days after separation from active duty made a permanent program. Requires DOD to perform a pre-separation physical exam.
- Early eligibility for TRICARE, 90 days before mobilization, made permanent.
- Authorization for increased reenlistment bonuses for Guard and Reserve members and extends the time period the bonus can be received to 16 years of service from 14 years of service.
- Extension of FEHBP coverage to 24 months for federal civilians who are on active duty.
- Clarified the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provision regarding termination of residential and motor vehicle leases - dependents also covered by that protection.
- Increase in the maximum home loan amount which VA will guarantee under its home loan guaranty program from $240,000 to $333,700, the maximum level allowed by the federally-chartered Freddie Mac program. This level would be indexed in future years to the Freddie Mac maximum amounts.
2003 EANGUS Accomplishments
- Extension of benefits under the Survivor Benefit Plan to surviving spouse of reservists not eligible for retirement who die from an injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during IDT Authorization for gray-area retirees to participate in the federal long-term care insurance
- Defeated DOD proposal to change training requirements that would have cut pay and retirement points
- Permanent VA Home Loan program for Guard and Reserve
- Extended SSCRA (now Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) protections covering higher amounts of rent and vehicle leases
- Restoration of tax-deductibility of non-reimbursable expenses for travel to drill
- TRICARE benefits for National Guard members who are unemployed or without employer-sponsored health insurance
- Unlimited commissary access for Guard and Reserve
- Targeted Pay Raise - varies according to grade, but it will be at least 4.15%
- Elimination of 7200 point rule for special compensation/concurrent receipt
- Increased full-time manning for ARNG
- Funding for an additional 12 WMD-CST teams
2002 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- Extended protections under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act to National Guard members called to active duty under Title 32
- Increase in the time to use MGIB-Selected Reserve benefits from 10 to 14 years
- A permanent reduction of minimum service required before qualifying for retirement pay from eight to six years
- Increase in Army National Guard full time manning
- Targeted pay increases for mid-grade and senior NCOs
2001 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- Targeted pay raises with at least a 6% increase for Enlisted members Immediate commissary access for new Guard and Reserve members
- Federal government agencies are directed to pay FEHBP premiums for federal Guard and Reserve employees called to active duty for more than 30 days to serve in a contingency operation
- Authorizes concurrent receipt, IF the President recommends the necessary legislation and provides the necessary funding
- Requires a study of National Guard and Reserve healthcare
- Prohibition on forced choice between DOD and VA healthcare for military retirees
- Large increase in Control Grades for AGRs
- Extension of the VA Home Loan program for Guard and Reserve members to 2009
- Increase over the President's budget request and over last year's numbers for ARNG full time manning - technicians and AGRs
- Authorizes National Guard members performing funeral honors duty the same rights, benefits, and protections provided to service members performing inactive duty training
- Cap on funding for Youth Challenge program lifted; program kept in DOD control
2000 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- TRICARE for Life - permanent lifetime TRICARE eligibility is provided for Medicare-eligible military retirees and their family members beginning FY2002. TRICARE Senior Pharmacy Program - allows participation in DOD's mail order and network retail pharmacy programs by all beneficiaries, including the over 64 population without enrollment fees.
- Medicare Subvention test - extended to December 31, 2001.
- Basic pay increase - 3.7%
- Increase in maximum number of IDT points allowed in one year - from 75 to 90
- Special compensation for severely disabled retirees beginning in FY2002.
- Additional funding for facilities enhancements - an additional $266 million for the ARNG and $195 million for the ANG.
- NCO Pay Table Reform - increased the basic pay rates for E5s through E7s as well as authorizing the Secretary of Defense to increase the pay tables for enlisted members on a one-time basis, to be effective July 1, 2001.
- An increase in the maximum number of retirement points a Guard or Reserve member can accrue in one year from 75 to 90.
- End strength increased over the budget request - by 526 for the ARNG and 22 for the ANG.
- AGR End strengths: Army - was increased 526 over the budget request or 544 over last year's authorization; Air - was increased 22 over the budget request or 13 over last year's authorization
- Dual Status Technician End strengths: Army - was increased 771 over the budget request or 3 over last year's authorization; Air - was increased 26 over the budget request but 0 over last year's authorization
- Non-dual Status Technicians End strengths: Both Army and Air were not increased over the budget request and it actually resulted in a decrease of 24 over last year's authorization.
- An additional $25 million for National Guard Counterdrug activities.
- Control grades increase for AGRs - an additional 76 E-8s and 97 E-9s in the Air Force; and an additional 228 E-8s and 119 E-9s in the Army.
- Special duty assignment pay for Guard and Reserve members.
- Authority to establish up to five additional Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams (formerly called RAID teams) for a total of 32.
- Authorization for payment of incapacitation pay for Guard and Reserve members who incur an injury, illness or disease in the performance of funeral honors duty.
- Drill pay for funeral honors duty instead of the $50 stipend.
- Extension of bonuses and special pays for Guard and Reserves: Selected Reserve Reenlistment bonus, Selected Reserve Enlistment bonus, Special Pay for Enlisted Members Assigned to Certain High Priority Units, Selected Reserve Affiliation bonus, Ready Reserve Enlistment and Reenlistment bonus, Prior Service Enlistment bonus.
- Authority for legal services for Reserve Component members following release from active duty.
- Employers are required to grant an authorized leave of absence for employees who are members of a reserve component to participate in honor guards for funerals of veterans
- Heart attacks or strokes that are incurred or aggravated by a member of a reserve component in the performance of duty while performing inactive duty training will now be considered to be service connected for purposes of benefits under laws administered by the VA
1999 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- VA Home Loan for Guard and Reserve - Extended until 2007.
- Retirement Flags - Will be given to retiring Guard and Reserve members.
- Small Business Administration Loans - Approved for mobilized Reservists.
- Pay Raise - FY2000 military pay raise of 4.8% plus targeted pay raises later in the year.
- REDUX Repeal - Servicemembers who entered the military after July 31, 1986, will receive 50% of high three year's average basic pay for 20 years of service rather than the 40% under REDUX. As an alternative, when they attain 15 years of service, servicemembers will have the option of receiving a $30,000 retention bonus, provided they agree to remain under REDUX and serve for a minimum of 20 years.
- Medical care for injured Reservists - Authorizes a member of a Reserve Component to be ordered to active duty for more than 30 days while the member is being treated for, or recovering from, an injury, illness, or disease incurred in the line of duty. Family members authorized for medical and dental care also.
1998 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- Increase in Commissary Privileges - From 12 to 24 times per year for Guard and Reserve members.
- VA Home Loan for Guard and Reserve - Extended until 2003.
- FEHBP Demonstration Program - Authorized for Medicare-eligible retirees and their families in six to ten areas of the country.
- Imminent Danger Pay Equity - Authorization acquired for Reservists to receive a full month's imminent danger pay even if their service in imminent danger is for less than one full month, on par with the active component's policy.
- Government Airfares for Reservists - Reservists authorized to use government airfares when traveling to weekend drills.
- MGIB Changes - Included in the Higher Education Act was a provision which would no longer allow Montgomery GI Bill benefits to be treated as other financial assistance (income) for the purpose of determining need for financial aid for college; 20% increase in MGIB benefits.
- Burial Flags for Reservists - The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has been directed to provide U.S. flags to drape the caskets of members or former members of the Selected Reserve.
1997 EANGUS Accomplishments:
- Pay Raise - 2.8% for FY98.
- Reserve Component Automation System - Fully funded despite proposed cuts for FY98.
- Military Leave - The President's proposal to eliminate the 15-day leave for federal civilian employees was rejected by Congress.
- Temporary Early Retirement Authority - The authority was saved for FY98.
- Education Assistance - Entitlement to educational assistance was preserved for Reservists who have to discontinue a course of study when ordered to active duty.
- New Positions on Joint Staff - Two new positions were created on the Joint Staff titled Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one for matters related to the Guard, the other for the other reserve components.
- Persian Gulf Illness - Legislation passed providing entitlement to members of Reserve Components with Persian Gulf Illness to the same medical care as an active duty member.