Defense Secretary Robert Gates has opted to pursue 64 additional recommendations—18 are already in the works—out of the 95 put forth by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves in its final report issued earlier this year. The commission’s effort, for the most part, met with much praise, but some of its recommendations for the Air and Army Guard were called “corrosive” and “flat-out wrong” by leaders of the powerful Senate National Guard Caucus. The caucus decried one in particular, No. 94, which would have made the directors of the Air and Army Guard members of the Air Force and Army staffs, much as is the case with the Air Force Reserve and Army Reserve. No. 94 did not survive the Pentagon review. Another recommendation initially raised hackles, but commission members acknowledged that the language in No. 22 was a “poor choice of words,” vowing that they had no intention of suggesting a 50 percent cut in reserve pay. No. 22 is on the DOD action list, with the Undersecretary of Personnel and Readiness tasked to lead a senior level working group to suggest ways to reduce the number of duty statuses. The commission said there currently are 29 and recommended going down to two: on (active) duty and off (active) duty. In his tasking memo, Gates noted that the commission had “validated two of the strategic initiatives”—the new operational role of the reserve forces and the continuum of service construct—the Pentagon recently codified in a new directive and accompanying white paper. He also said that “some of the corrective actions I am directing differ from those proposed by the commission.” Gates expects the lead offices for each of the 64 recommendations to produce implementation plans within 25 days.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.