Homeland Security Chief Pledges to Support Guardsmen, Reservists
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 14, 2005 The president's top homeland security adviser pledged Nov. 10 to support National Guardsmen and Reservists who are also civilian employees in the newest U.S. Cabinet department.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signed a "5-Star" statement of support for the National Guard and Reserve Nov. 10 in Washington, D.C.
The 5-Star statement of support confirms that the U. S. Department of Homeland Security:
- Signed a statement of support publicly demonstrating its support for its employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve;
- As a federal employer, promises to safeguard job positions, support continuation of medical and dental benefits for family members, grant leaves of absence for military service without penalty of lost vacation time to those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve, to the extent allowed under applicable laws;
- Ensures men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve will not be denied employment with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, nor will there be limited or reduced job and career opportunities due to service in the Guard or Reserve; and
- Is an advocate for employee service in the National Guard and Reserve.
"Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's National Guard and Reserve units." Craig W. Duehring, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, said. "I am asking all of America's employers to review and amend their current human-resources policies to ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act Law.
"This is a significant event not only for the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, but for all federal civil service employees," Duehring said at the signing ceremony. "The federal government is one of the largest employers of National Guardsmen and Reservists in the country."
"I am proud of our 300 civilian employees on military furlough who now serve on active duty and the 47,000 active duty and reserve Coast Guard men and women," Chertoff said. "To them and to the DHS employees with family members who have served in the military, we say, 'thank you' for the personal sacrifices made for our country."
"By meeting the 5-Star statement of support criteria, the management of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stands proudly with their Guard and Reserve employees who, like the Minutemen before them, continue to answer their nation's call to defend our way of life. Their personal sacrifices are essential to the strength of our nation," Duehring added.
The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972. The mission of ESGR is to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve. ESGR volunteers provide free education, consultation and, if necessary, mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees.
As the 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions that require extraordinary actions on the part of everyday citizens, ESGR will continue to be the informational agency for the employers of America's new Minute Men, ESGR officials said.
(Based on an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve news release.)