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Tags: tammy duckworth | defense bill | armed services

Sen. Duckworth: Boost Pay for Guardsmen, Reservists

By    |   Thursday, 23 May 2024 11:46 AM EDT

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., reportedly is furious at the "slow roll" of a law guaranteeing incentive pay parity to National Guardsmen and reservists for special skills with their active-duty counterparts.

In an interview with Military.com, Duckworth suggested the Pentagon has until mid-June — when the Senate Armed Services Committee debates its annual defense policy bill — before she forces action.

"I am absolutely fed up," Duckworth, a retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, told Military.com. "I know when I'm being slow-rolled, and I'm being slow-rolled on this because active duty doesn't want to provide the same benefits to our Guard and reserve troops."

The issue involves a parity provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that Congress passed and the president signed into law in December 2021, Military reported — one that could add hundreds of dollars a month to a service member's paycheck.

But Duckworth notes a disparity. Active-duty and reserve paratroopers are required to keep up their skills with at least one jump every three months, but reservists get only $5 per month compared with $150 give active-duty members, Military.com reported.

"Frankly, they are short-changing our reserve forces, and you're going to lose people out of the reserve," Duckworth told Military.com.

Boosting incentive pay for reserve components could cost $546 million annually and affect about 84,601 Guardsmen and reservists, the outlet reported, noting some active-duty members could also get increased bonuses under the law, adding another $57.7 million to the cost.

The Department of Defense is now conducting another study on the effects of increasing incentive pay for reserve forces, the outlet reported.

"If a guy's jumping out of an aircraft three times in one weekend but only gets one-30th of the pay as another person who jumps out of that same aircraft three times the same weekend, there's no study needed," Duckworth told Military.com. 

"I understand that in some cases there may be more complex situations that have to do with retention pay and how you calculate it, but when it comes to something like jump pay or flight pay, they can move on that now."

At the least, Duckworth said the Pentagon must provide a firm timeline for finishing the new study.

"I'm going to be their worst nightmare on this," she told the outlet. "It's entirely unacceptable, and our service members deserve better, and I'm going to keep pushing until every reservist receives the pay they have earned and deserve."

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Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., reportedly is furious at the "slow roll" of a law guaranteeing incentive pay parity to National Guardsmen and reservists for special skills with their active-duty counterparts.
tammy duckworth, defense bill, armed services
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2024-46-23
Thursday, 23 May 2024 11:46 AM
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