House NDAA Reduces Guard MilTech Conversion

Washington Report

(July 18, 2017) Only 4.8 percent of National Guard dual-status military technicians could be converted to federal civilians under the defense-authorization bill approved last week by the House. The fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act also extends the date for completion of the conversion by one year, to Oct. 1, 2018.

Current law allows 20 percent of that force to be put under Title 5 as federal civilian employees. The Pentagon has said that any conversion above 4.8 percent would affect readiness.

A version of the bill proposed by the Senate Armed Services Committee allows 12.6 percent of the technicians to be switched. If that number survives a Senate vote, the issue will have to be worked out before the legislation can be approved and sent to the president.

The House NDAA has a price tag of $696.5 billion, exceeding the budgetary caps set by sequestration. It includes $621.5 billion for the base budget and $75 billion for overseas contingencies.

An amendment added to the bill would allow Guard and Reserve members to seek treatment for sexual trauma at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities regardless of their duty status. Another would add $25 million for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program and $10 million for the Guard’s effort against illegal drugs.

Another amendment adopted by the House would make it easier for military members to transfer their military training to licensed occupations as civilians. It was sponsored by Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich.

The Senate has yet to discuss the $700 billion NDAA that made it out of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

A NGAUS analysis of the House Armed Services Committee version of the bill is available here.