Firing Line: Conversation Week #2 June 2016
a. AUSA Five Things - “How do you cut medical nondeployables?”
AUSA Five Things: A Weekly Tip Sheet for AUSA Members, dated June 6, 2016: When Less is More
Army medical officials have an ambitious goal of increasing the number of soldiers who are available to deploy even as 40,000 troops are cut from the ranks. This is possible, they believe, by reducing the number of soldiers medically unavailable to deploy. In today’s 490,000-soldier Regular Army, 16 percent of the force is nondeployable.
What to watch: In a force of 490,000, 411,600 are deployable today. If the Army could cut the nondeployable rate in half, it would have 414,000 deployable Regular Army soldiers in a force that’s been reduced to 450,000.
b. NCO and Solider Programs – “Should you have to provide receipts to receive Basic Allowance for Housing?”
With the upcoming FY2017 Senate Armed Services Committee’s draft of the annual defense authorization bill are plans to overhaul how the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is paid out troops. The present system currently pays a flat fee based on rank and ZIP code. The proposal coming from the SASC would refund only what troops pay out in rent and utilities costs for their housing, stopping troops from pocketing leftover stipends if they find cheaper housing. The new system could save the government millions of dollars. What are your top three concerns if this policy is put into place?
c. Veterans & Retirees – “Why is the Unemployment Rate for Post 9/11 veterans the lowest ever?”
In April the unemployment rate for Post 9/11 veterans was 4.1%! The all-time low. The nation’s unemployment rate in March was 5.0% but that is seasonally adjusted while veterans’ unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. So it is a little like comparing apples and oranges. This group “has seen an unprecedented run of employment success over the last 12 months. April 2016 marks the seventh time since May 2015 that the monthly unemployment rate was either the lowest or the second-lowest recorded at the time it came out.” For all American veterans unemployment was 3.9% in April, down from 4.5% in March and 4.7% in April 2015.
From this data it would appear the post 9/11 veterans are doing well in finding jobs. Which of the programs in place now do you think are having the greatest effect?
d. Book Program – “People are the fundamental factor in determining the outcome of a war.”
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution one of the publications reminded members of the People’s Liberation Army that “People and not things are the fundamental factor determining the outcome of a war.” The primary focus of armies in “interwar” periods is developing its talent and imagining new ways of war. Failing that, new kit means nothing. The rapacious appetite of weapons salesmen can’t be sated if you want a service that will hang for a long campaign.
Roger Cirillo PhD
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Retired
AUSA Book Program Director
e. AUSA Moderator – “The new Miss USA is an Army Reservist.”
“The newly crowned Miss USA is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.
"As a woman in the United States Army, I think ... we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," Deshauna Barber said. "Gender does not limit us in the United States."
This Week's Poll Questions:
Available in the footer of the site, see below.
(1) Should TRICARE-like benefits replace the VA?
o Not sure
(2) Should the number of Army bands be reduced?
o Not sure