USA — Dual-status Technicians Critical to Guard Missions

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2010 — The Nation­al Guard has many fed­er­al employ­ees who play a cru­cial role in domes­tic and over­seas oper­a­tions, and Guard lead­ers hope to expand their num­bers in the states, ter­ri­to­ries and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia.

“These tech­ni­cians are the ones who do not deploy because they are not sol­diers; they are part of the civil­ian work force. They pro­vide the crit­i­cal sup­port … while the sol­diers are deployed,” Army Maj. Gen. Ray­mond W. Car­pen­ter, act­ing direc­tor of the Army Nation­al Guard, told the House Appro­pri­a­tions Sub­com­mit­tee on Defense here yes­ter­day.

Air Force Col. William Kol­binger, the Nation­al Guard Bureau’s head of tech­ni­cian per­son­nel, not­ed that a state’s finance bat­tal­ion that han­dles Guard mem­bers’ pay could deploy. “If you have a finance bat­tal­ion going out, you may have 10,000 drilling Guard mem­bers that still need to be paid in the state, but you don’t have any­body to do that,” he said. About 52,000 tech­ni­cians are spread across the 52 states and ter­ri­to­ries and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. About 95 per­cent of them are deploy­able ser­vice­mem­bers. Less than 5 per­cent of the remain­der con­sti­tute a small, but vital core of non-deploy­able or non-dual sta­tus tech­ni­cians. Guard offi­cials said they are a small, but crit­i­cal part of the Guard’s full-time sup­port staffing.

“What they pro­vide for us are con­ti­nu­ity ser­vices that are pri­mar­i­ly gov­ern­men­tal in nature and not mil­i­tary-inher­ent,” Kol­binger said.

Guard Bureau offi­cials say the non-dual sta­tus tech­ni­cians play a vital role in sup­port­ing domes­tic oper­a­tions and the over­seas war fight. They make sure Guard mem­bers are paid, pro­vide human resources sup­port, ensure the smooth func­tion­ing of state joint force head­quar­ters, main­tain infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems and per­form numer­ous oth­er essen­tial func­tions.

“Since non-dual sta­tus employ­ees don’t deploy, they are valu­able in fill­ing the gap when ser­vice­mem­bers deploy,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, Colorado’s adju­tant gen­er­al. “Many are pri­or ser­vice and pos­sess a great deal of orga­ni­za­tion­al knowl­edge.”

The Guard is autho­rized 1,950 such tech­ni­cians. The major­i­ty — about 1,600 — are in the Army Nation­al Guard, and the remain­ing 350 work for the Air Nation­al Guard. The president’s bud­get for fis­cal 2011 includes an addi­tion­al 920 posi­tions for the Army Guard, which is about 17 more for each state, ter­ri­to­ry and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia.

“As the Army Nation­al Guard has shift­ed from [a] strate­gic reserve to an oper­a­tional force, with fre­quent mobi­liza­tions, we find that we need these non-deploy­ing civil­ian tech­ni­cians to fill cer­tain crit­i­cal posi­tions in our gen­er­at­ing force, because fill­ing these posi­tions with dual-sta­tus mil­i­tary mem­bers who deploy cre­ates a dis­rup­tion in work­flow,” Car­pen­ter said in com­ments sep­a­rate from his con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny.

Army Col. John Dolan deals with that issue in his posi­tion as the Col­orado Nation­al Guard’s human resources offi­cer.

In one instance, almost all of Colorado’s pay branch – who also serve as mil­i­tary police – were mobi­lized for a domes­tic response, leav­ing less than a hand­ful to process pay for the state’s sol­diers.

“I had three peo­ple,” Dolan said. “I had peo­ple in there 18, 19 hours try­ing to make pay­roll.”

Ryder Cur­ry serves as a non-dual sta­tus tech­ni­cian, man­ag­ing Colorado’s human resources infor­ma­tion sys­tems data­base. He said he stum­bled into the job by fill­ing in for a deployed sol­dier, who then went on active duty. After a lot of turn­around in this essen­tial posi­tion, state offi­cials adver­tised it for civil­ians, and Cur­ry land­ed the full-time job. “I have a skill set for com­put­ers over­all,” Cur­ry said. “The peo­ple I work with real­ly make it the best. I’ve got the best of the civil­ian and mil­i­tary worlds.”

Dolan said he would like more civil­ian tech­ni­cians like Cur­ry. “I could use a dozen tomor­row,” he said. “I see the biggest require­ment for them – and I’m not able to sup­port – is audit­ing, pay com­pe­ten­cies, infor­ma­tion and my fam­i­ly pro­grams.”

Fam­i­ly pro­grams need to be seam­less, flaw­less and staffed by expe­ri­enced peo­ple with insti­tu­tion­al knowl­edge, Dolan said. “Our fam­i­lies deserve that,” he said. More non-dual sta­tus tech­ni­cians would help, he added.

“The Con­sti­tu­tion reserves to the states the author­i­ty of train­ing the mili­tia,” Car­pen­ter said. “Con­se­quent­ly, it is nec­es­sary to pro­vide the states with the type of staffing need­ed to achieve the goal of con­tin­u­ing to pro­duce a ready oper­a­tional force over the long term.”

Dolan said Col­orado val­ues the sta­bil­i­ty, longevi­ty and com­pe­ten­cy non-dual sta­tus tech­ni­cians offer. “The only time they’re gone is for vaca­tion,” he said. The state also gets a bet­ter long-term return on train­ing invest­ment from the civil­ians, who tend to remain in their assign­ments for longer peri­ods. Infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy train­ing for a sin­gle employ­ee can cost more than $20,000.

“There is a high lev­el of sat­is­fac­tion in the type of jobs they have,” Dolan said. “There are oppor­tu­ni­ties for pro­gres­sion. … You don’t get rich, but you have secu­ri­ty. I don’t see peo­ple leav­ing the [non-dual sta­tus] sys­tem once they’re in there.”

Edwards said he val­ues the employ­ees’ sta­bil­i­ty and that the pro­gram some­times is a way for retired ser­vice­mem­bers to con­tin­ue serv­ing their state and coun­try.

“As opposed to ser­vice­mem­bers who often change units for career devel­op­ment, [non-dual sta­tus] employ­ees are able to stay and become sub­ject-mat­ter experts,” he said. “After leav­ing the mil­i­tary, many want to con­tin­ue serv­ing and con­tin­ue putting their knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence to work for our nation.” Car­pen­ter stressed the val­ue of non-dual sta­tus tech­ni­cians in the Nation­al Guard’s new pos­ture.

“As the Army Nation­al Guard has tran­si­tioned from a strict­ly strate­gic reserve to more of a fre­quent­ly and rota­tion­al­ly mobi­lized and deployed oper­a­tional force both at home and abroad,” he said, “it has become clear that more of the sup­port­ing posi­tions at the state lev­el need to tran­si­tion from being held by deploy­able mil­i­tary mem­bers of the Nation­al Guard to being held by non-deploy­able civil­ian tech­ni­cians.”

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Jef­frey Hilton of the Col­orado Nation­al Guard con­tributed to this arti­cle.)

Source:
Nation­al Guard Bureau

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →