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Changes to DoD mobilization authority could impact reservists

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Department of Defense Mobilization Authorities for Reserve Component access is undergoing some changes that could impact benefits for deploying Reservists, according to Air Force Reserve Force Generation Center officials.

The authority in Title 10 U.S.C. 12304b, Mobilization for Preplanned Mission Support, was approved by the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act. “However to date, the Air Force has not uniformly utilized this mobilization authority,” said Lt. Col. Greg Bules, Reserve Policy and Integration Legislative Initiatives program manager. “It’s important that all Citizen Airmen realize what benefits they are, and are not, entitled to with the changes,” Bules said.

Reserve Airmen who deployed in fiscal years 14, 15, and 16 have either been mobilized under Title 10 U.S.C. 12302, Partial Involuntary Mobilization, or opted to “volunteer” under 12301(d), MPA/man-days, said Bules.

“As we move forward in a resource-constrained environment, the Presidential extension of 12302 is questionable, and military planners expect to see growth in the use of 12304b,” Bules explained.

The FGC explained how the changes impact Reservists.

Like 12302, the use of 12304b activation is involuntary, but the associated benefits do not match those under 12302 and 12301(d). Currently, Reserve Airmen involuntarily mobilized under 12304b will not receive the following benefits:
• Reduced Age for Retirement
• Post 9/11 GI Bill Credit
• Vocational Rehabilitation
• Voluntary Separation Pay Recoup Protection
• Pre-Mobilization Health Care
• Federal Civilian Differential Pay

Multiple Unified Legislation and Budgeting efforts have been submitted in order to insert appropriate benefits into U.S.C. 12304b, but will require approval (and funding) by Congress, according to Bules.

One benefit was recently added to 12304b in the FY 16 National Defense Authorization Act. Reserve members mobilized under 12304b are now afforded an exemption from the five-year limit on reemployment rights, also known as USERRA rights.

As always, all who serve in the uniformed services have return rights to their civilian employment, but there will not be a five year cap.

“It is critical that activated Airmen understand what mobilization authority is in play, and what protections and benefits are authorized,” said Bules. “If you are selected for mobilization under 12304b, you should be given the option to deploy under 12301(d) status to ensure you receive the applicable benefits and entitlements.”

For more information, Reservists should contact their logistics readiness squadron, or the AFRC Force Generation Center at afrc.fgc.workflow@us.af.mil, or call 478-327-1234, DSN 497-1234, (option 3 for deployments).