Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guard and Reserve Retirement Conference

The National guard is hosting a conference for its retirement Services Offeicers (The Army Reserve does not have such a person - yet- To jumpstart the flow of information between the National Guard Bureau and the states on retirement services, the Soldier Family Support and Services branch will convene March 1-5 in Savannah, Ga.

Geared toward the full-time program managers and state retirement services officers. The focus of this conference is to distribute information via stats to guard soldiers, notify soldiers of changes in policy, as well as things to think about for the future.

This conference also deals with the Army-wide certifications required of all retirement services personnel.

As noted by the conference organizers there are individuals that work pieces [within the retirement process], but there is not a retirement branch for Reserve components. Considering the gap in retirement or separation from the guard and reserve and the eventual reciept of retirement pay may be 20 years or more that would seem counter intuitive to efficient processing.

The conference isn't only for Soldiers in the Army Guard. The Army Reserve will also participate.

The Army Reserve does not have the structure that the guard has at state level, in fact, the Army Reserve does not even have RSOs in the structure. This conference offers an opportunity to try to get that developed.

You can get an excellent primer on Guard and Reserve retirement from The Army G-1 who has published an Army National Guard information guide regarding non-regular retirement. http://www.arng.army.mil/soldierresources/Documents/ARNG%20Information%20Guide%20for%20non-regular%20retirement%2015%20Apr%202009.pdf

Monday, February 22, 2010

How is your pay, soldier?

From the Stars and Stripes – this news item on the cancellation of the Defense Military integrated personnel transaction system - a system to update soldier records and pay:

After spending $1 billion and 12 years of effort, Defense officials have pulled the plug on a hapless plan to bring the four military branches under a single payroll and personnel records system.

"This program has been a disaster," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month. He said he applauded the decision to kill what proponents said would be the largest, fully-integrated human resource system in the world.

Well – interesting in its implications to deploying Reserve and National Guard soldiers. Many of us suffer problems when we deploy – as noted :

More than time and money had been lost, however. Military personnel, particularly Guard and Reserve members, increasingly have been frustrated by pay and personnel record errors. The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves urged two years ago that a single, integrated pay and personnel system was needed "as soon as possible" to rectify inadequacies in fragile legacy systems.

More than 90 percent of Army Reserve and Guard soldiers activated to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq through 2003 reported significant pay errors. Aggressive actions were taken to lower that rate but without the benefit of what was needed — a modern payroll system that no longer treated active and reserve component members differently.

Can you believe that – up to 90 percent pay errors for guard and reserve soldiers… such a dedicated workforce that bears this for years while waiting for a solution…now we are starting all over. Having been at the pay problem window myself, I can tell you it makes it hard on guard and reserve soldiers, but they are not in the service for the money. Lets hope a simple and effective solution can be found soon. You can find the entire stars and stripes article here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Duke Deluca - formerly of MNSTC-I J7

Saw the General Officer appointments this last week and its with pleasure that I noted the Col Peter "Duke" Deluca (USACE) was promoted to General Officer. Duke was the chief of the MNSTC-I J7 shop in Iraq in 2004-2005. He was a highly respected officer and motivator for his organization and he was amoung those active component members that recieved the 98th Division USAR soldiers and made them excell in their duties.

I have respect for Duke and know he will do well in his assignment at the Corp of Engineers. (I had a two month assignment with them for Hurricane Katrina and can vouch for the organization) Duke - congratulations to you - well deserved.

You can see his bio here