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Entropy
11-03-2008, 03:42 PM
Saw this episode on 60 minutes last night (http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4564149n).

The report talks about the problems maintaining job security in the face of deployments (and enduring problem), but it points out what I think will be a huge issue in coming years: The utilization of the NG and Reserve as an operational rather than strategic reserve force. As the piece notes, Guardsmen and Reservists already face employment discrimination because of frequent deployments and I only see that trend worsening as regular deployments/activations become institutionalized. If trends continue, many capable people will either quit the Guard/Reserve or not consider joining in the first place for fear of damaging their prospects for civilian employment and/or advancement. As a reservist currently myself, this concern is quite personal, particularly since I've been in high-optempo Reserve and Guard units since I left active duty.

I think there is some merit to the argument in the 60 minutes piece that by utilizing less expensive Guard and Reserve forces, all the government is doing is shifting the financial burden elsewhere - mainly onto civilian employers and the Guardsmen/Reservists themselves. I know many fine and talented individuals who've already left the service because of this issue. I don't think DoD has fully considered the second and third order effects this policy will likely create. Increasingly, I think DoD will be forced to hire more full-time technicians and ARG personnel, as well as further exploit "virtual" full timers (that the NG/Reserve have long depended on) - those that stay in status thanks to man-day money. These latter folks are a lot like contract personnel in many ways.

Anyway, I see major problems looming in the next decade because of these new policies. Comments?

Ken White
11-03-2008, 04:51 PM
In fact, it's a major problem and IMO use of the Guard and Reserve as an operational rather than an emergency and strategic reserve is unwise. I do believe that a specific subset of both (recall the original definitions of Ready Reserve and Standby Reserve) could be so used but it should be comparatively small.

I have long contended that the Reserve Cmponents should be larger than the Active Components in all services but that sure does upset the active heirarchy... :D

Interesting factoid is that the biggest employer problem with long call-ups for the RC involves two very distinct categories of employers --the major Corporations (During DD/DS ATT was an absolute monster about it...) who are exceedingly cost conscious -- a few are however, very supportive -- and at the other end, local government entities, small cities and counties who are only one deep in many employees. I'm not at all sympathetic to the big guys but the little ones have a very real problem -- yet they are supportive to the point of pain. Interesting contrast between the large and small...

An allied problem to this is the large number of serving police and sheriff's officers who are sometimes but far from always MPs -- most small Departments can ill afford their lengthy absence. Same applies to EMTs and Paramedics.

There are no easy solutions to this -- but return of the RC to a non-operational reinforcing mode will, I believe, be necessary and demanded over the next few years. Hopefully the wizards (Heh :rolleyes: ) at DoD are figuring this in.

wm
11-03-2008, 04:55 PM
. . . If trends continue, many capable people will either quit the Guard/Reserve or not consider joining in the first place for fear of damaging their prospects for civilian employment and/or advancement. As a reservist currently myself, this concern is quite personal, particularly since I've been in high-optempo Reserve and Guard units since I left active duty.

I think there is some merit to the argument in the 60 minutes piece that by utilizing less expensive Guard and Reserve forces, all the government is doing is shifting the financial burden elsewhere - mainly onto civilian employers and the Guardsmen/Reservists themselves. I know many fine and talented individuals who've already left the service because of this issue. I don't think DoD has fully considered the second and third order effects this policy will likely create. Increasingly, I think DoD will be forced to hire more full-time technicians and ARG personnel, as well as further exploit "virtual" full timers (that the NG/Reserve have long depended on) - those that stay in status thanks to man-day money. These latter folks are a lot like contract personnel in many ways.

Anyway, I see major problems looming in the next decade because of these new policies. Comments?

An alternative point of view on this could be the following. Perhaps the cold, calculating bureaucrats have considered the impact and are viewing this differently. If RC folks are not considered employable in the civilian sector, perhaps those folks will elect to stay on active service, thereby providing the manpower to grow the active force to the new end strengths. Their vacancies in the civilian workforce can then be filled by those who are currently unemployed. This will decrease the draw on government budgets by lowered welfare/unemployment payments.

I hope that this is not the case because I suspect we will not get the right kind of fill in either world, as Entropy noted in the first part of the quotation above with regard to folks opting out of the RC.

wm
11-03-2008, 05:08 PM
An allied problem to this is the large number of serving police and sheriff's officers who are sometimes but far from always MPs -- most small Departments can ill afford their lengthy absence. Same applies to EMTs and Paramedics.

There are no easy solutions to this -- but return of the RC to a non-operational reinforcing mode will, I believe, be necessary and demanded over the next few years. Hopefully the wizards (Heh :rolleyes: ) at DoD are figuring this in.

We discovered an interesting problem during MOBEX 83. A large portion of the government workforce that was planned for use to staff up the mob station upon which RC units would fall in and train up prior to deployment just happened to be members of RC units that were going to be called up themselves.

A quarter century later we still seem not to have realized the interesting dilemma we have created by expecting a reserve force to be our savior in a time of national emergency. Maybe the team's athletic trainer can suit up and take the field when the eleventh football player gets injured. But what will happen next week when the ice pack that would have minimized the eleventh player's injury doesn't get applied?

reed11b
11-03-2008, 05:16 PM
The other point to keep in mind is that some operational deployment tempo IS good for guard and reserve retention. Probably would be better if it was less then a year in length and occurred once every three years or so, but some operational utilization of the guard and reserve keeps them manned and trained to a degree. 15 month deployments a year apart however is another story all together.:mad:
Reed

120mm
11-03-2008, 05:22 PM
Anyway, I see major problems looming in the next decade because of these new policies. Comments?

All that I can say is that I am currently living this dream.

I contract because I've been fired three times in a row for my association with the reserves. I haven't tested the job market within the last two years, but it was a dry hole for me prior to that.

John T. Fishel
11-03-2008, 06:41 PM
I remember in the pre-DS/DS days the underutilization of the RC. The best laid plans of the Panama planners were thrown into a cocked hat because of the decision taken in LTG Tom Kelly's J3 office with CSA GEN Carl Vuono present NOT to exercise the PSRC for the RC Civil Affairs units planned for in Blind Logic.

There has got to be a proper equilibrium point between over and under reliance on the RC. It certainly begins with having a large enough RC and a differentiation between elements in the RC - perhaps several more than Selected, Active, and Standby. It probably requires some legislation that would make certain civilian jobs exempt from the RC - eg police, fire, EMS. And it would require putting some real teeth into the legal protections that the RC members already have (such as making it a felony to deny employment for RC participation with individual responsibility and 5+ year prison terms....)

Ah, well, enough day dreaming, back to reality.

Cheers

JohnT

J Wolfsberger
11-03-2008, 06:59 PM
... military experience, including active service in RC, is a tie breaker. In fact, I would probably pick a minimally qualified candidate with the military experience over one with better paper credentials, but no military background.

On the other hand ...


And it would require putting some real teeth into the legal protections that the RC members already have (such as making it a felony to deny employment for RC participation with individual responsibility and 5+ year prison terms....)


I've also worked for and heard of some real slugs. I concur with John.

Ken White
11-03-2008, 07:44 PM
I'll add that Vouno and Peay bear considerable responsibility for failure to use the RC correctly during their stay in DC and thus created a flurry of not always helpful laws from Congress after the fact in an attempt to insure that it didn't happen again. As is usual when our Congress tries to help, their laws did almost as much harm as they did good. :(

Most things are better than they were but there's still too much parochialism on both sides of the AC / RC divide -- and there is a divide. That needs to change.

Reed is also correct in saying some active duty is helpful to the RC (as well as to the AC). As he said it needs to be short and worthwhile.

BayonetBrant
11-03-2008, 08:24 PM
It probably requires some legislation that would make certain civilian jobs exempt from the RC - eg police, fire, EMS. And it would require putting some real teeth into the legal protections that the RC members already have (such as making it a felony to deny employment for RC participation with individual responsibility and 5+ year prison terms....)



They can't fire you, but they don't have to promote you, send you to training, or make you the least bit competitive for promotions in an up-or-out workplace and then suddenly you hit the equivalent of a military RCP b/c you're missing several certifications/courses you needed to make the next grade and avoid a cut. I know at least one guy that happened to (at a bank), and I've heard about a few others. These guys are doomed to a spin-cycle of low-level careers because they can't get promoted at work.

That also leaves out the issue of the independent contractor - say a drywall guy - who has a relationship with a local general contractor for construction work. Now SGT Drywall spends a year checking IDs at the gate at Ft Benning because our Army is too small to secure itself and too cheap to hire help. When he gets back after a year, that general contractor has himself a new drywall guy that won't get deployed, can work weekends b/c he's not at drill, and isn't guarding water buffaloes after a hurricane when he *really* needs the construction help repairing damaged homes.

Can you sue the general contractor for "firing" the SGT Drywall? Not in the least - he's not an employee. But can SGT Drywall work in that town anymore? Not at level he was accustomed to.
Same thing with the local independent car mechanic whose customers need their cars fixed while he's walking the fenceline at Fort Jackson, or the pharm sales guy who's territory needs covering while he's babysitting gate guards and dealing with soldiers sleeping around at Ft Gordon, and whose relationships with local docs is now gone because he's off the grid for a year.


No one sounds off for these guys before or after mobilizations, but now they're stuck having to volunteer to go on the next one because they can't work in their hometown any more, and they can't support their family without the income. But to get the income they have to leave home for 12 months at a time. Why would these guys stay? :mad:


And it's always fun when your unit mobilizes and takes with it the country sherriff, 2 of 8 deputies, and the dispatcher, plus 6 of 9 police officers in one town and 5 of 9 in the one next to it, plus 7 of 10 firefighters in that town, too.

Do that every 4 years, and the town's going to be looking for new cops, firefighters, etc. They can't have their towns decimated by mobilizations.

reed11b
11-03-2008, 09:12 PM
They can't fire you, but they don't have to promote you, send you to training, or make you the least bit competitive for promotions in an up-or-out workplace and then suddenly you hit the equivalent of a military RCP b/c you're missing several certifications/courses you needed to make the next grade and avoid a cut. I know at least one guy that happened to (at a bank), and I've heard about a few others. These guys are doomed to a spin-cycle of low-level careers because they can't get promoted at work.



Technically that is incorrect. Part of the law is that any training or promotional opportunity that the individual would have had if he had not been deployed, he is entitled to when he returns from deployment. USERRA LINK (http://esgr.org/userrathelaw.asp?p=43)Unfortunately the USERRA is enforced by volunteers that have no real legal authority to enforce it. Creating full time state or federal justice employee positions with authority to take corrective action would be a huge step in the right direction.
Reed

davidbfpo
11-03-2008, 11:31 PM
I would suggest that this issue is present in the UK, with a far smaller reserve in the Territorial Army and other reserves. The emergency service component of the TA and reserves is I suspect far smaller. I know that many police colleagues are specifically excluded from being called up for Iraq / Afghanistan and Bosnia before.

Others in Canada will know more, but I would suspect similar problems there too; for as Rex as shown extensive use of reservists there too - for Afghanistan.

Not sure about the NATO / EU contributors as systems differ; Scandanavian armies rely too in reservists.

You are not alone.

davidbfpo

BayonetBrant
11-04-2008, 01:24 PM
Technically that is incorrect. Part of the law is that any training or promotional opportunity that the individual would have had if he had not been deployed, he is entitled to when he returns from deployment.

That only applies for things that might've occurred on deployment. But when he gets back and there are 4 slots for HAZMAT training at his trucking company, and 7 guys who want to go, so you think the company is spending the money for him to go, knowing they'll lose him for a year and have to backfill a HAZMAT operator?
(and yes, I know the USAR/ARNG offer HAZMAT training - but to 88Ms and 77Fs, not 19Ks and 11Cs)


I was a rear-det CO CDR in the ARNG. I saw this happen several times. I even made a few phone calls on behalf of the soldiers to try and work with employers to get them the right training. Finally bounced it up the chain through the state HQ. No idea what came of it, but 2 of those guys ETS'ed instead of re-up'ing.


Worse, though, is the independent businessman who's completely screwed when he loses his customers for a eyar because of a deployment. I know at least 3 guys that lost their businesses because of it. Why? Because the Army needed - just needed! - someone checking ID cards at Ft Jackson...

selil
11-04-2008, 04:26 PM
Anybody who thinks that guard/reserves are really protected in an economic downturn by the soldier/sailor act really haven't lived in a mill town.

Personal experience is that the jobs evaporate just like anybody elses.

During PGW1 I was working at Pierce County SO. I averaged 40+ over time hours a week as deployments escalated. The second order effect was the people who quit when "mandatory over time" was extended again and again.

It wasn't a direct element of my decision to leave law enforcement in 1993 but it was a factor in me burning out and deciding I'd had enough.

I have several students who have been deployed so long that the technologies they learned originally have been superseded by new technologies and their previous course work is basically OBE.

120mm
11-06-2008, 01:40 PM
If a National Guardsman or Reservist is mobilized TWICE in his career, on the second mobilization, the Army now has another soldier in perpetuity, until that Guardsman or Reservist chooses to leave, or is booted for judicial or non-performance reasons.

I can't blame employers for not wanting a part-time employee. And in a lot of these situation, I blame the DoD for some truly idiotic mobilization decisions.

The concept of hiring mobilized reservists for DoS or USAID also has some merits, and you can kill several birds with one stone with that one, as we've discussed before.

reed11b
11-06-2008, 11:21 PM
I wonder how large the problem is. The contractor problem has been known, and when I first worked for the VA in '05 there were a lot of soldiers on my caseload that had employer problems. Since I have given the VA a second chance this year, I have not had any Guard or reserve soldiers state they have lost their jobs due to their military commitments, and I just assumed that it was no longer a big problem. Seeing the response to this post makes me reconsider. I might have to do some digging around here and see what I turn up.
Reed

Schmedlap
11-06-2008, 11:54 PM
My concern amidst all of this is: who are we retaining and who is being recruited?
1) Are higher quality personnel being drawn to the ARNG because they want to deploy?
2) Are the quality personnel staying in because of a renewed sense of purpose? Or are we losing the cream of the crop? (Let's face it, most of the top performers in the unit are also top performers in their jobs, while most of the bottom performers in the unit are also bottom performers in their jobs, assuming that they're employed). If the top performers are facing too much pressure in the work place, then this bodes ill for the unit.
3) Are the bottom performers staying in because the top performers are leaving, thus making it easier to get promoted? (Promotions often work on a space-available "paragraph and line" basis, depending on your state. If the top performers leave, the gaps are filled from whomever is available below them. People aren't PCS'ing across the country to fill ARNG slots.)

reed11b
11-12-2008, 11:49 PM
I recieved the following from another GWOT outreach counselor, thought it was applicable to this thread.
Reed

Secretary Hall, who recently visited reservists on duty in Kuwait, says he hears what the companies are saying, but his priority is the troops, and their job security. He expects the USERRA law to be enforced, which is why he made this astonishing offer.

"Let me make this commitment right on the air, if I could just for a moment. If there's any guardsman or reservist or family member that has a problem, call my office. Call me personally," he told Stahl. "My number is 703-697-6631. And I will ensure that I put a case worker on it. If necessary, I will call the head of the company or the agency personally. I don't just make that offer just precipitously. I mean that because we're concerned about it. My office will react, and I invite people, if they have a problem, tell me."



Full story at: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4564149n

Ski
11-13-2008, 11:59 PM
I was deeply involved in this process.

We - meaning a number of ARNG and USAR AGR's - saw that one of the major impacts of operationalizing the RC would be a constriction of the recruiting base. We thought, at its worst, that the recruiting base would be limited to federal and state employees, and maybe a few large corporations and defense contractors.

There were a litany of other major problems with the process that we tried to address with the help of our 1st Army and FORSCOM brothers. There's a massive 100 page document called the "Comprehensive Review" that is floating around in FOUO land.

If the changes we suggested are enacted, in addition to the CONGR recommendations, then the RC soldier should be very well taken care of in the future if the Operationalized RC is actually approved.

reed11b
11-14-2008, 06:02 PM
Received an E-mail today from the VA Homeless Veterans Service theorizing that the reason behind an increase in younger homeless vets may be the multiple deployment schedule of the NG and RC components leading to an inability to keep track of finances. This is the first time that many HVS employees have seen vets from an existing conflict. Interesting, Iíll have to wait to see if this is just alarmist white noise or a real emerging challenge.
Reed

120mm
11-15-2008, 02:51 AM
Secretary Hall, who recently visited reservists on duty in Kuwait, says he hears what the companies are saying, but his priority is the troops, and their job security. He expects the USERRA law to be enforced, which is why he made this astonishing offer.

"Let me make this commitment right on the air, if I could just for a moment. If there's any guardsman or reservist or family member that has a problem, call my office. Call me personally," he told Stahl. "My number is 703-697-6631. And I will ensure that I put a case worker on it. If necessary, I will call the head of the company or the agency personally. I don't just make that offer just precipitously. I mean that because we're concerned about it. My office will react, and I invite people, if they have a problem, tell me."

Other then the "scolding" given to violators, the worst case I know of, personally, was "resolved" by the SM getting his job back. Period. And once he got it back, his employer made his work life a living hell. Which the employer had every legal right to do.

Frankly, the one case I tried to pursue under USERRA was dropped because I managed to get another job. In order to keep pursuing the case, I would have to be the kind of complete loser who sat on my butt at home and waited for the Guard/Reserve guys to get my job back. If you get another job, you haven't been damaged.

USERRA is a bad joke. And no amount of fine-tuning will ever change that.

I have a special hard-on for the homeless vets, thing. Every war since at least WWII has resulted in the reporting of homelessness, unemployment, shiftlessness, mental disease, murder and mayhem, all being committed by vets, and every time a few years have passed, valid statistical data has been produced that exposed these things as myth.

Most vets coming back from this particular war are coming back with decent money, (which they tend to blow) and pretty much the same challenges as non-vets.

reed11b
11-15-2008, 03:49 AM
120, nobody is saying vets are homeless because of "damage" or "poor character". A certain percentage of the population is homeless, some of them are vets. The point is that we are seeing younger vets accessing the VA homeless veterens service (for which they have to PROVE there veteran status). Someone at the VA HVS was simply wondering outloud if the increase may have had a connection with the increased deployment tempo. My guess is that there is an increase in homeless young adults (20-30) across the board and we are just seeing the corresponding increase in the homeless vet population.
Reed

120mm
11-15-2008, 02:24 PM
120, nobody is saying vets are homeless because of "damage" or "poor character". A certain percentage of the population is homeless, some of them are vets. The point is that we are seeing younger vets accessing the VA homeless veterens service (for which they have to PROVE there veteran status). Someone at the VA HVS was simply wondering outloud if the increase may have had a connection with the increased deployment tempo. My guess is that there is an increase in homeless young adults (20-30) across the board and we are just seeing the corresponding increase in the homeless vet population.
Reed

I think your guess may be right. A friend and I chose to be homeless in college in order to save money. We were both military and had come from rural backgrounds and didn't see the point of paying for something that was basically free, once you figure out the tricks.

And the University lifestyle was conducive to things like free showers, free refrigerators (all you have to do is put a name and date on your stuff, and no-one will touch it) :) and even free big-screen TVs at various places on campus. (Of course, we were often pursuing more comfortable living relationships at all times, being 20-something healthy males, with absolutely fascinating stories....);)

Actually, the more I think about it, I just don't "get" the stigma Americans put on homelessness. Mostly we tend to see the mentally deranged, the professional panhandler, and the criminal homeless and lump everyone else who chooses economical and unfettered lifestyles into that mix. As a contractor, I've met all kinds of folks who choose not to pay for their housing. I even met a guy once who was living in his rollaround tool box.:eek:

120mm
11-15-2008, 02:29 PM
Actually, here was the post I wanted to make, prior to Reed11b distracting me into telling stories....

I belong to other military forums, and here is a post by Renee, a moderator on Lightfighter.net that most effectively describes my post-military/post-deployment experience in the "civilian" world.

The context of the comment is in discussing the plethora of anti-war/veteran as victim movies that bombed in the box office over the last few years. I'd like to incorporate it into a paper on the differences between the military/civilian cultures and the problems it causes to those who cross the line:


I'd like to see a modern movie about a guy who comes back and no one understands his ####. His examples of leadership dont fit the company's description of leadership and are, therefore, discounted. He is often labeled inexperienced because he didnt make shift leader at Jamba Juice, for example. His can-do attitude (or at least his "let's get to the work to be done even though it's ####ty" attitude) engenders hostility from other lazier workers in the work place. His ingrained sense of discipline and respect for the rules is seen as rigid, and inflexible - difficult even. Finally, his ability to speak plainly, briefly, and honestly is seen as rude and even mean. He is surrounded by incompetence everywhere he goes - from the grocery store line on up. He must pass by protesters without ever actually seeing them, and always he must forebear any insult or mistake, else risk being viewed as some sort of sad "time bomb" because he actually showed some kind of anger or emotion.

That kind of movie would reflect the veteran's issues I see.

Schmedlap
11-15-2008, 03:03 PM
... here is a post ... that most effectively describes my post-military/post-deployment experience in the "civilian" world.

My favorite experience is in interviews for internships or a job when I am informed that whatever joke of a job or undemanding internship that I am applying for is "stressful" and I am then asked how I will cope with that stress. Clearly the interviewer has either failed to read my resume or read it but did not understand it. Last I checked, no job in the United States involves dodging roadside bombs or having grenades thrown at you - except maybe inner city public school teacher. But I'm not crazy enough to apply for that job.

selil
11-15-2008, 09:09 PM
Try being a corrections officer in a large jail system with a raging gang war occurring.