Secretary of Defense Robert Gates yesterday directed the Department of Defense to implement or continue taking action on 64 recommendations made by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves.
Gates also determined that the department had already taken the appropriate action on 18 other recommendations—thereby acting on 82 of the commission’s 95 recommendations. He deferred to other federal departments on two recommendations and determined that no action would be taken on 11 recommendations.
The commission issued its final report, with 95 recommendations in all, on Jan. 31, 2008. Gates subsequently established a working group made up of senior representatives from all elements within DoD and other federal agencies to assess each recommendation and determine appropriate courses of action. The secretary’s guidance to the department was based on the assessment of this working group.
“It is significant that the commission validated two of the strategic initiatives the department undertook several years ago” wrote Gates, “the operational role of the Reserve components and the continuum of service personnel management construct.”
Another consistent theme from the commission’s recommendations that the department has already been addressing is the issue of family and troop support during deployment and reintegration. The commission recommended expansion of funding for reserve component family support services, extended transition assistance, and standardizing the reintegration process for all returning service members. The recommendations serve to reinforce actions DoD has already taken on these issues, such as establishing a “Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program” as required by the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.”
"We look forward to working with the Army and the Air Force with an eye toward resolving the recommendations of the Commission on the Guard and Reserves," said Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau. "I appreciate the secretary's bold initiatives in addressing the commission's recommendations, and the department's recognition of the operational role of the National Guard and Reserves."