NGAUS ‘FedRec’ Survey Finds Frustration

Washington Report

(February 20, 2018) Nearly half of the more than 3,000 National Guard officers from every state and territory who responded to a NGAUS survey said they waited more than 196 days for their most recent promotion to receive federal recognition.

“This process is 110% ridiculous,” one respondent commented on the system that requires the Pentagon to sign off on all Guard promotions.

Forty-nine percent [1,508] of the 3,105 who responded  to the nonscientific survey from mid-November to mid-December said more than 196 days went by between the state promotion and the federal recognition of it. Thirty-seven percent [1,163] waited between 120 and 195 days, and 14 percent [434] said less than 120 days passed.

NGAUS has shared the results of its survey with Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau. He was also provided a copy of a story from the current issue of National Guard that looks at why the wait is so long. The article is available here(link is external).

“We’ve clearly identified a problem,” says retired Col. Mike Hadley, the NGAUS legislative director.

Further inquiry reveals that the problem is deepest in the Army Guard. Nearly 90 percent of the survey responses came from soldiers. The problem seems less severe in the Air Guard. Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, the Massachusetts adjutant general, called the problem “Army-centric.”

Col. Chad Stevens, the personnel office for Nebraska’s Army Guard, blames the wait on requirements to more fully vet each officer promoted to avoid embarrassing scandals.

“That’s what we’ve been adjusting to,” he says, “and the Army National Guard staff has been working hard with the [Department of the Army] and the secretary’s office to be in compliance.”

Checking one more box, he says, adds time to the process.

Hadley says there may be several ways to address the problem. Imposing timelines for the paperwork might help, he says, along with adding automation to the process.

“I think it’s a matter of priority,” he says.

The issue does have the attention of senators and Army Secretary Mark Esper, who said his office is investigating the wait times.

The NGAUS legislative team sent a Legislative Alert asking members to seek support for the bills from their elected representatives. You can write to Congress here(link is external).