The Intersect
July 20, 2010

USERRA case heads for Supreme Court
It's the nation's promise to those who serve in the reserves and National Guard: In return for deploying overseas to serve their country, the companies they left behind will have the same jobs available when they get back. And, oh yeah - it's the law.More

Sen. Levin urges State Department to put Afghan Taliban on list of terror groups
The Washington Post
Sen. Carl M. Levin, D-Mich. questioned why the State Department had not placed the two most potent Taliban groups fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan on its list of terrorist organizations and called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to do so.More

Robert Gates asks Senate GOP for support
Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with Senate Republicans and asked them to vote for a stalled war supplemental bill he hoped would pass months ago. But whether the GOP conference will get on board with the $37 billion legislation — and when — is still very much in question, despite party consensus that funding American troops constitutes a "true emergency."More

Officials urge Hill to stop adding more C-17s to fleet
Chicago Press Release Services
Senior defense officials urged lawmakers to end production of the C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes, arguing that the Air Force's fleet of large cargo aircraft already exceeds the military's operational needs. During a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Federal Financial Management Subcommittee, Pentagon and Air Force officials warned that any congressional effort to buy more unwanted C-17s — each carrying a price tag of nearly $300 million — would jeopardize funding for other needed programs.More

Senator wants to cut overseas base construction
Airforce Times
On the eve of the first efforts in Congress to write a 2011 military construction funding bill, a key Republican claims that the Obama administration seems to be shifting priorities to spend scarce construction money on improving facilities overseas instead of in the U.S. "We are looking at $1 billion in foreign construction that we do not need," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, ranking Republican on the Senate appropriations subcommittee responsible for military construction funding.More

The Air Force needs a serious upgrade
The Wall Street Journal
The United States Air Force has long been the envy of the world's militaries—sleek, high-tech and lethal to all who opposed it. Now, at a clandestine military base that serves as the headquarters for the Afghanistan air war, you stare at the rows and rows of decades-old planes and wonder how those things manage to make it into the sky.More

Florida using few available National Guard troops for oil spill
The St. Petersburg Times
Two months after President Barack Obama authorized 2,500 National Guard troops in Florida to combat the oil disaster, only 100 are being used. The lack of requests for the troops has frustrated the White House, which has come under withering criticism about its response to the crisis.More

J-STARS in trouble without new engines, says retiring commander
The Macon Telegraph
Maj. Gen. Scott A. Hammond, commander of the Georgia Air National Guard, warned that the future of the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft would be in doubt without new engines. The Air Force's fleet of J-STARS aircraft is operated by the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, a blended unit of Air National Guard and active duty troops. The Air Force's 17 J-STARS aircraft at Robins fly with engines that are more than 40 years old.More

Gray-area reservists' Tricare wait
Air Force Times
The promise of Tricare health benefits for so-called "gray area" reserve retirees remains illusive, with signs the Defense Department won't keep a promised Oct. 1 start date. Aimed at National Guard and reserve component members who have earned retirement benefits but are not yet eligible for health care or retired pay because they have not reached retirement age, the Tricare Retired Reserve Program was authorized by Congress last October.More

Hill exempts self from veterans' law
A new report showing that Congress has largely exempted itself from a law that aids post-military employment for vets had lawmakers and veterans groups roiled. The report, by the Office of Compliance on the state of the congressional workplace, urges Congress to apply the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act to its own hiring habits. While the law provides veterans with prioritized opportunities to land government jobs, veterans who apply for jobs with the Architect of the Capitol, U.S. Capitol Police, the Congressional Budget Office and some support positions in the House and Senate do not receive this affirmative-action-type boost, potentially preventing veterans from getting jobs.More

Military reckons with the mental wounds of war
The Washington Post
The 300-pound bomb blasted Marine Staff Sgt. James Ownbey's mine-resistant truck so high that it snapped power lines before it slammed to the dusty ground in western Iraq. Ownbey, knocked briefly unconscious by the blast, awoke to suffocating black smoke and a swirling cloud of dirt. He felt for the vehicle's door, then stumbled into the sunlight where he was joined by the rest of his woozy, three-man crew. Their bodies were sore, but they looked fine. More

National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of July 13, 2010
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Navy announced no change. The net collective result is 1,818 fewer reservists activated than last week. At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease.More