Soldiers Gold Mine

Nuggets to keep you informed

12/03/2012   
 

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Payment of Additional Training Assemblies (ATAs) for Electronic Based Distribution Learning (EBDL) Courses

Soldiers can now receive compensation for some distance learning (DL) courses they are required to take. Army Directive 2010-06 authorized compensation for the successful completion of electronic based distributed learning (EBDL) coursework. The 108th Training Command (IET) has reallocated some of its RMA funds to ATA funds for eligible EBDL courses. Here is who is eligible, how to request compensation and how to pay Soldiers that earn compensation.

First, commanders must direct, in writing, Soldiers to complete EBDL training, citing availability of funds. Soldiers in the grades of E1 to E6, W1 to W2 and O1 to O3 are eligible for this compensation. The courses must attain unit readiness and be listed on the approved course list in AR Pay Message 12-07. Soldiers must complete the course before receiving payment. Payment for partial completion is NOT authorized.

Soldiers will be compensated 1 ATA for every 8 hours of completed EBDL coursework but may not receive payment for more than 12 ATAs during the fiscal year (1 Oct - 30 Sep). RMAs cannot be used to compensate Soldiers for coursework if a Soldier uses all 12 ATAs during the fiscal year. Soldiers must attach a DA Form 87, certificate of completion, or ATRRS printout showing course completion to a DA Form 1380 and submit it to their unit administrators to receive compensation.

Unit administrators will pay ATAs using ADARS in the RM module of RLAS as drill type 41and input the ATA date using the date of course completion. They must use the dates immediately prior to the course completion date that do not conflict with other paid military duty if the Soldier earns multiple ATAs for completion of an approved course.

Soldiers may complete Commander approved EBDL course work at any location, including but not limited to US Army Reserve Centers, Digital Training Facilities, other public computer use facilities, and their residence. The effective date of this policy is 1 October 2012. Compensation for courses completed prior to 1 Oct 12 is not authorized.

Contact your unit administrator if you have any questions.

G1
The Lodging-In-Kind Program
The Lodging-In-Kind (LIK) Program is going through some transitions this year. It will be managed by the 108th Training Command G-1 and is also being expanded to cover some additional grades this year. LIK covers the lodging costs for eligible personnel who live outside commuting distance and who are approved by the commander to participate in this program. The program is also subject to fund availability.

The LIK program:

  1. Is a tool for commanders to take care of Soldiers and recruit and retain them from a larger geographical area.
  2. Allows Soldiers not within normal commuting distance to attend Battle Assembly without incurring lodging costs.
  3. Will encourage and promote additional opportunities for career progression for Soldiers outside of their local geographical area.
  4. Does not authorize payment for meals.

For Soldiers:

So, who is eligible? Soldiers in the rank of E9 and below who live outside the 50-mile commuting radius, and Soldiers in the rank of COL/CW5 and below who live outside the 75-mile commuting radius are eligible to participate in this program. This program is administered by the battalion utilizing the unit government purchase card (GPC) wherever possible.

How do I participate:

Each Soldier must complete a Soldier’s Statement of Understanding and it must be renewed once a year. Once approved by the commander to participate in this program, Soldiers complete a Soldier Lodging Request. A Soldier Lodging Request is completed for EACH month by the Soldier who intends to participate. Soldiers will lodge two-to-a-room per gender/rank, without exception; males with males, females with females, officers with officers and enlisted with enlisted.

What is NOT paid for in the LIK program:

Travel reimbursement, per diem and additional charges incurred while staying at the hotel are not included. Additions charges not reimbursable include, but are not limited to pay-per-view movies, local and long distance phone charges, refreshments and other incidentals that the hotel may charge for services provided or used.

For Units:

  1. Appoint a primary and alternate LIK Program Coordinator on an additional duty appointment memorandum
  2. Create and maintain a unit, battalion or brigade LIK Program Coordinator’s Battle Book. These battle books contain specific information as outlined in the 108th Training Command’s Memorandum of Instruction.
  3. Select lodging facilities and ensure that competition is used in the local area.
  4. Validate lodging requests, ensure compliance with the 108th TC MOI and government lodging rates.
  5. Verify and Pay lodging expenses.

When can LIK be used:

The LIK program is only used for Inactive Duty Training and all MUTAs. The number of lodging nights authorized is based on the following:

  1. MUTA 2 or 3 - one night lodging
  2. MUTA 4 or 5 - two nights lodging
  3. MUTA 6 or 7 - three nights lodging
  4. MUTA 8 - four nights lodging

For question regarding this program, contact your Unit LIK Program Coordinator.

G2
JUST SHRED IT!!!
The purpose of this article is to inform our Soldiers how to protect themselves, and others, against identity theft. In the Department of Defense, we attach terms and acronyms to unclassified information like Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU), For Official Use Only (FOUO) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Most of us know that all of this information should be shredded.
We maintain copies of Regulations, Field Manuals, Circulars, etc. at our Reserve Centers. All of these must be properly destroyed when no longer needed. We also print a multitude of documents and reports on our printers at our Reserve Centers and at home. It’s often difficult to determine if a document or report is FOUO or needs to be shredded because it contains PII.
For best security control measures, adopt a “Just Shred It” policy. All units have shredders located at the USAR Centers that meet the requirements for properly destroying PII. Our unit shredders are also available for items that are printed or received at home. We all receive mail every day that contains our PII. It can be a utility bill, a preapproved credit card application, or a bank statement. Place these mailings and printings from our home computers in a bag or box and bring them in to the next Battle Assembly. Units, Soldiers and their families should all embrace “Just Shred It” and shred anything that may have our PII on it.

G7

SSD. ALARACT 216-2012, (Structured Self Development (SSD) Prerequisite for NCOES)
The Army has changed the effective date for SSD to become a Prerequisite for NCOES. The changes are as follows:
Effective 1 Apr 13, Structured Self Development 1 (SSD-1) is a Prerequisite to attend Warrior Leader Course (WLC).
Effective 1 Jun 13, Structured Self Development 3 (SSD-3) is a Prerequisite to attend Senior Leader Course (SLC).
Effective 1 Jun 13, Structured Self Development 4 (SSD-4) is a Prerequisite to attend Sergeant Major Course (SMC).
Effective 1 Jan 15, Structured Self Development 5 (SSD-5) is a Prerequisite for a Nominative Assignments.

APFT. ALARACT 232-2012 (Retention of Army Physical Fitness Test and Initiation of Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Study)
An independent assessment conducted by the Army did not endorse the proposed five events Physical Readiness Test (PRT). It found that the proposed five events (Push Ups, Sit Ups, Shuttle Run, Long Jump and the 1.5 mile run) did not measure adequately Soldier’s performance of warrior task and battle drills. As a result of this assessment the Army has decided to continue to assess Soldier’s individual physical fitness using the current three events APFT until further notification. Additionally, TRADOC will reinstitute the Master Fitness Trainer Course in order to provide Commanders at all levels with fitness advisors for their units. TRADOC began his Pilot Master Fitness Training Course back in August 2012 and USARC will follow starting summer 2013.

PME. Army Directive 2012-20 (Physical Fitness and Height/Weight Requirements for Professional Military Education (PME)
On September 17, 2012, The Army released Army Directive 2012-20 (Physical Fitness and Height/Weight requirements for Professional Military Education). The document states that Soldiers prior to enroll and attend a PME school must comply with the Army’s APFT and Height and Weight standards. Any Soldiers that are not in compliance with APFT and H/W standards will not be eligible to enroll or attend any PME school until compliance is met.

G8
In order to support the Army Audit Readiness initiative, Soldiers must ensure that proper documentation is included with all Defense Travel System (DTS) vouchers. In keeping with this policy, a PDF copy of the itinerary with airline receipt must be included with attached receipts. Whenever you travel and commercial air costs were incurred, you must maintain and upload your Virtually There e-Invoices to DTS. The DoD FMR Volume 9, Chapter 5 requires attachment of this documentation.
In keeping with the new Army policy effective 1 October, 2012, DTS reservations for airline tickets now require 72 hours advance scheduling to ensure a ticket can be purchased. Please ensure that all travel is scheduled far enough in advance to meet this new requirement.

From the Staff Judge Advocate

It is SRP time at Battle Assembly. It is more of just “checking the blocks” at the variety of tables around the building. You want to get it knocked out so you can get out the door and spend some time with your family before you go down range. One of those stops is by the JAG’s table. You need a power of attorney for your spouse, and you did a will a few years ago, so you are good to go. Your estate plan is set in the event the unthinkable occurs and you leave a spouse and children with something to work with. Are you sure?

Your estate plan is not complete if your financial accounts (insurance, retirement plans, investments, etc.) have out-of-date beneficiaries listed. In one recent case, a lawsuit was filed against a deceased parent’s pension plan for money that should have been paid to the child, not the mother - who was still listed as the sole beneficiary even though the mother forfeited rights to his pension in their divorce. Had the decedent done the following, the mess and expense would have been avoided.

First, remember that your will does not necessarily take precedence over all things. Every Soldier should check every account for designations of a beneficiary (the person who will automatically receive the money in the account should the Soldier die). Accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, insurance policies (e.g. SGLI) and annuities – are not controlled by the decisions in your will. Those things “pass” outside of your will, so even if you wrote your ex-spouse out of your final will and estate years ago he or she would still get your IRA or other retirement accounts if you never changed its beneficiary. The lesson is to review these financial choices periodically, especially after a birth, divorce, or other major life event. Also, do not make the mistake of leaving beneficiary forms blank. Accounts then go to probate court for distribution, and rules on who gets what vary by state. In addition, the distribution is delayed and may cost money in attorney fees and court costs.

Second, changing beneficiaries is not complicated. Many of these beneficiary forms are available online or available with a phone call. To name a new beneficiary, all you will need is the person’s birth date and, sometimes, Social Security Number. As any good Soldier knows, make copies of any form you submit and request confirmation. Store a master list of accounts and beneficiaries with the rest of your estate documents so that your executor (the person who administers you last wishes) can track this information down.

Third, if you do select a minor as a beneficiary then it will also involve probate which is costly and time consuming. In most state jurisdictions, a court is required to oversee the distribution of money left to children (under 18 years of age). You can avoid probate court by investing some money now in having an attorney set up a trust in the child’s name. The advantage to setting up a trust is that it gives you control even after your death by setting restrictions or qualifiers before the child gets the money. One popular example is setting a minimum age (30 years old) or even requires distribution upon completion of college.

Fourth, it is important to know retirement accounts can have varied rules on inheritances. With 401(k)s and IRAs, there are some advantages to naming a spouse over a child. Your spouse can “roll over” such accounts into his or her own name, thus delaying distributions and taxes until the age of 70½ and saving money. But if you allow your child to directly inherit, he must start taking distributions and paying tax to Uncle Sam the first year after your death. In addition, do not list your “estate” (a non-person) as beneficiary. If you do, your heirs then must empty the account within five years by law, which could cost them gains on investments (more money) and move them into a higher tax bracket (more money to Uncle Sam).

Finally, you should you pick a contingent beneficiary (a “back up”) for those accounts. If your primary beneficiary dies before you and you forget to update with a new beneficiary, the account goes to time consuming and costly probate court. Having a contingent beneficiary also gives the primary beneficiary the option to execute a “qualified disclaimer,” which passes the inheritance to the contingent without gift taxation by Uncle Sam.

Don’t want your intended heirs to have to chase after their money? Better make sure they’re listed on your financial accounts.

LTC Bobby Don Gifford is the Staff Judge Advocate for the 95th Training Division


Safety
Know the signs, save
Soldiers’ lives
By Julie Shelley
Strategic Communication Directorate
U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center
Fort Rucker, Ala
.
The Army is changing the way leaders, Soldiers and safety professionals receive seasonal safety information, and also asking that everyone keep their eyes open for the signs they or their buddy might be at risk of an accident.
The Army Safe Autumn Campaign, launching Sept. 4, will be the first of four seasonal installments in this redesign, and additionally serves as the kickoff for the overarching “Know the Signs” safety awareness effort.
“No Soldier comes into the Army without certain expectations,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens, director of Army Safety and commanding general, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. “Likewise, the Army has its own expectations, chiefly that Soldiers will abide by their training and standards and act in a disciplined manner 24/7. Unfortunately, we’re seeing that some Soldiers don’t believe training, discipline or standards apply off duty.”
Just shy of the end of fiscal 2012, the majority of the 103 Soldier deaths occurring off duty have been attributed to indiscipline, especially regarding privately owned vehicle and motorcycle fatalities. A number of leaders at the rank of E5 and above have been involved in fatal accidents attributed to indiscipline, a fact that alarms USACR/Safety Center Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Stidley.
“Young Soldiers look up to their leaders, there’s absolutely no doubt about that,” Stidley said. “Any leader who willfully disregards the standards he enforces on his Soldiers is a terrible example and shouldn’t be leading in the first place.”
The KTS campaign is themed around the idea that someone always knows when a Soldier is at risk for an accident — whether it’s the Soldier, his battle buddies or his leaders. Intervention can be difficult, but it’s often the only way to take action before a troubled Soldier’s life ends in tragedy. Each of the four seasonal campaigns will fall under the larger KTS umbrella.
Edens encouraged all members of the Army Family to visit the USACR/Safety Center home page, https://army.mil, for more information on KTS and the schedule of seasonal safety campaign releases.
“Safety has to be an imperative in our formations,” he said. “These campaigns are one way leaders can make that happen, but tools are just tools until someone puts them into action.
“Remember that every product we release is just a baseline — leaders can tailor them to their own unique needs. The important thing is getting the information out there to your Soldiers.”

Chaplain
How to Register for a Strong Bonds Event
Many have asked how to register for a Strong Bonds Event. Below is a simple step by step on how to sign up for an event. Please be advised the Regional Support Command (RSC) will have the final approval of your request.

  1. Go to www.strongbonds.org
  2. Login to site- The login link is located in the upper right hand corner of the page. If you have not registered for this site you will be prompted to register. You will have to us your AKO email address.
  3. Once you are logged in click the tab “EVENT” than click “FIND AN EVENT.
  4. Select “Army Reserve.”
  5. Select which event you want to attend.
  6. Find the event you are looking to attend. Please be advised you can only attend an event within the RSC you reside in.
  7. Review the information than click “Register” at the bottom of the page.
  8. Please fill out the information the form is requesting.
  9. After you complete this above form. You will receive additional information from the RSC. They will send you a RFO for your first line supervisor or Commander to sign, vital information concerning DTS, and what you need to get travel for your spouse and family as needed.

If you need further assistance with signing up for a Strong Bonds event please contact your Command Chaplain Office.

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