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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 I believe the program is outdated, and the changes mandated in Section 1053 are a great start towards modernizing this force.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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309 Public Comments So Far

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February 15, 2017
Someone from Cheyenne, WY writes:
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Backfill for deploying Title 35 employees is generally expensive, disruptive and ineffective for the first 3-4 months while this temporary employee learns what is expected of him/her. Make the technician workforce Title 5, keep the experience in-house, don't force talent out because they served and were used/abused by their service and then thrown away (Med Board) by the Armed Forces.
February 14, 2017
Someone from Douglasville, GA signed.
February 13, 2017
Someone from Topeka, KS signed.
February 10, 2017
Someone from West Hartford, CT signed.
February 10, 2017
allen m. from sparks, NV signed.
February 9, 2017
Someone from Sioux Falls, SD writes:
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The current and expected future optempo of our National Guard makes the expectation of staying in the military until age 56-60 (normal civilian retirement eligibility) unrealistic. This is related to many of the other comments I have read. Because of this, many of our folks are being forced out of their full time positions even though they have served honorably for many years. It is the only situation I know of in which your full time job is contingent on you keeping a part time job and ironically, the requirements for the part-time job are often much more stringent. Add to that the fact that if you are released medically from the military, it automatically qualifies you to receive a civilian medical retirement even if you are fully medically qualified to perform the civilian job. Although this is necessary because of the circumstances, it amounts to a taxpayer ripoff. If you read the NGAUS counter to this, most of it has been addressed in the new 2017 NDAA and most of the rest is simply inaccurate. For example, a counterargument is that the governors have less personnel to respond to state emergencies. This is simply not true as nothing in this conversion has any effect on numbers of military members. Technicians are not activated as civilians, they are activated in their National Guard military capacity. If a technician retires from the military under this authority they will be replaced by another military (often younger and better able to handle the physical demands of an emergency) and that person will be subject to a call-up by the governor. Virtually all of the resistance to this is either from a misunderstanding of the truth or a misrepresentation of the truth.
just now
VM from Greenwood, MS writes:
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With the modern reduction of the armed forces and as a DS I am looking at least five years left in the Guard to hit my 20, only 10 on the FED side. I think it's unfair that I should have to worry about getting kicked out because I decided to serve my country for the full 20 years, follow orders and leave my family for deployments and worry if I my body can take it for another 20, which barely anybody will see 30+ years anymore unless you are a GO. It's a slap in the face for a dedicated workforce. I support Title 5.
February 7, 2017
Someone signed.
February 6, 2017
Someone from Maple Shade, NJ writes:
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With due process long overdue, this modernization of the Federal Technician Workforce is beyond needed.
February 6, 2017
from Somerset, NJ signed.