Department Reaches Out to Guard, Reserve Employers

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2011 — The Defense Depart­ment is reach­ing out to employ­ers of Nation­al Guards­men and reservists with a major sur­vey to find out how the past decade of war and the heavy use of reserve-com­po­nent forces has affect­ed their civil­ian work­places.
The depart­ment is dis­trib­ut­ing the sur­veys to some 80,000 employ­ers through­out March and April to gain insight into the ben­e­fits and chal­lenges of employ­ing mem­bers of the Guard and reserves, Den­nis M. McCarthy, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for reserve affairs, told Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice today.

It is the largest sur­vey of its kind since the mil­i­tary entered sus­tained oper­a­tions fol­low­ing the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks against the Unit­ed States, McCarthy said. While sur­veys have looked into how Guard and reserve mem­bers are far­ing, none have focused pri­mar­i­ly on employ­ers and how they’ve been affect­ed, he said.

“We want to know a lit­tle more about them and what their expe­ri­ences have been,” McCarthy said. “We want to know what they’ve gained, how they see the val­ue of hav­ing mem­bers of the Nation­al Guard and reserve work­ing for them. We want to know what pres­sures there have been, and the things they’ve done to deal with it.”

The sur­vey also is about sus­tain­ing mil­i­tary rela­tions with employ­ers and assess­ing the val­ue the mem­bers of the reserve com­po­nents bring to a work­place, McCarthy said.

“We want to get some ideas, if they have them — and I know they will — of what we can do to sus­tain their sup­port in the future,” he said. “What I hear all the time is that these men and women who serve in the Nation­al Guard and reserve are among [their] best employ­ees.”

McCarthy said he expects employ­er respons­es to be high. Phone calls were placed to about 40,000 of the tar­get­ed employ­ers to noti­fy them of the sur­vey, and only about 1,500 asked that it not be sent to them, he said.

The sur­vey is being dis­trib­uted by Employ­er Sup­port of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Depart­ment agency cre­at­ed in 1972 to devel­op and main­tain employ­er sup­port for Guard and reserves ser­vice. ESGR hosts annu­al Employ­er Free­dom Awards to rec­og­nize the best employ­ers for those serv­ing in the reserve com­po­nents. This year, some 3,000 ser­vice mem­bers have nom­i­nat­ed their employ­ers, a record num­ber since the awards were cre­at­ed 16 years ago, McCarthy said.

The high num­ber of nom­i­nees reflects the sup­port Guard and reserve mem­bers have felt in the past decade, McCarthy said.

“After 10 years of con­flict, where we’ve mobi­lized over 800,000 reserves, the lev­el of sup­port by employ­ers in this coun­try has been absolute­ly phe­nom­e­nal,” he said. “This sur­vey is intend­ed to help us sus­tain that sup­port … and main­tain a part­ner­ship well into the future.”

McCarthy added that he hopes the sur­vey results will trans­late into laws and poli­cies to sus­tain the strong rela­tion­ship between the reserve com­po­nents and employ­ers.

The sur­vey is being dis­trib­uted to employ­ers of all sizes and indus­tries in every state and ter­ri­to­ry, ESGR offi­cials said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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