Sunday, February 3, 2008

Naval Reserve Association Presents Chambliss with National Legislative Advocacy Award

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Co-Chairman of the Senate Reserve Caucus, and a member of the Senate National Guard Caucus, on Tuesday afternoon was presented with the National Legislative Advocacy Award by the Naval Reserve Association.
The organization recognized Chambliss in particular for legislation he spearheaded in the U.S. Senate to reduce the age at which members of the National Guard and Reserve can receive retirement pay. The legislation passed as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act and the President is expected to sign the legislation in the coming days.

Executive Director Rear Admiral Casey Coane and Director of Legislation Captain Ike Puzon presented Chambliss with the award on behalf of the Naval Reserve Association. Once the bill becomes law, members of the Guard and Reserve will no longer be the only federal retirees required to wait until ago 60 to collect retirement pay.

“Members of our Guard and Reserve are called upon more and more, and they make tremendous sacrifices with respect to their family lives and civilian employment,” said Chambliss. “If we’re going to continue to call on our citizen soldiers we need to take action to show that we stand behind them and appreciate the tough challenges they face. I am concerned that those who would otherwise stay in until they reach 20 years of service are going to get out, particularly those who are experiencing repeat deployments.

“My bill creates an additional incentive for them to stay and continue serving until the 20 year point so that we can take advantage of their experience and appropriately compensate them for their service. While we didn’t get everything we wanted in this bill, I believe it is a good first step. I look forward to working with the Naval Reserve Association to strengthen this legislation and further address the critical issues facing our guardsmen and women, reservists, and their families,” said Chambliss, who noted that the original legislation included a provision to make the bill retroactive to September 11, 2001.

Rear Admiral Coane, said, “The Naval Reserve Association is deeply appreciative of Senator Chambliss’ support for this important piece of legislation. Our Association has long recognized the need to improve retirement for our Reservists in light of the sacrifices that they and their families are making.”


In February 2007, Senator Chambliss held a news conference in his Atlanta office to announce the legislation and was joined by Admiral Coane, as well as then Adjutant General of Georgia, Lt. Gen. David Poythress and Major General Terry Nesbitt, then Commander of the Georgia Army National Guard and Georgia’s Homeland Security Director, and who is now the Adjutant General of Georgia.

The Chambliss provision will reduce the age for receipt of retirement pay by three months (counting down from age 60) for every 90 days a Guard or Reserve member spends on active duty in support of a contingency operation. The bill will also include time spent on active service for purposes of responding to a national emergency declared by the president or supported by federal funds.

Additional provisions of the legislation include:

The maximum reduction would be age 50
Mobilization/deployment to the continental U.S. would apply as well as mobilization/deployment to a “contingency zone”
Volunteers would be covered, as well as those involuntarily activated

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