Governors to Congress: Military Technicians Help Keep Our Country Safe

WASHINGTON— Today the National Governors Association (NGA) announced governors’ support for the legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) to modernize and enhance the National Guard Military Technician program and preserve the Guard’s readiness for state and federal military missions, including responses to civil emergencies.

National Guard dual-status military technicians are full-time, federally funded uniformed employees of the state military department who are required to maintain membership in their state’s National Guard. Military technicians are critical to the operations of the National Guard and serve as their governor’s immediate response force in times of emergency such as tornadoes, floods, wildfires and civil disturbances.

Sen. Manchin’s and Rep. Abraham’s legislation modernizes the Technician Act of 1968 by addressing several concerns, including bonus eligibility for military technicians, access to Tricare reserve select and the establishment of a binding appeals process that is quick and efficient.

Governors strongly support the legislation because it preserves the Guard’s ability to respond to state emergencies. The legislation will reduce the requirement that the Department of Defense must convert 20 percent of all military technicians from members of the Guard to full-time federal civilian employee status by October 1, 2017. The bill instead supports the military judgment of state Adjutants General and the findings of the Department of Defense that no more than 4.8 percent of current dual-status military technicians in the Guard and Reserves can be converted to full-time federal civilian employees without degrading military readiness.