Monday, September 25, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update 9/25/2006

Congress’ Final Weeks

Congress is working to complete action on several legislative items before adjourning for mid-term elections. Of importance to the Guard--the fate of the FY07 Defense Authorization and FY07 Defense Appropriations bill. Both the House and Senate are making plans to adjourn on September 29, to allow members of both chambers to return home for the final critical weeks before the November 7th elections.

Defense Authorization Update

Both the House and Senate are in final negotiations trying to find compromises on the differences included within each report. One difference includes language contained in the House report that would allow military chaplains to end their prayers with the phrase "in Jesus’ name." In an effort to avoid legal entanglements, some military commanders are allowing only non-secular prayers to be used at military functions. Final agreements on the conference report are expected next week. Included within the Defense Authorization bill are provisions important to the National Guard. They include:

National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006 (Alert #06-21)

Within the Senate version of the Authorization bill, legislation is included that would elevate the Chief of the Guard Bureau to a four-star position, would designate the Deputy Commander at NORTHCOM a Guard member, and establishes Guard service as a “joint.” These provisions were added as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, which is currently in conference between the House and Senate. Contact your member of Congress and ask that this legislation be included in the final version of the Authorization Bill.

TRICARE (Alert #06-16)

The House version of the Authorization bill contains a measure that would provide TRICARE access to all members of the National Guard. The provision would set a Guard member’s premium cost-share of 28 percent while the Department of Defense would pay 72 percent of the premium regardless of duty status. Urge your Senator to support this language and keep it in the final bill.

Section 511 of the Defense Authorization Bill (Alert #06-13)

Another item included within H.R. 5122, the House version of the defense authorization bill, is a provision that would allow the President to federalize National Guard members during a “serious natural or man-made disaster, accident or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possessions, or Puerto Rico,” without prior consultation with the governor. This would allow the federal government to control National Guard members during times when governors will need those troops the most, thereby negating the inherent line of authority from governor to adjutant general to individual Army and Air National Guard units. The National Guard Association of the United States strongly opposes Section 511 of H.R. 5122. Conference committee members should be made aware of the dangerous precedent set by this proposal.

Joint Cargo Aircraft (Alert #06-19)

The House version of the Authorization bill includes funding for the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program while the Senate does not. NGAUS supports the House language to fund JCA. As you know, the Army National Guard is scheduled to field the JCA to replace aging and lesser performing C-23 and C-26 aircraft. The National Guard Bureau is also promoting the JCA as a follow-on mission for Air National Guard wings that will lose aircraft as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). When not deployed in support of the Global War on Terror or other contingencies, these aircraft will be available for state missions such as disaster response and homeland security. Write your member of Congress to urge their support for this important issue.

Defense Appropriations Update

Both chambers are in negotiations to finalize the FY07 Defense Appropriations bill before adjourning next Friday. At issue are the differing funding allocations between the two bills. The Senate would reduce the President’s request by $9 billion while the House cuts $4.1 billion. The final measure includes $70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and includes funding for equipment lost or damaged while overseas. One issue of particular concern to the future of the Air National Guard was funding for the C-17 Globemaster which is included in the Defense Appropriations conference report. Both the House and Senate supported funds that would continue the aircraft’s production for future procurement, but purchasing 10 more aircraft. NGAUS supports Congress’ efforts to keep the line open in the hopes that additional future C-17s will be assigned to the Air Guard.

NGAUS Conference

The 128th General Conference wrapped up on Monday of this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During the conference, a total of 57 resolutions were passed by the membership. These resolutions and their related issues will be prioritized to form our legislative agenda before being presented to Congress as part of NGAUS 2007 lobbying efforts. The NGAUS task forces will be working to prioritize the resolutions; if you are interested in participating--contact the Task Force Chairs listed on the NGAUS website.

"We Serve"

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Saturday, September 9, 2006

NGAUS Legislative: Congress Returns

Both the House and Senate returned to work after the month long August recess.

The Senate reconvened and immediately resumed action on the FY07 Defense Appropriations Act. The chamber is expected to pass the bill before the end of the week. Once complete, both the House and Senate must reconcile the differences between the two bills. With the end of the fiscal year looming, both the House and Senate Defense Appropriations members are hoping to complete the final bill before the end of September. Election year politics might overtake final action on the bill, delaying its final passage, NGAUS will continue to update you as the bill progresses.

Some of the items of importance to NGAUS in the Appropriations bill for the Army Guard include: restoring funding for the Joint Cargo Aircraft, funding for Light Utility Helicopter, recapitalization of tracked vehicles for the Army Guard. On the Air National Guard side, maximum funding for F-15 advanced electronic scanned array radars; maintaining funding for F-16 Engine Upgrades; and funding for C-130 color weather radar. NGAUS is also focusing on requesting increased funding for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account.

Defense Authorization

The conference between the House and Senate on the Defense Authorization bill continues. Both chambers are expected to wrap up work on the Authorization bill during the next few weeks.

NGAUS top issues in the Authorization conference include:
-Reconciling differences between House and Senate language on TRICARE. NGAUS supports the more enhanced House version of TRICARE; encourage your Senators to recede to the House language (see Legislative Alert #06-16).

-Addressing Guard Early Access to retirement—the Senate provision would reduce the age in which Guard and Reserve members can access their retirement by 3 months for every 90 days served on active duty since 2001. NGAUS supports the Senate version, as the House does not contain such a provision.

-Guard Empowerment—the Senate included language introduced by Senators Bond and Leahy (provisions of the Guard Empowerment Act) that would promote the Chief of the Guard Bureau to a four-star position, and designate that the deputy commander at NORTHCOM be a Guard member. NGAUS supports the Senate language. To take action, check out our legislative alert #06-18 on the NGAUS Web site.

Guard Caucus Leaders Object to Language

On Thursday, Senators Bond (Mo.) and Leahy (Vt.) addressed a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee requesting that language in the Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 5122) be removed by the committee conferees. The language, Section 511, would authorize the President to take control of the Guard in “a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possession, or Puerto Rico”, without their consent.

NGAUS is opposed to the language included in Section 511 and is working to get the language removed from the final conference bill. See additional information on the NGAUS homepage, #06-13.

NGAUS Conference

The 128th NGAUS General Conference begins next week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the uninitiated, the Conference runs from Saturday, September 16 thru Monday, September 18. The conference, hosted by the New Mexico National Guard, will showcase Guard industry contractors, guest speakers at the Business sessions, professional development breakouts and the annual all states’ dinner. For details on the conference, visit our NGAUS Web site: www.ngaus.org.

NGAUS Job Openings

NGAUS has two job openings in its Legislative Affairs department. See the link on the NGAUS homepage for complete details.
“We Serve”

Providing NGAUS members with effective and knowledgeable representation on Capitol Hill.

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:
Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Legislative Director
Scott Hommel, Deputy Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Andy Vanlandingham, Air Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Emily Breitbach, Legislative Analyst


For more information on NGAUS, check out our Web site: www.ngaus.org/.

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NGAUS Notes: Sept. 9, 2006

Planning Now Set for 128th Conference and Exhibition
With the confirmation of all speakers for the business and professional-development sessions, planning is now complete for the 128th NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition next week in Albuquerque, N.M.

Open conference events begin Friday morning, Sept. 15 with the NGAUS Golf Tournament. Play will be on two championship 18-hole courses: the University of New Mexico Golf Course and the Santa Ana Golf Course. The exhibition opens at 4 p.m. the same day with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an all-comers reception at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

This year's trade show features more than 500 companies and organizations that either currently supply products and services to the Guard or are interested in becoming a provider.

The business sessions begin at noon Saturday, Sept. 16 in the convention center's Kiva Auditorium with a local cultural celebration and the colorful Roll Call of States.

Featured speakers the First Business Session include Gen. Ronald E. Keyes, commander, Air Combat Command, and Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief.

Guest speakers the next two days include Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey.

The Albuquerque Zoo will host this year's Governor's Reception next Saturday evening, Sept. 16.

For the fourth consecutive year, NGAUS will hold separate professional development sessions the Sunday and Monday of the conference. Topics include transformation leadership, emergency response and developing tomorrow's adaptive leaders.

A complete conference agenda and list of exhibitors is available at www.ngaus.org.

Equipment Reimbursement Deadline Looms
The Army's reimbursement claim filing deadline for the protective gear reimbursement program is Oct. 3.

Last year the Army began reimbursing soldiers who purchased body armor and certain other protective, health and safety equipment for Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom.

A reimbursable purchase is a qualifying item bought after Sept. 10, 2001, and before April 2, 2006.

The Army reimburses a claimant for the full purchase price plus shipping costs for each item - up to $1,100 for any single item - if proof of purchase is provided. Without it, the Defense Department reimburses at a rate pre-established for the item's category.

Soldiers are to file claims with the first field grade commander in their current chain of command.

Former soldiers and deceased soldiers' survivors may file by mail to the U.S. Army Claims Service (USARCS) at the address in block 12 of the claims form, DD Form 2902.

The U.S. Army Claims Service in Fort Meade, Md., has received 138 Army claims, says Maj. Paul Cucuzzella, USARCS project officer. He estimates that 25 percent of those are Guard claims.

A few claims for items such as knives or scopes for M-16 rifles have been declined. Overall, "we've been liberal about approving claims," he said.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will pay claimants after the USARCS processes the claims. Current soldiers receive direct deposits in their regular pay accounts; DFAS sends checks to the others.

To get the list of reimbursable items and download claim forms, visit www.jagcnet.army.mil.

Pentagon to Hold Limited Tours as Before the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
As the fifth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Pentagon officials will briefly reprise the pre-Sept. 11 tour program, conducting tours for the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

Pentagon tour guides will greet guests near the Memorial Gate, in the Pentagon's south parking lot, and escort them to the site where American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building.

Just inside that entrance is the America's Heroes Memorial. Visitors also will view the site under construction that will contain the Pentagon memorial.

Parking restrictions will remain in effect, however. Those wishing to take the tour and who have a Pentagon parking pass may park in their designated areas. All other visitors should use Metrorail and exit at the Pentagon stop.

The public tours are part of events commemorating the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. The weekend's highlight is the America Supports You Freedom Walk on Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. The walk starts near the Washington Monument and ends at the Pentagon. More than 120 similar walks in all 50 states are scheduled to commemorate that day.

America Supports You spotlights ways the American people and corporate sector support U.S. service members.

Job Openings in Legislative Department
Deputy Director of Legislative Programs
Candidate will be responsible for assisting legislative director in the daily operations and execution of legislative agenda. Duties will include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, conducting and overseeing administrative duties, and assisting in staff management. Successful candidate will have 3-5 years of legislative experience and strong knowledge of the defense community. Those interested must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in political science or government affairs, strong communication skills, experience in legislative campaign project development and the ability to supervise personnel and lobbying efforts.

Joint Programs Lobbyist
Candidate will be responsible for lobbying for Army and Air National Guard personnel and benefits issues on Capitol Hill. Duties include direct lobbying, strategy formulation and implementation, coalition development and administrative duties relevant to the joint programs issue area. Successful candidate will have 3-5 years of legislative experience and strong knowledge of the defense community. Interested candidates must possess a bachelor's degree, preferably in political science and/or government affairs, strong advocacy and communication skills. Military experience a plus.

Interested candidates should send cover letter and resume to:
NGAUS
Legislative Director
One Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
or e-mail Richard Green.
Closing date for both positions is Sept. 22, 2006.

NGAUS History
In January 1957, NGAUS formed two new committees: Army Affairs and retired officers. Those additions brought the number of committees up to 12, including legislation; finance; membership; publication; public relations; constitution and by-laws; building; construction, criteria and technicians; history of the National Guard.

The committee members represented all areas of the Army and all of the numbered Air Forces bracketing the Air National Guard - all grades from one bars to two stars.

A major consideration in their selection was their availability to drop everything and come to Washington, D.C. - sometimes on short notice - to tackle matters affecting the Guard's and the National Guard Association's welfare.

This Week in Guard History
Sept. 9, 1943: Salerno, Italy - As part of the Allied invasion of Italy, the Americans land four divisions south of Naples. Three of these were the Guard's 34th (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota), 36th (Texas) and 45th (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma) infantry divisions.

Little resistance was expected since the Italian government had surrendered just prior to the landings. However, strong German forces contest the invasion and inflict heavy causalities on the Americans. During this operation the 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division earns a Presidential Unit Citation for its determined advance in spite of concentrated enemy fire.

The 36th and 45th divisions would later take part in the invasion of southern France and end the war deep inside of Germany, while the 34th Division would continue fighting up the Italian "boot" securing the Po River Valley by war's end.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Team Member of the Week

Operation Paperback, founded in 1999, provides gently used books to help entertain our troops while they are deployed overseas. Originally serving only Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the program has expanded to send more than 300,000 paperbacks all over the world, from Iceland to Afghanistan. The organization will also be involved with the second annual Freedom Walk taking place in Washington, D.C. this weekend with a table on-site at the Pentagon along with other America Supports You members. To learn more, visit Operation Paperback.

This post has been moved here from DoD Daily News-2.

Corporation Targets Group for Support

By Samantha L. Quigley / American Forces Press Service.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2006 - Target Corporation, a national retailer, has taken aim at a Washington area troops support group, providing it with a $20,000 donation, the founder and president of Our Military Kids said.

"I actually approached Target to see if they, as a corporation, would be interested in providing us with any financial support for our program," Linda Davidson said. "They ... evaluated the program and came back to us and said they would be very interested in helping to support the fine-arts portion of our grant program."

Our Military Kids, Inc., works to ensure children of deployed and severely injured Reserve and National Guard members, in kindergarten through the 12th grade, can afford to participate in youth sports, fine-arts and tutoring programs, according to the group's Web site.

The organization is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting ways the American people and the corporate sector support the nation's servicemembers.

The Target Foundation donation will provide for about 60 additional grants for children wishing to participate in a fine-arts activity, Davidson said. The grants can be up to $500 per person for six months of an activity, but usually average $320.

"We were hopeful that we could get them to cover the fine-arts portion, because that seemed to fall into the focus of their foundation," she said. "We're hoping to develop an ongoing relationship with (Target), that they might help us with at least the fine arts portion of our program."

Davidson said most requests her group receives center on sports, and especially martial arts.

Initially founded in March 2005, Our Military Kids set out to help the children of deployed or injured reserve-component personnel just in the greater Washington area, she said.

"The military grapevine is very fluid and we were receiving calls from all over the country from families that had heard about our program and were asking us when we were coming to their state," Davidson said.

Since they had the money and had not had to turn down a grant request to that point, Davidson said, she her two-person staff decided to entertain the widespread requests and see how the program continued to grow.

"Knock on wood, so far, we've not had to turn any applicant down, and we've awarded grants in ... 35 or 36 states now," she said. "So, in just a little over a year, it has grown tremendously. We're hoping as the number of applications increase, so do the donations that we receive ... from the corporate world and from individuals."

Original contributors, including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and the Freddie Mac Foundation, have stepped up to the plate and either renewed or increased their initial donations.

"(General Dynamics) said that was one of the best investments that they had made in charitable dollars and they were very happy to give us additional funds to expand the program," Davidson said. The defense contractor increased its initial $25,000 donation to $100,000 this year.

The commonwealth of Virginia has given Our Military Kids one of its biggest assists, Davidson said. Thanks to Virginia's former and current governors, Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine, respectively, children of Virginia's reserve-component personnel can apply for a second grant. This is a luxury Our Military Kids can't afford to offer in other states without federal or state funding, Davidson said.

"Governor Warner, before he left office, became aware of our program, and he had authorized $100,000 in the state budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year," she said. "Governor Kane kept that in the budget, and we have received that money to help us fund the program in the state of Virginia.

"It's a goal of ours to get enough funding so that we can offer second grants to children across the country," she added.

Throughout its short existence, Our Military Kids has continued to grow and has given nearly 500 grants, Davidson said. And though it's been a busy year, she said it's all worth it.

"It's very rewarding. The stories we hear and the 'Thank You' notes and the calls that we get are very touching," she said. "It's worked out to be all that we had hoped and more."

Information on how to apply for an Our Military Kids grant is available on the organization's Web site

Source: America Supports You.

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Teens Nominated for Charitable Work Award

By Samantha L. Quigley / American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2006 - Americans can help the nation's servicemembers by helping Brittany and Robbie Bergquist and their organization, Cell Phones for Soldiers, win one of three $50,000 Volvo for Life Awards.

Cell Phones for Soldiers recycles used cell phones, personal data assistants, iPods and ink printer cartridges, and uses the profits to buy prepaid calling cards for deployed servicemembers. The Bergquists have raised more than $1 million and have distributed more than 100,000 prepaid cards to date.

"Winning the Volvo for Life Award would mean that more of our troops can be helped by our organization," Brittany said in a telephone interview from her family's home in Norwell, Mass. "It would be an incredible honor to receive this award and would give Cell Phones for Soldiers the recognition that it needs to let people all across the country know about what we are doing to help our military and their families keep in touch."

Cell Phones for Soldiers is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program that spotlights ways the American people and the corporate sector support the nation's servicemembers.

The annual Volvo for Life Awards program recognizes and rewards everyday, real-life heroes across America, according to the car company's Web site.

The teens are among 250 finalists, five per state, competing for one of three top prizes. The state finalists were chosen from among the semi-finalists of Volvo's past four contests. The Bergquists were chosen as semi-finalists last year after their mother entered them in 2005.

The siblings were encouraged to reapply this year because Volvo, the administrator of the awards, has added a twist to the contest. In a switch from the previous four years, Volvo is asking Americans to weigh in on which of the 250 state finalists should go on to compete for the top prizes.

"A vote for Brittany and Robbie is a vote for the troops!" Brittany Bergquist said.

A panel of celebrity judges will choose the top three winners after Americans narrow down the field of 250. If the Bergquists finish in the top three, it would mean a $50,000 charitable contribution to Cell Phones for Soldiers. That would equal about 10,000 prepaid phone cards with 60 minutes of "talk time" for deployed servicemembers, Brittany said.

If chosen as the grand award recipient, the siblings also would win a lease on a new Volvo every three years for the rest of their lives. Brittany said that one car wouldn't be a problem, at least for a while.

"I'll get my license before Robbie, so I guess I'll have to drive the Volvo," she said. "When he gets his license, maybe I'll consider sharing!"

The Bergquists have numerous awards to their credit for their work keeping deployed servicemembers connected to loved ones. In October, they will receive a National Caring Award from the Caring Institute.

But the siblings, who started out to help one deployed soldier who racked up a tremendous cell phone bill, don't do it for the accolades. Their reasoning today is the same as it was in 2004 when they started their nonprofit organization: to help servicemembers.

"It would be an award that wouldn't be just for Robbie and me," Brittany said, of the Volvo for Life Award. "It would be an award for the troops and the thousands of Americans who support them because ... there wouldn't be a Cell Phones for Soldiers without the assistance of Americans who are helping us recycle (cell phones) all across the country."

The Bergquists' cousin, Army 1st Lt. Quentin Charmichael of the 182nd Cavalry Regiment, recently deployed to Kosovo on an 18-month peacekeeping mission, Brittany said, and her family attended the deployment ceremony. "We gave him and his unit phone cards to call home," she said. "I'm going to miss him so much. I can really understand how important it is to hear a loved one's voice and know that they're OK."

To help Brittany and Robbie get the chance to keep an additional 10,000 deployed servicemembers in touch with their families, visit the Volvo for Life Awards Web site. Follow the "Vote for your hero now" link to the map, choose Massachusetts, and follow the voting instructions. Their story also appears on the site.

Voting is under way and will continue through Feb. 4. The top three finalists will attend the 5th Annual Awards Gala in New York on April 4, where the winner of a Volvo for life will be announced.

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NASCAR Fans in California Support Our Troops

By American Forces Press Service.

Rick Lalor, manager of motorsports and events for the Automobile Club, and Shauna Fleming, founder of A Million Thanks.org, stand by Mark Martin's No. 6 Nextel Cup car at California Speedway, Sept. 4. Fleming's A Million Thanks booth at the race collected hundreds of thank you letters for U.S. troops thanks to Lalor's donation of booth space. Courtesy photo.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2006 - For the sixth time since a California teenager began her quest two and a half years ago to collect and distribute a million thank you letters to U.S. servicemembers, the “A Million Thanks” organization set up its booth at a Nextel Cup NASCAR race.

This race was the Sony HD 500 NASCAR Race at California Speedway here over Labor Day weekend. Shauna Fleming, now 17, set up A Million Thanks to collect thank you letters for troops.

The Labor Day weekend race had temperatures over 110 degrees, but hundreds of letters were collected from the thousands of race fans who attended the races.

The booth space, donated by the club that sponsors champion driver Mark Martin's No. 6 car, owned by Roush Racing, allowed Fleming's organization to collect thank you letters at the race.

Rick Lalor, Automobile Club's motorsports manager, is responsible for the A Million Thanks presence at the races. Rick is also a member of the California National Guard.

"It's great having Shauna's A Million Thanks booth with us at the races. It gives race fans a place to say thank you to our troops," Lalor said.

The A Million Thanks booth will collect letters at upcoming drag races in November. Lalor has invited Shauna to bring her booth to the NHRA Winter Nationals in Pomona. The Auto Club sponsors the race, as well as the funny car driven by champion John Force.

A Million Thanks is a member of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program, which highlights corporate and grassroots support for U.S. military members and their families.

Shauna was challenged last year by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers to collect 2.6 million thank you letters and e-mails for the troops. She is only 75,000 letters from that goal, which has been nicknamed "2.6 in 2006." Fleming said she expects to reach that milestone very soon.

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ASY: Freedom Walk

The America Supports You Freedom Walk has grown to 120 walks in 50 states nationwide and the District of Columbia. Local highlights include:
**Students at College Gate Elementary School, in Anchorage, Alaska, will honor and remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11 by walking around the campus five times in silence to reflect upon what freedom means to them. After the walk, the students will compose essays on freedom that will be displayed throughout the school's halls before being sent to troops serving overseas. A kindergartener, whose father is slated for deployment to Iraq in January for one year, will help complete the planting of a freedom tree by adding the last soil.

**More than 800 walkers are expected at Corona, California's Luiseno Elementary School to participate in a Freedom Walk that will coincide with Grandparents' Day. Two hundred grandparents will join hands with 600 students to commemorate the victims of Sept. 11 and honor veterans, past and present. The walk will trek through the campus and will commence on Sept. 11 at 9 a.m.

**More than 150 students at Sand Fork Elementary School in Sand Fork, West Virginia will take time on September 11th to walk around their school track to commemorate the day. A returned soldier from Iraq as well as a retired school teacher veteran will also speak to the students and share their stories and pictures.
To find a Freedom Walk near you, or to register to participate in the National Freedom Walk, go to America Supports You.mil.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Iraqi & US SF capture 30 terrorists, 38 suspected

I would like to comment on this report especially. This is fantastic news. Just as we in America know all about the gang problem we have, it is very difficult to clean up a neighborhood in one day or in one raid.

These men have been out there arresting terrorists day in and day out without a word in the press. All we get to know is how many people died. That includes terrorists! For shame, media.

I would like to my hat off to all the people in the Public Affairs Office. You are doing a fabulous job getting the news out. It is not your fault the media chooses not to report it. I, on the hand, will. Thank you.

Release Date: 9/5/2006
Release Number: 06-09-05P
Created by: Sharbe L. Clark.

CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq - Iraqi police and soldiers, along with U.S. Marines and soldiers from Regimental Combat Team 7, detained 30 confirmed insurgents and 38 suspected insurgents over the weekend throughout the western Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

RCT-7 is the U.S. military unit responsible for western Anbar Province, an area of more than 30,000 square-miles which stretches from the Jordanian and Syrian borders hundreds of miles east to Hit, a city about 70 miles northwest of Ramadi.

U.S. and Iraqi forces detained the known and suspected insurgents through a series of pre-planned and routine counterinsurgency operations.

Iraqi police identified and detained 18 of the 38 captured suspected insurgents in Rawah, Iraq – a city of about 20,000 along the Euphrates River, about 50 miles east of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

One of the suspects captured by Rawah police officers is wanted for suspected involvement with a vehicle suicide bombing against a U.S. military check point in the region July 29. Several more captured in Rawah are suspected of involvement with a recent attack on a Rawah police officer’s family. Police officers in Rawah also discovered two improvised explosive devices there Sunday.

Iraqi and U.S. soldiers detained one known insurgent and 10 suspected insurgents Sunday in Hit, a city of about 60,000, located approximately 70 miles northwest of Ramadi.

Through a variety of counterinsurgency operations Saturday and Sunday, Iraqi police, Iraqi soldiers, and U.S. Marines captured 27 known insurgents and four suspected insurgents in the Haditha Triad, a cluster of three cities – Haditha, Barwanah, and Haqlaniyah – with a combined population of about 90,000. One captured insurgent was part of a four-man insurgent cell operating in Hadithah, another is suspected of having involvement with various small arms attacks against a U.S. base in Barwanah.

U.S. Marines captured six more suspected insurgents Saturday in Sa’dah, a town just east of the Iraqi-Syrian border. Marines also discovered an ordnance cache near the border on Saturday. The cache consisted of 120 mm rockets, 155 mm rockets, and 122 mm rockets.

Text provided by the Public Affairs Officer for MNF-WEST. For more information, contact: mnfwcepaowo AT cemnf-wiraq.usmc DOT mil.

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Sunday, September 3, 2006

No. 2 al-Qaeda in Iraq Arrested

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA
Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi authorities have arrested the second most senior operative in al-Qaida in Iraq, the national security adviser said Sunday.

Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, was arrested a few days ago, Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said.

"We believe that al-Qaida in Iraq suffers from a serious leadership crisis. Our troops have dealt fatal and painful blows to this organization," he said.

Al-Saeedi was the second most important figure in al-Qaida in Iraq after Abu Ayyub al-Masri, all-Rubaie said.

Al-Masri succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as head of al-Qaida in Iraq after al-Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad on June 7.

Al-Saeedi was "directly responsible" for the person who carried out the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, al-Rubaie added.

The bombing inflamed tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and triggered reprisal attacks.

"Al-Saeedi carried out al-Qaida's policies in Iraq and the orders of the slain al-Zarqawi to incite sectarian violence in the country, through attempting to start a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis - but their wishes did not materialize," al-Rubaie added.

He said authorities had obtained information about al-Saeedi after al-Zarqawi was killed. The information indicated he had been operating in Salahuddin province, then moved south to northern Baghdad and had been operating outside Baqouba, the same area where al-Zarqawi was killed.

Al-Saeedi had been hiding in a residential building.

"He wanted to use children and women as human shields during the arrest, which is why the operation was based on a very precise military plan to preserve the lives of women and children in the building," al-Rubaie said, adding that there had been no casualties during the arrest.

He said al-Saeedi also gave up information that led to the arrest or killing of 11 top al-Qaida in Iraq figures, and nine lower-level members. The security adviser said he would not reveal the identities of the other suspects arrested, or where al-Saeedi was caught, for security reasons.

"Hamed al-Saeedi supervised terrorist groups that kidnapped people for ransom, and killed policemen after they received their salaries in order to finance terrorist operations," the security adviser said. "He used to order terrorist operations using mortars and roadside bombs, which led to the killing of several troops and innocent civilians."

He said al-Saeedi also supervised the creation of death squads and ordered assassinations, bombings, kidnappings and attacks on Iraqi police and army checkpoints.

"The operations were brutal and merciless," he said.

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Friday, September 1, 2006

NGAUS Notes: Sept. 1, 2006

DoD Electronic Health Records Provide Better Care

The Defense Department is using electronic medical record keeping to better the quality of medical care, the flow of medical information for the military and for cost monitoring. The Web site for Tricare, the department's managed health care system, now displays the maximum allowable charges it pays for certain types of vendor-provided health care services, said Dr. William J. Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Aug. 24. "If people want to better understand the price and the cost of what they're receiving - maybe shop around a little bit," Dr. Winkenwerder said. He noted that active duty military members aren't required to pay for their personal medical care. However, it's educational for everyone to realize how much health care costs today. "Part of keeping that cost down is to create some competition and to create the incentives for people to use health care efficiently," Dr. Winkenwerder said.

President Bush's Aug. 22 order, "Promoting Quality and Efficient Health Care In Federal Government Administered or Sponsored Health Care Programs," stipulates that health care programs administered or sponsored by the federal government "promote quality and efficient delivery of health care through use of health information technology, transparency regarding health care quality and price, and better incentives for program beneficiaries, enrollees and providers." It also stipulates that federal health-care providers "make relevant information available to these beneficiaries, enrollees and providers in a readily usable manner and in collaboration with similar initiatives in the private sector and non-federal public sector."
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Women Choose Family Over Military After Five Years

The Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is now examining why female military doctors, lawyers and chaplains have higher rates of separation after five to eight years of service, compared to their male counterparts. Mary Nelson, DACOWITS chairwoman, spoke about this issue Aug. 25. She said it's important to retain more women; finding out why they leave during that time frame may help with retention. So far, the main reason women are getting out after five to eight years of service is to start a family. A possible solution is establishing opportunities for service members to take a leave of absence. "If we have these off-ramps, where people can get out and take a two-year leave, then it becomes an issue of when they come back, where are they?" she said. "Are they still with their same class they entered with? If so, then they're at a great disadvantage and aren't going to be promoted through the ranks." That means adjustments to date of rank. She mentioned provisions for service members leaving for educational reasons and then returning and suggested the possibility of extensions. Committee members question female service members in focus groups about their reasons for wanting separation. The committee's 2005 report studied issues related to work/life balance and found that most women put their families first. Numerous high-ranking military officials of both genders have stressed to Ms. Nelson that women offer something the military would not have without them - a different perspective.
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Pentagon Implements Changes for Improved Agency Cooperation

Pentagon officials unveiled a reorganization of the Defense Department's policy office Aug. 28. The reason: more interagency cooperation needed. The reorganized office changes the geographic responsibility for policy, and it places cross-cutting functions under one chief. Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, said that the reorganization will allow DoD to better partner with colleagues in other agencies as well as focus on developing the capabilities needed for the war on terror. The geographic area of responsibility regarding policy has shifted. Europe and NATO, the Middle East and Africa will come under the assistant defense secretary for international security affairs. Asia Pacific, South Asia and Central Asia will come under the assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Western hemisphere policy decisions will come under the assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' security affairs.

The assistant secretary for special operations/low intensity conflict will pick up responsibility for strategic capabilities and forces transformation. The reorganization calls for appointing an assistant secretary for global security affairs. This cross-cutting office will oversee policy guidance for building partners capabilities, security cooperation, technical security policy, detainee affairs and POW/MIA affairs. This is the first reorganization of the policy office since the fiscal 2002 National Defense Authorization Act established the assistant secretary for Homeland Defense. Mr. Edelman said the reorganization will be phased in beginning Oct. 1, and conclude by March 2007.
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NGAUS Seeks Deputy Legislative Director

NGAUS is looking for a deputy director of legislative programs. The candidate will be responsible for assisting legislative director in the daily operations and execution of legislative agenda. Duties include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, conducting and overseeing administrative duties and assisting in staff management. The successful candidate will have three to five years of legislative and/or political experience and a strong knowledge of the defense community. The candidate must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in political science and government affairs. Strong advocacy and communication skills are a must; experience in legislative campaign project development and the ability to supervise personnel and lobbying efforts are also required. Closing Date: September 15, 2006. Send cover letter and resume to:
National Guard Association of the United States
Legislative Director
One Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001.
You can also send a resume and cover letter via e-mail to: Richard Green.
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NGAUS History

Maj. Gen. Thomas E. Rilea, a former NGAUS president and adjutant general of Oregon, gave 45 years of service to his state and the nation. He served as president of NGAUS from 1935 to 1936, as vice president from 1934 to 1935, and on the executive council for 13 years. His active-duty service record bracketed the Mexican Border Campaign and both World Wars. His awards included the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Commendation Ribbon, Purple Heart, and Legion of Merit. At the NGAUS "Diamond Jubilee" General Conference in 1953, General Rilea received the association's gold Distinguished Service Medal for "outstanding and distinguished service to the National Guard of the State of Oregon, the National Guard of the United States, the Army of the United States and the National Guard Association of the United States."
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This Week in Guard History

Sept. 2, 1995: Oahu, Hawaii - In a special ceremony held in the National Memorial Cemetery (commonly referred to as the "Punchbowl"), NGAUS, in conjunction with the National Guard Bureau, dedicates a plaque honoring the tens of thousands of National Guard personnel who have served in Pacific conflicts from the Spanish-American War in 1898 to the present. This plaque was dedicated following an earlier such event in Normandy, France, to honor Guard members who served in Europe during the two world wars.
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