Friday, March 11, 2011

Data Shows Congress Overlooking Reserve Sacrifice Prior to 2008

Fixing early retirement—the concept whereby Reservists and Guardsmen can subtract time from age 60 when they would otherwise begin drawing their reserve retirement—has been at the front of ROA’s advocacy agenda for a while.

We had a huge win in the January 2008 National Defense Authorization act, which established early retirement of 90 days for every consecutive 90 day period of active duty. However, the one major flaw in the law neglects the operational reservists who mobilized prior to that date.

Newly acquired data supports backdating early retirement to 2001. Those who served prior to 2008, when the law was established, assumed a higher risk and took more casualties.

Between 2001 and the date the law took effect, 82 percent (926 deaths) of National Guard and Reserve deaths had already occurred. Yet Congress is overlooking this early sacrifice by not correcting the early retirement statute to include those serving prior to 2008.

As of today, 5,931 brave Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The active duty force comprises 55 percent of the total force and has experienced 79.6 percent (4,722) of the total deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Reserve and National Guard forces make up 45 percent of the force, and make up 19 percent (1,134) of the total casualties.

32,050 U.S. service members have been wounded due to combat actions in Iraq and 10,543 in Afghanistan (42,593 total). Active duty personnel comprised 34,121 (80%) of those wounded, and 8,472 (20%) were Guard/Reserve personnel.

* Casualty data was garnered from the Defense Manpower Data Center
Prior to Jan 2008:
Guard: 62
Reserve: 41
Regular: 372
After Jan 2008:
Guard: 82
            Reserve: 32
                        Regular: 891
               Prior to Jan 2008:
                        Guard: 443
                        Reserve: 380
                        Regular: 3112
               After Jan 2008:
                        Guard:  53
Reserve: 31
Regular: 384


Anonymous said...

Please consider this one vote of no confidence that the ROA will influence any change in this ongoing inequity.

Anonymous said...

The blame goes to Congress, not ROA.

Anonymous said...

I believe the ROA has fought hard to get this piece of legislation passed. It IS the fault of Congress, not the ROA.
How many of you have contacted your Congressmen and Senators?
Are you aware of HR 1994 or HR 181, in this 111 Congress?

Anonymous said...

This is a subject that is near and dear to MY heart. Several years ago, ROA issued a point paper that involved a matrix, which if signed into law, would allow those with sufficient points to retire as early as Age 55 (similar to the age for Civil Service retirement?) As I have more than enough points to qualify, I REALLY liked that concept! Now that I'm 57, if I ever land a job again, and manage to live to age 60, this will be a moot point.

As the "camel's nose underneath the tent strategy" I would prefer to see the legislation's effective date initially rolled back to 09/11/2001, versus January, 2008 when the bill was signed. I believe Representative Joe Wilson has re-introduced a bill to accomplish this.

If money grew on trees (see the Federal Reserve for more details about the recent $600 BILLION dollars of 'quantitative easing') I would like to roll the effective date back even further, to credit the Reserves and National Guard who served during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, or even further back, to Operation Ernest Will, etc...

Of course, since a certain Senator has been lamenting the loss of funding for the annual Cowboy Poetry Fair, and the House was cutting emergency vouchers for homeless veterans in the ongoing CR debacle, I'm not holding my breath!

LEJ said...

Really not a fair comparison until you see the costs of rolling this back. I'm all for it, as I'd start drawing 5 years earlier, but this is a cost that keeps on having to be paid over the long haul.

Anonymous said...

Mixed emotions on this. The costs are high, but our accomplishments over in the sandbox merit this. Not that the curent IAs don't deserve it. but we were there and held the line until the surge succeeded! There should be a way to fund this augmented retirement benefit.


Anonymous said...

This is a matter of basic fairness, especially since ARFORGEN and the fact that the new DASD(RA) (former ROA President) is agreeing with DoD's desire to balance DoD's books on the RC. Since they plan to call us up for a year every 5 and find somewhere to send us, and we're no longer a force in reserve, the retirement model needs to change. To not change it ignores the deleterious effect that their plans have on my civilian retirement and chances at advancement.

Ralph said...

Let's not forget ... Congress removed "age" from being a factor of eligibility when it came to the retirement of Congressional Staffs back in 1984. If any of them had to wait until age 60 like we do, they would consider it an outrage! In my honest opinion, we need to stop whining among ourselves, capitalize on our rights as private citizens, buy major media advertising and let it be known to the American Public exactly who these elected officials are who oppose early retirement for Guard & Reserve personnel. They would either change their tune or face defeat (and job loss) at the next election.

Anonymous said...

When is the Chiefs and the ROA going to make EARLY retirement RETROACTIVE to 9/11. Also the GI bill so it is transferable to dependants.

It is time to do the right thing. I hearing your soldiers say they don't believe what the government did to the post 9/11 soldiers. They did the heavy lifting. It is becoming a moral and trust issue. We already have issue with Congress we don’t need trust issues with the services.

Anonymous said...

I was activated for six years, most of which was before January 2008. Two months after REFRAD, I was retired for MRD. In the past two years I have not been able to find a civilian job, and because of MRD do not even have the Drill Pay which helped in previous hard times. There are very few jobs in our area, we are unable to move for many reasons (including my wife's job and family issues); the few jobs that are available here would not pay enought to cover the cost of taxes and the gasoline to get to work.

Without changing this from January 2008 back to Septemnber 2001, where it should have been to beggin with, I will have to wait another 5+ years for a check; If it were changed, I would already be recievign one. This may make the difference reagreding whether we end up filing for personal banckruptcy within a few months.

Anonymous said...

Just as I remain adamantly against changing the "rules of the game" to the detriment of those already committed, I am opposed to retroactive benefits for those who, after all, were simply meeting an obligation freely entered into as reservists. To view it otherwise is hypocritical. Do we ask those who have not deployed to refund any benefits?

Anonymous said...

ROA, Here's a point to consider when faced with the notion that giving these folks what's deserved is "too expensive".

The number of retired military double dippers in civil service has skyrocketed since about 2002. There are a plethora of O4/5/6 retired officers currently drawing GS-14/15 and SES salaries on top of their retired pay. Since they are covered by tricare, they pay little to nothing for civilian health care. Some of these guys have never seen a day in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The funds that go to pay these folks could be utilized to do what's right and payback young reserve/guard for their service in country.