Sec. 519 Study
LIUNA to Participate in Study to Determine Future of National Guard Dual Status Techs
by Ben Banchs

New Orleans, LA (February 8, 2012) - After nearly 45 years of not knowing whether they're State or Federal employees, or who exactly they work for (State Adjutant Generals or the Department of Defense), National Guard Dual-Status Technicians may get the answer to those questions. Section 519 of the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires an independent study of the "feasibility of terminating" the technician program in favor of another category of employment.
The report is very specific, and everything seems to be on the table. This review could lead to all technicians being converted  to either Title 5, Active Duty, or AGR, or converting everyone back to State employees, which is where technicians started way back in 1916. There's also the possibility that everything stays the way it is, but there's no mistaking the fact that this is the first time since 1968 that the technician program is being seriously considered for restructuring.

The study will be conducted by a private firm. This firm will be required to answer many different questions covering budgetary issues, program management, the pros and cons of each option, and the impact that any change to the status quo may have on the readiness of the Guard.

The original language of Section 519 did not contain any requirement to involve actual technicians in the study. This was a concern for LIUNA because we wanted to ensure that the people who know the most about the dual-status technician program, our members, played a key role in the study findings. So we went to work on adding language in the NDAA that requires the involvement of actual technicians. Over the last few months, the National Guard District Council together with LIUNA lobbyists in Washington, DC approached Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and sponsor of LIUNA’s National Guard Technician Equity Act (S. 1893), to add language to the NDAA that requires the Defense Department to include National Guard technicians in this review. 

So after a lot of hard work, and the strong support of Senator Reed,
our Union was able to secure the involvement of National Guard dual-status technicians in the study. We don't exactly know what that involvement will look like. We may need to select technicians for an extended tour of duty on the study team, or it may be a matter of providing our input in writing to the firm conducting the study. Either way, LIUNA and the National Guard District Council would like to thank Senator Reed, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin (D-MI), and Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) for their inclusion of this critically important provision. LIUNA is working closely this year with Senator Reed’s office 
and the Senate Armed Services Committee to ensure that technicians have a say in their future.

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