Reserve Share Of NDAA Reflects Force Integration
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2000 The reserve components will use their $24.1 billion share of the fiscal 2001 National Defense Authorization Act to improve the lot of increasingly busy Guard and Reserve members.
Like their active-duty counterparts, National Guard and Reserve members will receive a 3.7 percent pay raise Jan. 1. Also, targeted raises for NCOs in pay grades E-5 through E-7 begin July 1. Other money will be used to upgrade reserve component helicopters, trucks and jet fleets, to buy other necessary items used in worldwide missions, and to fund construction projects to improve Guard and Reserve facilities.
Guard and Reserve members deserve the pay raises and equipment, especially in light of the multitude of missions they are now performing, said Charles L. Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. Today's reserve components now perform about 13 million man-days of support each year, he said, compared to about 1 million man-days just before the end of the Cold War.
For example, Cragin said, Guard and Reserve forces have been engaged in Bosnia contingency and peacekeeping operations since 1995. This, he said, is indicative of Defense Secretary William S. Cohen's 1997 decision to integrate reserve-component assets in support of the active force.
"In every single rotation in Bosnia, active-duty troops and reservists have worked side-by-side. That's frankly an example of integration," he said. "If you go to Bosnia -- if you don't know all of the Army patches that soldiers wear on their shoulders -- you would not be able to tell who was a reservist, who was in the National Guard, and who was a member of the active component."
Participation by the Guard and Reserve is necessary, Cragin said, because the two components account for about 50 percent of the total U.S. military force today. Accordingly, about $2.3 billion is slated for new or upgraded reserve component equipment in 2001. This includes new tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and radios for ground forces, new aircraft and other items.
"In Southwest Asia, we're utilizing a lot of (reserve) aviation assets. The air side of the house plays a substantial role, operating out of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Incirlik Air Base, Turkey," Cragin said. "We have many F-15 and F-16 Reserve and Guard units that rotate through those facilities to fly (Operation) Southern Watch and Northern Watch missions.
"In the Air Force side of the house ... 55 percent of the air refueling capability of the Air Force resides in its Guard and Reserve," he added.
The 2001 budget also includes F/A-18A upgrades for the Marine Corps and the Naval Reserve. Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units will get targeting equipment for precision-guided munitions "so those aircraft can be interoperable in theater," Cragin said.
Not in the 2001 Authorization Act, but being considered by officials is a proposal to align reserve component and active duty flight pay, Cragin noted. Guard and Reserve pilots, navigators and aircrew earn flight pay by the day - - an active duty aviator who flies at least one mission in a month earns the entire month's pay.
Cragin said the Army, DoD's largest service, is using its Authorization Act dollars for sweeping modernization, to include its reserve forces.
"The Army chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, is looking at the transformation of the Army, and I emphasize that it is 'The Army,' the 'Total Army,'" Cragin said. "He looks at his enhanced separate brigades and his divisions in the Guard the same way he looks at all the other forces, including all the Army Reserve personnel."
DoD has been successful getting reserve leaders to the table and participating in resource discussions and the development of service budgets, Cragin said. This is necessary, he said, because equipment interoperability is paramount when active and reserve component forces deploy together.
"When we take a Black Hawk or Apache helicopter unit to Bosnia -- we've done both with Reserve and Guard units -- we have to make sure that their equipment is ready, compatible, and that it has the right sort of communications gear," Cragin said. "If you're going to deploy ground personnel, you need to make sure they have the SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground and Airborne System) radios.
"The necessity, the reality is such that it forces integration. This is not something that is nice; this is something that is necessary. And the Guard and Reserve have really answered the call," he concluded.
The $309.9 billion fiscal 2001 National Defense Authorization Act was signed by President Clinton Oct. 30. To view a comprehensive list of affected Guard and Reserve issues, see the Defenselink news release at www.defenselink.mil/releases/2000/b11072000_bt682-00.html.