Nearly 1.4 million members of the National Guard and Reserve will benefit significantly from the $309.9 billion fiscal 2001 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which President Clinton signed into law Oct. 30.
Starting Jan. 1, Guard and Reserve members will see a 3.7 percent increase in drill and annual training pay, and numerous other incentives and benefits that the Department of Defense believes will keep them in uniform longer and attract more young people to join the force.
National Guard and Reserve members now can receive credit for up to 90 points each year for inactive duty training, completion of correspondence courses and membership in the Guard or Reserve. This is a 15-point-per-year increase over the previous limit and will allow Guard and Reserve members who perform additional drills and complete additional study through correspondence courses to receive credit for their extra effort, which will be used to calculate their Reserve retired pay. Also included are improvements in special pays and benefits.
"The 2001 NDAA helps every man and woman in this force - active, Guard and Reserve," said Charles L. Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. "We are so fortunate to have the most dedicated, hardest working military force in the world. The authorization act gives them the tools to do their jobs while improving their quality of life and taking care of their families."
The 2001 NDAA:
Establishes the effective date for participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) by active and Reserve personnel as 180 days after the date of enactment of the act. The secretary of Defense may delay implementation for an additional 180 days if implementation at the specified date would prevent the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board from being able to provide timely and accurate services to investors or would place an excessive burden on the administrative capacity of the board to accommodate participants in the TSP. Some delay is likely due to the need for system changes.
Authorizes $668.8 million for National Guard and Reserve military construction (MILCON), an increase of $446.8 million above the president's budget. The fiscal 2001 MILCON authorization is $24.2 million more than the fiscal 2000 MILCON authorization for the National Guard and Reserve. This increase funds construction for 61 new projects for Guard and Reserve facilities.
Authorizes approximately $2.3 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment, including the president's budget request of $1.3 billion and congressional adds of $1 billion.
Procurement highlights include:
The Army National Guard received authorization for two UH-60L and two UH-60Q helicopters in addition to the six UH-60 aircraft in the president's budget. Also, authorized were UH-60 helicopter firefighting (Firehawk) kits, upgrades to the Bradley fighting vehicles, medium tactical vehicles (MTV), 10 special purpose vehicles for Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams, SINCGARS radios, Enhanced Position Location Reporting Systems for the enhanced separate brigades, Force-on-Force Instrumented Range Systems for mechanized units, and the Distance Learning Program.
The Army Reserve received authorization for eight UH-60L helicopters from Congress in the active component account. Also, funding was authorized for Highly Mobile Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, MTV, and for vibratory rollers that attach to tractors and heavy engineering equipment.
The Naval Reserve received authorization for one C-40 aircraft from Congress in addition to the president's budget. Funding was authorized for radar and avionics upgrades to Marine Corps Reserve F/A-18A aircraft and night vision kits for H-53 helicopters.
The Air National Guard received authorization for one EC-130J aircraft from Congress, plus funding for F-15 countermeasures dispensers, F-16 Block 42 Engine Retrofit, and KC-135 re-engining kits in addition to the president's Budget.
The Air Force Reserve received authorization for the amount requested in the president's budget.
The 2001 NDAA also:
Allows the president to appoint children of National Guard and Reserve personnel to the Service academies as part of the 100 he may select for each academy from children of armed forces members. To be eligible for an appointment, the Reserve member must have been credited with at least eight years of service computed for Reserve retirement (2,880 retirement points), or have qualified for a non-regular retirement (gray area and age 60 retirees).
Authorizes Service secretaries to pay either drill pay or the $50 stipend to Guard and Reserve members when training for or performing funeral honors in the new funeral honors duty status, which was established last year. Previously, members were authorized only the $50 stipend. Also, Guard and Reserve members who are injured or become ill while in a funeral honors duty status are now eligible for incapacitation pay.
Recognizes the increased responsibility placed on mid-grade enlisted members by providing an added pay increase for enlisted personnel in the pay grades of E-5 through E-7. This pay increase will take effect on July 1, 2001, and is in addition to the January 1, 2001, 3.7 percent pay increase.
Allows Reserve forces members to travel "space required" on military aircraft when traveling between the member's home and place of annual training or inactive duty training, both inside and outside the United States. This significantly expands the travel authority enacted last year that authorized National Guard and Reserve members to travel space required to an inactive duty training site outside the United States.
Retains Reserve forces officers who are called to active duty, with their consent, for three years or less, on the Reserve Active Status List, rather than placing them on the Active Duty List (ADL). Previously, only officers voluntarily serving on active duty for 180 days or less were exempt from being placed on the ADL. Reserve forces officers on active duty for up to three years can now be considered for promotion by a Reserve promotion selection board rather than an active-duty promotion selection board.
Authorizes National Guard and Reserve members and their dependents legal assistance for their personal legal affairs (subject to the availability of legal staff) following release from active duty from a mobilization for more than 30 days. If legal staff is available, assistance can be provided for at least twice as long as the period of mobilization. This will help Guard and Reserve members and their families with legal matters following a mobilization.
Entitles Guard and Reserve members who are in certain skills or job designated by the Service secretary to special duty assignment pay when performing inactive duty training. Guard and Reserve members can now be paid one day of the incentive pay for each drill.
Specifies that Reserve forces medical officers are authorized their special pay while performing any type of active duty (annual training, active duty for training, active duty for special work and active duty). It also makes clear that Guard and Reserve medical and dental officers may not be paid the Reserve and active duty special pay at the same time.
Expands TRICARE Prime Remote and eliminates co-payments under TRICARE Prime for Service member's immediate family.
Authorizes Guard and Reserve members traveling to inactive duty training more than 50 miles from their home to be eligible for on-base billeting in Department of Defense facilities on the same basis as active duty members traveling on official business.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2001, Guard and Reserve members who do not elect a full, immediate annuity under the Reserve Component Survivor Benefits Plan (RC-SBP) will be required to get the spouse's written consent when making the RC-SBP election, including any decision not to participate in RC-SBC. This is consistent with the requirement for active duty members when making an SBP election.
Authorizes five more full-time National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams, bringing the total number of teams to 32.
Reaffirms the secretary of Defense role to establish policy for and oversight of all DoD youth programs. The National Guard Bureau will continue to administer the Challenge Program under this provision.
Requires the appointment of RC chiefs and National Guard directors to the rank of lieutenant general/vice admiral (O-9) within one year and provides for a corresponding increase in the number of O-9 officers authorized to serve on active duty. It also extended the authority to waive, on a case-by-case basis, the joint Service requirement until Oct. 1, 2003, for those officers nominated for appointment as one of the Reserve chiefs.
Provides active and Reserve forces officers equal eligibility for involuntary separation pay. Under this provision, active, Guard and Reserve officers who twice fail to be selected for promotion will be eligible for separation pay. However, officers who have failed twice to be selected for promotion and who subsequently decline continuation after being selected for continuation for a period that would allow them to qualify for retirement would no longer be entitled to separation pay.
Allows the secretary of Transportation to establish promotion zones based on mission requirements and projected manning needs when selection boards are considering Coast Guard Reserve officers for promotion. The secretary retains the authority to use the running mate system, if he so elects.
Excludes Reserve medical and dental officers of the Army and Air Force from counting against the maximum number of officers authorized in the grades of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel. This is the same exemption that already exists for active duty and Naval Reserve medical and dental officers.
Amends the mandatory separation or retirement of Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve non-dual status technicians to specify that required action based on becoming eligible for an unreduced annuity is now based upon the individual reaching age 60. Also, Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve non-dual status technicians who were separated or retired as a result of the changes to the law last year but have not reached age 60 may, with the approval of the Service secretary, be reinstated to the technician status held by that individual immediately before separation. The effective date of reinstatement is the date the employee resumes technician status.
Exempts a limited number of Guard and Reserve members on active duty for up to 270 days in support of unified and specified commanders in chief requirements from counting against active duty end strength.
Guard and Reserve officers may now be considered for continuation without the officer first applying for continuation.
Permits the names of officers recommended for promotion to a grade below brigadier general or rear admiral (lower half) by a promotion selection board to be released when the board report is transmitted to the president. For officers recommended for promotion to a general or flag grade, the names may be released when the president approves the selection board report.
For more information, please call Army National Guard Col. Terry Jones at (703) 693-8617.