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Stop the Title 5 Repeal!

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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 I believe the program is outdated, and the changes mandated in Section 1053 are a great start towards modernizing this force.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.
Public Comments
Oct 3rd, 2016
Steven P. from Ontario, CA writes:
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Please, we need this! We lose great employees due to injury or illness that the Guard deems to be unfit for the military. If I were to fall into this category, I could still do my day job even though I could no longer be a soldier. This is good for morale and for the force. Why lose qualified, trained technicians due to someone that has failed a PT test, or does not meet height/weight standards that are outdated? It also gives employees like myself an option to retire from the Guard at 20 years but retain a career and income.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Richard H. from Rainier, WA signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Marcus M. from Albuquerque, NM signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Bonnie M. from Jacksonville, AR writes:
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I have served my country for 36 years as well as the Federal Government for 31 years. Both have been extremely beneficial to me and has provided me with a comfortable living. If I were to become Title 5 I would not leave the Reserve but remain because my duty to my country is a two-fold mission and I am a public servant in both capacities. However I would like the option that when I reach the age of 60 a mere 6 years from now, I can remain in my Federal Career and continue to serve my country in a civilian capacity just as I fully served my country for what will be total of 42 years upon reaching age 60. Becoming a Title 5 does not mean "jumping ship" and leaving my military service at this point however it does mean giving me full due protection processes and benefits that are guaranteed to other Federal employes and more so because I served in a dual status and to deny myself and others our full due process protections because of a political power struggle or for any other reason that is not in the Technician's best interest is quite unfair. Thank you
Oct 3rd, 2016
edward p. from Grayling, MI signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Someone from Box Elder, SD signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Frederick H. from Elmhurst, IL writes:
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The rules that govern the dual-status military technician program have not been changed for many years there is no need for a dual status in these positions
Oct 3rd, 2016
Someone from Romeoville, IL signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Ja'net V. from Escalon, CA signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Eric B. from Joliet, IL signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Brian M. from Montgomery, IL signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Travis K. from Stockton, CA signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Joe M. from Edgewood, NM signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Someone from Lisle, IL signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Someone from Freeland, MI signed.
Oct 3rd, 2016
Bienvenido B. from Mandeville, LA writes:
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This law is extremely important, and is a much-needed reform of the National Guard Dual Status Technician program. I urge you to reject any request by NGB, AUGUS, NGAUS, and the CoG to repeal Sec. 1053.