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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 109-01
March 14, 2001

DOD RESERVE, GUARD EMPLOYEES TO GET ADDED HEALTH BENEFIT

Department of Defense civilian employees who serve in the Reserve and National Guard will get help in maintaining affordable health care when they are deployed for a call up to active military duty in support of a contingency operation.

Under a new personnel policy, established by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, DoD organizations, agencies and the military services will pay the employee's share, in addition to the government's share, of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program premium.

DoD and the Office of Personnel Management worked together in this policy effort to encourage all federal agencies to provide this assistance to their employees who serve their country as members of the Reserve and the National Guard.

"DoD is setting the standard for all federal employers by helping their employees called to active duty for more than 30 days for a contingency operation," said Wolfowitz. "This policy will help reduce the financial burden incurred by our Reserve and National Guard members when they are part of a call-up."

The deputy secretary has asked the under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop specific implementation procedures to ensure consistency among the Services and agencies. The policy is expected to be in effect by the start of fiscal 2002.

The policy will affect members who have been called up to support on-going contingency operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Kosovo, and those who may be called up for future operations.

For more information, contact Lt. Col. Marty Hauser, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, (703) 693-8617.