May 09, 2018

Wyden Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Streamline Promotions and Secure Pay for National Guard Members

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today joined his colleagues in introducing the bipartisan, National Guard Promotion Accountability Act to address delays in federal recognition of promotions for National Guard members.

The bill would compensate Guard officers who serve at a higher rank while waiting for federal recognition by backdating their date of rank to the date they were promoted by the state.

Members of the Oregon National Guard put their lives on the line to protect and serve our country,” Wyden said. “Unfortunately, their hard work and dedication frequently go without well-deserved and timely recognition. This legislation is a critical step towards streamlining the convoluted and inefficient evaluation process to ensure that Guard members receive their hard earned pay and recognition without this needless backlog.”

National Guard promotions must be recognized by both by the state and the federal government. While thorough review is important, undue delays in the federal recognition process can have particularly negative consequences for Guard officers. An informal survey conducted by the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) showed that nearly half of respondents reported delays in federal recognition beyond the target 180 to 195 day period, with some waiting more than a year for promotion. Guard officers acting in a more senior role while waiting for their promotion to be federally recognized do not receive commensurate pay and benefits. Delays can result in officers being evaluated in lesser positions than they are qualified to perform. And Guard officers may be passed up for additional responsibility, such as command, when working hand-in-hand with their active duty counterparts on a federal mission.

The National Guard Promotion Accountability Act would take steps to fix this problem by: 

  • Backdating the date of rank: upon receiving federal recognition, an officer's promotion would be considered effective on the date at which it was recognized by the state. This allows Guard officers to claim that time in grade at the higher rank, improving future promotion opportunities and making them eligible for back-pay.
  • Imposing notification requirements for delayed federal promotion recognition: the Secretaries of the Amy and Air Force would be required to report on the status of promotion scrolls that exceed their target publication date and the reason for any delays, providing more transparency around the process.
  • Requiring a report on improvements to the process: the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force must review their existing promotion review process and report to Congress with recommendations for improvements, including considering automation, additional delegated authorities, or streamlining of existing steps.

Wyden and Senators Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and U.S. Representatives Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., and Trent Kelly, R-Miss., introduced the legislation.