Archives for: January 2012, 05
By unitedweroll on Jan 5, 2012 | In Military News and Support
This National Guard unit spent 2011 engaged in a program to help young people across New York state, where they reached more than 8,000 middle school students.
During our United We Roll shows, we talk often about our military members and units and how they do not stop when the duty clock stops. Whether they are stationed overseas or at home, in peaceful areas or in harm's way, our military members reach out to the citizens of the communities around them to help however they may be needed.
Why don't these incredible efforts, above and beyond protecting our country & freedom, seem to make the big news? Here is a deeply felt Thank You to those who participated in this great program.
N.Y. Guard Counterdrug Task Force helps keep 100 schools drug-free
By Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg
New York National Guard
SCOTIA, N.Y. (1/3/12) -- Throughout 2011, more than 100 communities across New York State welcomed Soldiers and Airmen of the New York National Guard, not to hear about their overseas wartime experiences, but to share life skills with students and keep them drug-free.
Part of the nation's war on drugs is fought in classrooms by Soldiers and Airmen of the Guard's Counterdrug Task Force. The Guard supports drug prevention coalitions, other state organizations and local agencies to reduce the abuse and illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
The force has 25 certified Drug Demand Reduction Soldiers and Airmen who supervise the Guard's Stay on Track curriculum, a key part of the prevention program. In 2011, the task force reached more than 8,000 middle school students in grades 6-8 in 100 schools across the state.
"We do basically anything that would get the kids off the street," said Lt. Col. Richard Sloma, commander of the Counterdrug Task Force, based here.
"Our Soldiers and Airmen are providing activities that help community organizations engage kids," he said. "We provide a number of alternate activities to drug use. We have several of those programs."
Students in the program participate in interactive activities with the National Guard mentors and learn about the negative consequences of substance abuse.
The Stay on Track program offers an innovative, fun, and comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention. The research-based curriculum is designed for classroom implementation by teachers. Special emphasis is given to tobacco, club drugs, hallucinogens, alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana and inhalants.
Each level of training also provides four modules to reinforce the benefits of living a drug-free life, from health education, decision-making and setting goals, peer communications and interpersonal skills, as well as the media's influence.
"This unique program provides a mechanism under which National Guard military experience can be employed to assist civilian law enforcement agencies to fight the corrosive effect of illegal drugs in American society," said Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, during his May 2010 Senate testimony for the 2011 National Guard Budget.
"Our National Guard Counterdrug program fills a very vital need," McKinley said.
The National Guard Counterdrug Task Force partners with other state and federal entities, including the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, New York State Police, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and a variety of community-based organizations across the state.
"We are trying to work in coalitions," Sloma said.
By working in partnership toward a common goal, the National Guard Counterdrug Task Force sponsored drug-free activities and programs to expand their reach to more than 23,000 children this past year.
"We try to go to events where there are multiple exposures to us," Sloma said. "The kids show up once a week for a summer program, or we work with the Police Athletic League, Boys and Girls Clubs, Four H, you name it."
Overall, the program covers 12 education sessions, normally spread over 12 weeks, Sloma said, depending on the schedule of the school partnering with the Guard.
"We send in one Guardsman, one Soldier or Airmen and they'll go to the school, show up in uniform and help run the program," Sloma said.
The Stay on Track program, which cost approx. $1.1 million in fiscal year 2011, is expected to visit more than 60 schools again in 2012.
"I believe in it," said Command Sgt. Maj. Roland Wells, the senior noncommissioned officer with the program for 13 years. "I have seen firsthand, students who have matured and I have seen them succeed outside of the school environment."
The National Guard uses their unique resources as a community-based military force to assist local and state law enforcement to reduce the supply of drugs in America and help youth make a commitment to be drug-free.
Guardsmen support both the reduction in supply through their assistance to interdiction efforts as well as implementing a Drug Demand Reduction program through awareness and prevention tactics in communities throughout the state.
By unitedweroll on Jan 5, 2012 | In Military News and Support
A refresh for some & news for others.......
The dos and don'ts of the political season
By Air Force 2nd Lt. Abraham J. Raymond
1st Flying Training Wing Legal Office
VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (1/2/12) - With the presidential primaries lurking around the corner, there are a few things service members must remember during this upcoming political season.
When you joined the military or became a federal employee, you did so with the knowledge that this decision came with some sacrifice.
Everyone is encouraged to register to vote, research candidates and vote for the candidates. However, for this representative democracy to function properly, civil servants and military professionals cannot be seen as partisans.
Both military members and federal employees work for the government, and, in doing so, they must support elected officials regardless of whether or not they voted for or against particular candidates. For this reason, among others, getting a paycheck directly from the federal government necessarily limits a person's ability to participate in some aspects of the political process.
Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, "Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty," and Air Force Instruction 51-902, "Political Activities by Members of the U.S. Air Force," outline permitted and restricted political actions for active military members. Service members who violate these rules may face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
There are some reoccurring issues surrounding prohibited political activities. A frequent issue concerns whether or not an individual can display a large political sign on his or her car or truck. Displaying a large political sign on your automobile is prohibited. However, members are allowed to display a political bumper sticker on their vehicle.
Military members are prohibited from using official authority to influence an election or solicit votes for a specific candidate or issue.
Military members are limited in their involvement in the political process off duty as well. This includes being a candidate for, or holding, political office, except in those circumstances authorized by the AFI.
Speaking at any partisan political gathering, including a radio or television program, and advocating for a partisan political candidate or party is also prohibited.
Military members should reference AFI 51-902 when they have any questions regarding the legality of their political activities
Rules governing political activities by government civilians are found in a federal law known as the Hatch Act. DOD civilians who violate the Hatch Act face adverse personnel actions, including suspensions and employment termination.
Most restrictions surrounding the Hatch Act are centered on the prevention of supervisors influencing subordinates to participate in or contribute to partisan groups or candidates. Federal employees may not display partisan political campaign materials in the workplace.
While federal employees may express opinions about candidates and issues when off duty, when on duty, in uniform, in a federal building, or in a federally owned or leased vehicle, federal employees may not express opinions directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group.
There are three important things to remember during the upcoming political season.
First, regardless of status, using command influence to sway subordinates to vote for a particular party, candidate or issue is prohibited by law or directive.
Second, when you receive a paycheck from the federal government, some aspects of your political freedom are limited.
Third, if you are unsure whether or not a political activity is approved, reference AFI 51-902 or contact your base legal office.
By unitedweroll on Jan 5, 2012 | In Military News and Support
National Guard Now Member of Joint Chief of Staffs - Congratulations to our Citizen Soldiers!
Adjutant general: "This is an historic moment for the National Guard"
By Air National Guard Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa
Florida National Guard
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (1/3/12) - Florida National Guardsman and chief of the National Guard Bureau Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley will officially join the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on Dec. 31 that expands the membership of the senior military advisory body to include the chief of the National Guard Bureau.
Under the new law, McKinley, 59, will serve as a full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which traditionally has included a chairman and vice-chairman and heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
"The real import of this legislation is to institutionalize the position of the chief of the National Guard Bureau," McKinley said during a Dec. 19 interview.
He noted that variables such as personalities won"t deter future National Guard Bureau chiefs from having the "opportunity to give voice to the 460,000 members" of the National Guard.
"It will mean at the highest levels I can represent the adjutants general better than I am doing today," he said. "Future chiefs will have the opportunity to brief not only the chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), but the secretary of defense and the president on matters of domestic importance, especially during natural disasters like hurricanes."
According to adjutant general of Florida, Air Force Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr., the move will improve coordination between the governors, adjutants general and federal authorities during domestic emergencies.
"The unique status of our National Guard " whether in federal or domestic operations " necessitates our chief has a seat with the traditional military services on our nation's highest military advisory council," Titshaw said.
Titshaw added that since joining the Florida Air National Guard as a T-33 Shooting Star and F-106 Delta Dart alert pilot in 1980, McKinley has steadily moved through increasing levels of responsibility and has championed the roles of Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen at every level.
"Florida is proud to call Gen. McKinley one of our own," Titshaw added. "This is an historic moment for the National Guard."
Both chambers of Congress approved the 2012 Defense Authorization Bill in early December, which included major provisions of "The National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act" " an act which called for the elevation of the chief of the National Guard Bureau to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In addition, the final defense bill also includes other key provisions of the "Empowerment Act" including: re-establishing the position of the vice chief of the National Guard Bureau at the three-star level; increasing the number of National Guard general officers considered for senior positions at U.S. Northern Command; helping to clarify the disaster response command relationship among the Guard and the U.S. military commands; authorizing the National Guard State Partnership Program and requiring reports by the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office on the cost of National Guard and Reserve units compared to similar active component units."
"This truly is a significant and historic day for the Guard and for all the Guard does for our nation," Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who helped author the Act, said in a Dec. 15 press release. "Many people have asked why this change is so important to make, and why now."Our Guard has been bravely serving in near-constant rotation with active duty forces overseas for the last decade."At the same time, Guard troops have been the military first responders here at home." Yet the Pentagon has not fully caught up with the institutional changes that must accompany those operational changes."
Gen. McKinley is a native of Jacksonville, Fla., who joined the U.S. Air Force in 1974. In November 1980 he became a member of the Florida Air National Guard's 125th Fighter Interceptor Group in Jacksonville, and progressed through the ranks. He served in key positions including: commander of the 125th Fighter Wing in 1991; commander of Southeast Air Defense Sector in 1996; deputy director of the Air National Guard in 1998 and director of the Air National Guard in 2006.
In November 2008, Gen. McKinley was sworn in and promoted as the first four-star general to lead the National Guard.
As chief, McKinley is the senior uniformed National Guard officer responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, programs and plans affecting more than half a million Army and Air National Guard personnel.
Appointed by the president, he serves as principal adviser to the secretary of defense through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on National Guard matters.
He is also the principal adviser to the secretary and chief of Staff of the Army, and the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force on all National Guard issues.
As National Guard Bureau chief, he serves as the department's official channel of communication with the governors and adjutants general.