Sunday, August 13, 2006

NGAUS Notes: Aug. 11, 2006

Guard Called Up to Airport Security after Foiled U.K. Terror Plot

Three governors activated National Guardsmen to augment airport security in the wake of yesterday's announcement by British authorities of the arrest of several people involved in a plot to blow up commercial airliners bound for the United States. The governors of California, Massachusetts and New York called up troops to help secure several airports in their states in support of the federal Transportation Security Administration(TSA) and local law enforcement agencies. This came as U.S. Department of Homeland Security raised the terror level for flights from Great Britain to red (severe).National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in California received authorization from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to use Guardsmen on state active duty to support TSA airport security. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney put Guardsmen on state active duty to assist at Boston's Logan International Airport. New York received Gov. George Pataki's authorization to mobilize 75 Guardsmen to supplement critical infrastructure security already in place. These call-ups came as all U.S. domestic flights were under orange alert, the Department of Homeland Security’s second highest security ranking. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the British plot involved the use of liquid explosives that could be carried on board aircraft disguised as beverages, electronic devices and other common objects. It's not the first time the Guard has been called up to help secure commercial airports. After the 9/11 attacks, 52 states and territories activated more than 7,000 Guardsmen for similar missions in 442 airports across the country.
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Few Benefit from New Income-Replacement Program

A New Defense Department program announced this month should ease the financial hardships of some activated National Guardsmen and Reservists who suffer income loss when on active duty. But program rules limit eligibility, in most cases, to only those at the very end of the longest mobilizations. The Reserve Income Replacement Program (RIRP) will pay those eligible the difference between their total monthly military pay and their 12-month average civilian income (if greater than $50) up to a maximum of $3,000 per month. Congress created RIRP in the fiscal year 2006 defense authorization act. The program expires at the end of 2008. Various studies indicate that from 25 to 50 percent of Guardsmen and Reservists suffer income loss when on active duty. They now become eligible RIRP for any full month following the date they complete the requisite eligibility service requirements, which include one of the following:

*Be serving on active duty in an involuntary status and have completed 18 continuous months of involuntary active duty, or

*Have completed 24 cumulative months of involuntary active duty within the last 60 months, or

*Be serving on involuntary active duty for a period of 180 days or more that starts within six months of separation from a previous period on involuntary active duty for at least 180 days.

Program payments, however, are not automatic. Guardsmen and Reservists must apply for the RIRP payments through their service personnel offices.Complete RIRP information, including a downloadable eligibility verification form, can be found at www.defenselink.mil/ra/.
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President: National Guard Improving Southwest Border Security

The deployment of more than 6,000 National Guardsmen to the U.S. southwest border met a key objective in the government's efforts to secure the border, President Bush said in Washington, D.C., Monday. The president visited the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector in Texas Aug. 3, and saw firsthand how Guardsmen are working with Border Patrol agents. "National Guard troops are helping with surveillance, construction and logistics," he said in his weekly radio address. "They're building and repairing fences, maintaining vehicles, and manning detection equipment on the border and in command centers." The arrival of National Guard units has allowed the Border Patrol to move more agents into front-line positions, and this additional manpower is delivering results, Mr. Bush said. He credited the Guard with helping the Border Patrol seize 17,000 pounds of illegal drugs and apprehend 2,500 illegal immigrants since Operation Jump Start began. The president told Guardsmen during a speech in Mission, Texas, Aug. 3 that he had ordered them to the border while the Border Patrol beefs up its force and technology assets. "We're going to train 6,000 additional agents," he said. "The reason we brought the Guard down here was because we knew we had an immediate need to enforce the border. "And the plan is working. It makes sense," Mr. Bush added. "If we need more manpower and the need for manpower is immediate, it makes sense to call upon our Guard troops to come and help the Border Patrol do the job. "Officials indicate the Guard presence on the border will last up to two years.
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Officials Accept Conference Speaking Invites

Several elected and senior military officials have accepted invitations to address the 128th NGAUS Conference and Exhibition next month in Albuquerque, N.M. The list includes New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, Gen. Bruce Carlson, Air Materiel Command commander, Gen. Ronald F. Keys, Air Combat Command commander, Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, Air Mobility Command commander, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, First U.S. Army commander, and Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief. They will speak during one of the three main business sessions or at either the Army or Air separate sessions. NGAUS officials anticipate adding two or three more prominent speakers in the days ahead. A preliminary agenda will be posted to www.ngaus.org later this month. Agenda and other conference updates also will be included in NGAUS NOTES. For the fourth consecutive year, NGAUS is also scheduling special professional development sessions during the conference. Topics this year include transformational leadership and emergency response.
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Association History

In 1939, General George C. Marshall was invited to address the NGAUS General Conference in Baltimore. He came up from Washington, D.C., dressed in a business suit and apologized at the outset that his remarks might be disjointed since he would be talking without notes. "We have been busy up to the last moment before coming here," he noted, and requested that his remarks "be considered as off the record." At the conclusion of his speech — which was in the nature of a situation report with respect to the role of the National Guard in the modernization of the Army — he was thanked by Maj. Gen. James C. Dozier, NGAUS president. "Your remarks," General Dozier assured him, "will be kept in confidence. "Nothing appeared in the official proceedings of the 1939 conference nor was any transcript ever retained in NGAUS files. Eleven months later, the first "peacetime" mobilization of the Guard got underway.
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Week In Guard History

Aug. 9, 1945: A single B-29 bomber named "Bock's Car" dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, the second to be dropped following Hiroshima, killing about 73,000 people. The pilot of "Bock's Car", Maj. Charles W. Sweeney, would in 1956, at age 37, become the youngest brigadier general in the entire peacetime Air Force when he was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts to command the 102nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard. Japan surrendered Aug. 12, 1945, formally signing the agreement aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2, 1945.
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