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Stop the Title 5 Repeal!

The FY16 NDAA contained Section 1053, a bi-partisan provision that ordered the conversion of no less than 20% of all National Guard (NG) Dual Status technicians (DSTs) from Title 32 to Title 5 employment to begin on January 1, 2017. The National Guard Bureau (NGB), the Adjutant Generals Association (AGAUS), the National Guard Association (NGAUS), and the Council of Governors (CoG) strongly opposed the law and called for its outright repeal citing unsupported claims of increased cost and reduced readiness. Senator John McCain, SASC Chairman, and Senator Jack Reed, SASC Ranking Member, strongly rejected the calls for repeal, and Section 1053 was ultimately included in the 2016 defense bill.

After repeal efforts failed, opponents of Section 1053 asked that language be included in the FY17 NDAA to delay conversion until at least October 1, 2017, under the guise that: 1. It would align the conversion with the beginning of FY18; and, 2. It would allow leaders some time to ensure a smooth transition for affected employees. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees (HASC/SASC) agreed to the proposal as presented, and included draft language in the FY17 NDAA to delay the conversion.

Supporters of Section 1053 warned HASC/SASC, and other members of Congress that calls to delay were merely a veiled attempt to give NGB, AGAUS, NGAUS, and CoG one more crack at repealing Section 1053 in the FY18 NDAA. It appears the warnings were justified as Section 1053 opponents are renewing their push for a full repeal of Section 1053 now, rather than later, during the election season, through the lame duck session, and before the FY17 NDAA is even signed. For the reasons stated below, I strongly urge you to oppose any effort calling for the repeal of Section 1053.

The NG DST program is over 100 years old. I believe the program is outdated, and the changes mandated in Section 1053 are a great start towards modernizing this force. The new law streamlines administration, cuts overall operating costs to the US Government, and allows technicians access to due process.

Concerning due process, technicians do not enjoy the full due process protections guaranteed to other federal employees because current law limits appeals of adverse employment actions to their respective State Adjutants General. As such, these employees cannot appeal to an arbitrator, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, or even Federal Court, which means they are also not protected as under Federal Whistleblower laws. The result is a program that is often susceptible to fraud, waste, and abuse, and is the only program in the federal government where the person who fires you also hears and decides your appeal.

The changes required by Section 1053 are the start of much-needed reform. The law is based on the independent report prepared by the Center for Naval Analysis at the direction of Congress in section 519 of the 2012 defense bill. It takes a conservative approach and gives National Guard and State authorities the ability to provide input on how the transition should occur, including how best to maintain these employees under the control of State AGs, all while affording them the rights enjoyed by every other federal civilian employee. Section 1053 will allow these employees an opportunity to reach full civilian retirement age, provide access to federal appeal rights, and simultaneously correct other inconsistencies that only affect this small but much-needed workforce.

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.

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23 minutes ago
John L. from Herriman, UT signed.
21 hours ago
MICHELE H. from ALEXANDRIA, VA signed.
1 day ago
allen m. from sparks, NV signed.
2 days ago
David M. from Columbia, SC signed.
5 days ago
allen m. from sparks, NV signed.
January 9, 2017
David S. from Jackson, TN signed.
January 5, 2017
Someone from Lafayette, TN writes:
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This is for the good of the National Guard and greatly helps our older dual status service members, that when in their greying years they are not cast out into the streets, their lively hoods cut short, because they did not pass their PT test and were not able to keep up with the twenty year olds. Let us have a safe place where if we choose we can retire with dignity and respect with a full career not cut short by missing your mile and a half by 15 seconds or because of having bad knees and bones that bore the brunt of service in the defense of our nation for decades.
January 5, 2017
Someone from Lafayette, TN writes:
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I support the conversion. It offers a way for older technicians to continue their civil service without fear of non-retention or unfavorable repercussions due to PT failure or medical issues. There are plenty of technicians who are in non-deploying positions and it wouldn't affect the mission to convert them. I would gladly do it so that I can do my job without the never-ending fear of being non-retained because I am getting older or the stress of one day being booted because I cannot pass my PT.
just now
allen m. from sparks, NV signed.
January 2, 2017
ABBY N. from Christiansted, VI writes:
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I support Section 1053