Whats Your Status?

BogiDope, a KC-135 refuels two F-16s.

Anyone who is new to the Air National Guard (ANG) can attest to this simple fact, understanding who you work for on any given day is extremely confusing.  Heck, it can be confusing for those that have been in the Guard for several years.  In order to clear up some of that confusion, let's take a look at how different laws affect a Guard member’s duty status, pay and who they ultimately work for while performing their military duty.

There are two laws that come into play when dealing with the National Guard: U.S. Code Title 10 “Armed Forces” and U.S. Code Title 32 “National Guard”. Title 10 establishes and defines the role of the active duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and their Reserve Components. Title 32 establishes and defines the role of the State Militia or National Guard. The National Guard is made up of two separate branches, the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. Each of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands have a National Guard. The National Guard is both a state militia and reserve component of the active duty military. As a result, both Title 10 and Title 32 apply to the National Guard.

As a member of the National Guard, there are three different ways to perform full time duty:

State Active Duty (SAD)

Command Authority: State Governor

Duty Performed By: State Militia

Duty Location: Within the Individual State or Territory 

Pay: In Accordance with Individual State Law

Retirement Credit: In Accordance with Individual State Law

Under normal operations, the chain of command for members the National Guard extends up to the governor of that individual state. In order to respond to natural disasters and homeland security threats, state governors have the ability to call their state militias to active duty. Known as State Active Duty, guardsmen have the ability help provide humanitarian relief as well as the ability to augment local law enforcement officers in the case of civil unrest. When a governor decides to call a militia to State Active Duty, the state is financially responsible for paying it’s militia members. Individual laws that determine actual pay rates and retirement credit (points) vary by state.

Title 32: Full Time National Guard Duty

Command Authority: State Governor

Duty Performed By: Federally Recognized Militia

Duty Location: United States and its Territories 

Pay: Federal Pay based on Rank & Longevity, Allowance for Subsistence & Housing plus Incentive Pay

Retirement Credit:  One Retirement Point per Day

Under certain circumstances state governors can petition the federal executive branch to call their state militia to “Full Time National Guard Duty” to assist with Homeland Defense or natural disaster relief. Under Title 32 status, the state governor maintains command over the National Guard. While in practice it appears to be the same as State active Duty, it is the federal government that funds the duty.  In addition to earning one retirement point per day during Full Time National Guard Duty, Guard members also receive pay, housing allowance, subsistence allowance and incentive pay (i.e. Aviation Career Incentive Pay, also know as Flight Pay) based on rank and longevity in accordance with federal military pay charts.

Title 10: Active Duty 

Command Authority: President of the United States

Duty Performed By: Active Duty Military, Reserve Component & National Guard

Duty Location: Worldwide

Pay: Federal Pay based on Rank & Longevity, Allowance for Subsistence & Housing plus Incentive Pay

Retirement Credit: One Retirement Point per Day

Title 10 allows the President of the United States to call National Guard forces to active duty.  The order to active duty or federalization of the National Guard can be for a multitude of reasons ranging from war time duty to augment active duty forces (currently the most common reason) to suppressing an insurrection or repelling an invasion. National Guard members activated under Title 10 are removed from their state chain of command and become a member of the active duty military. In some situations, the federalization may be voluntary, while in others it may be non-voluntary. The pay and retirement credit are identical to Full Time National Guard Duty with members receiving federally authorized pay, housing allowance subsistence allowance and incentive pay based, in addition to the one retirement point for each day served.

So How Does This Apply to a Typical Flying Squadron?

This is great information but how does this apply to the Air National Guard squadron I am in or applying to? As an Air National Guard member you need to realize that there are many different statuses you can be on.  While the point of this article is not to explain each one of these statuses it is important to understand how Title 10, Title 32 and SAD orders normally work in a squadron. 

Let’s start with the least common one which are SAD orders.  It can basically be assumed that as a pilot you will most likely never be put on SAD orders.  If you did however, realize you are not on flying status and are going to be paid very similar to how Annual Training works.  Therefore, you are not going to receive flight pay, BAH or BAS; you are only going to get a fraction of your normal pay.  Once again these types are rare and are normally only issued for a state exercise or state call up for a (non-federal) emergency.  The most recent SAD orders occurred with Hurricane Irma.  Members of the Florida National Guard were called upon to help with relief efforts both during and after the storm. Even though this has occurred recently, as a pilot don’t expect to see these types of orders or to have to deal with them often. 

Ok now let’s switch gears and apply Title 32 to a typical flying squadron.  As you probably noticed from above, Title 32 is the bread and butter of the National Guard.  When you take a look at your squadron as a whole you can expect that 95% of the individuals (while at home) are in Title 32 status.  All of the full-time individuals, which are mainly AGR’s (Air Guard Reserve) are also in Title 32 status.  This includes the Wing, Group and Squadron leadership.  Despite the position the individual fills, if they are full-time then they fall under this status. The same goes for the technicians in the squadron as well.  If you are a part-time Drill Status Guardsmen (DSG) you are also in Title 32 status.  No matter whether you are executing Additional Flying Periods, Annual Training or Drill weekends, Title 32 is your status. 

The last status is Title 10.  Most individuals in the squadron are not on Title 10 status.  In fact if someone is in the flying squadron and in Title 10 status then they are most likely on whats called a “Command Sponsor Tour.”  This means this individual is on loan from the National Guard Bureau to get command experience in the squadron before returning to the National Guard Bureau.  Other times individuals can be in Title 10 status is dependent on the type of job they are doing.  The most common Title 10 status jobs are staff level jobs either at the National Guard Bureau or equivalent type positions. 

 The last type of Title 10 orders that can be found in a normal Guard unit are with dual-status commanders.  These are active duty individuals that are commanding a Guard squadron.  In this case these individuals actually have dual status and are both Title 10 and Title 32.  The only other time this dual status can occur is in a state emergency.  During these instances a 1-star general will normally be granted dual-status in order to command both the state assets (Guardsmen) and federal assets (FEMA).  

Hopefully the above provides a little clarity regarding some of the different duty statuses for members of Air National Guard.  When you are applying to a unit you don't need to have a Ph.D in Guard statuses. However, understanding these three will show you understand the basics and have done your research. 

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