A note to our readers | Phillips: Guard, Reserve troops wait too long for retirement pay | Army Reserve member's job reinstated in USERRA settlement
December 30, 2019
ROA SmartBrief
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Editor's note
A note to our readers
Happy holidays! This is SmartBrief's last publication for 2019. To close out the year, we have selected the most-read stories that have caught readers' attention and informed their workday. Hope you enjoy this special edition, and we look forward to keeping you smart in 2020!
Top Story
Retiring Reserve and National Guard troops are having to wait much longer than active-duty retirees to start receiving their retirement pay, writes ROA Executive Director Jeffrey Phillips. It's another example of inequity between active-duty troops and the Reserve components, and it could be partly resolved by simplifying the application process, he writes.
Full Story: The Hill (4/21) 
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A North Carolina middle school will reinstate Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Dwayne Coffer as dean of students and restore back pay and pension benefits as part of a settlement. Coffer filed a Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 complaint after he returned home from duty in 2017 to find his position eliminated and a demotion offered in its place.
Full Story: The Charlotte Observer (N.C.) (tiered subscription model) (8/8) 
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Army Reserve troops with the 88th Readiness Division at Fort McCoy, Wis., are among the first to train on the new joint light tactical vehicles that will eventually replace Humvees. Fort McCoy Draw Yard Officer in Charge Michael Zinnecker says the new vehicles are bigger and faster than Humvees, delivering "payload, protection and performance."
Full Story: La Crosse Tribune (Wis.) (7/14) 
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In the Pentagon
Updates to the Uniform Code of Military Justice went into effect Jan. 1, including new definitions of adultery and domestic violence. The code was established in 1951, with updates made in 1968 and 1984.
Full Story: Military Times (tiered subscription model) (1/15) 
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Adm. William Moran, who was set to become the chief of naval operations and a Joint Chiefs of Staff member in less than a month, has abruptly decided to retire instead. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer commended Moran's "faithful service and commitment to the Navy," but said some of Moran's actions had led Spencer to "call his judgment into question."
Full Story: The Associated Press (7/8) 
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The Pentagon's "deploy or get out" policy has forced out roughly 21,000 nondeployable troops since it went into effect last summer, said acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. "In upholding systematically applied standards, we ensure the readiness of our joint force and cohesion of our units," he said last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Full Story: Military Times (tiered subscription model) (3/14) 
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On the Hill
The VA can't deny disability benefits to so-called "blue water" Navy veterans who say they were exposed to toxic chemicals while patrolling the coastline during the Vietnam War, according to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The VA has 90 days to decide if it wants to take its appeal to the Supreme Court.
Full Story: Military Times (tiered subscription model) (1/29) 
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Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., have introduced a bill that would end US involvement in Afghanistan and give all active-duty troops and veterans who have served in the global war on terrorism a $2,500 bonus. If passed, the American Forces Going Home After Noble Service Act would set a 45-day deadline for making withdrawal plans and require that US forces leave Afghanistan within a year of the bill's passage.
Full Story: Military online (3/5) 
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The Reserve Officers Association is among organizations supporting the TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act, legislation that proposes aligning the age at which National Guard and Reserve service members become eligible for Tricare Standard, Extra and Prime with the age when they begin receiving retirement pay. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Ross Spano, R-Fla.
Full Story: The Floridian (11/30),  Florida Daily (11/20) 
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Reserve Strength
The Army has announced changes to its Combat Fitness Test following a year's worth of field tests on active-duty, Reserve and National Guard troops, according to an Army release. Some of the standards have been lowered, and new troops will have to pass the test as a military training graduation requirement.
Full Story: Military online (9/27) 
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Boeing has completed deliveries of two KC-46 tankers to the Air National Guard and one to the Air Force. McConnell Air Force Base now has a fleet of nine KC-46 tankers, while Pease Air National Guard Base expects a fleet of 12.
Full Story: Air Force magazine online (8/12) 
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Fabrication is underway at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division on the Coast Guard's newest Legend-class national security cutter. The vessel will be the 10th of its kind and will include a launch for two inflatable boats and a flight deck for manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft.
Full Story: Marine Log (11/13) 
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Editor's Note
ROA SmartBrief will not publish Wednesday
In observance of New Year's Day, ROA SmartBrief will not publish Wednesday. Publication will resume Jan. 6.
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Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
Hal Borland,
writer, journalist, naturalist
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