Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel fired a shot across the bow today of Nine Red states that have refused to follow directives from the Dept of Defense and issue Military identification cards to the Spouses and children of same sex couples. Follow along below the orange jump and I will tell you why this is a big effing deal and how it is not going to end well for the states involved.
I had heard about this issue awhile ago, and my first thought was, well that won't last long before the DOD takes them to the woodshed. Well Chuck Hagel Just started that process.
As reported in The Army Times -
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday sharply criticized U.S. states that are defying the Pentagon by refusing to allow National Guard facilities to issue ID cards that enable same-sex spouses of military members to claim benefits.This insane ploy by certain Red state regressives is stupid and disenfranchises US Citizens that are entitled by law to be able to get benefits they earned. Pretty much at any base (even a National Guard base) ANYONE can go receive an ID card which gives them access to benefits they are due. This is MOST important to active and guard family members AND Disabled Veterans - (Disabled Vets that are rated 100% disabled AND their families are authorized ID Cards and access to Military facilities. ALSO by DOD directive all facilities issuing ID cards MUST SERVE ALL ELIGIBLE CITIZENS!
“This is wrong,” Hagel said in remarks prepared for delivery in New York.
“Not only does this violate the states’ obligation under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they’re entitled to,” he said.
Hagel said these states’ policies are unfair. He said he ordered the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank Grass, to “take immediate action to remedy this situation.”
The states that are involved are these - Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.
I saw it reported elsewhere that the Chief of the National Guard Bureau will be meeting with the Adjutant Generals of those states to resolve this issue. In my informed opinion (having more than twenty years in the Guard) this will be a one sided meeting where the State AG's will be told either comply with DOD guidelines or we shut off some of your funding.
AND THAT is where the rubber really meets the road. Certain Red State Governors might be under the illusion that the folks in their state belong to them and they are commander in Chief and can do whatever the hell they want to with their troops and their facilities. Which is a great Republican theory really, because it has not one shred of US law to back it up.
Now days, and pretty much for the last 50 years the National Guard of all states are no longer really a State Militia, Yes the Governor of a state CAN call up the troops and pretty much (within their own borders) do anything that pleases him/her. The catch is - The state has to pay for the mobilization. But for day to day operations of the National Guard the US Federal Government pays 95% the bills.
All those cool helicopters, and Humvee's and big trucks the Guard uses? Every last one of them is ON LOAN from the Army or Air Force. And Uncle Sam can and does take some of them back (I have seen that first hand multiple times).
The other thing is all those folks that actually issue ID Cards? Most if not all of them are paid by DOD in one of two forms. They are either civilian DOD technicians working for DOD and paid by OPM (the Office of Personnel Management), or they are AGR's (Active Guard and Reserve) and paid directly by DOD just as anyone in an active status would be.
Guard facilities come in two forms (Federal and State) although even most state facilities are built with some federal money, state facilities are usually training facilities and Armories and remain under complete state control. Federal facilities such as headquarters, hangars, maintenance shops and auxiliary buildings are federal and remain under federal control thru their entire life cycle.
I fully expect to see most of these states change their policies fairly fast, although I know better than to think that some of the more clueless Governors will drag the issue out.
Chuck Hagel has a laundry list of things he can legally do to push these states into complying. And believe me it is NEVER good to piss off the Chief of Guard Bureau, because THAT is the guy that signs off on each and every States Guard budget for the year, and he can giveth or he can taketh away....
My best guess is this will happen - the Chief of Guard Bureau is going to tell the State AG's to get in compliance with DOD regs for issuing ID cards or their Federal recognition of Rank will be either removed or suspended. This means all those two star Generals will become ONE star Generals. AND since they are refusing to meet federal regulations for issuance of ID cards, any and all personnel that do issue ID Cards and are paid by DOD and OPM will be either reassigned to other locations or no longer paid by DOD / OPM.
I can think of a dozen other ways Guard Bureau can put the stick to these states but those two are the most likely. Chuck Hagel is not a vindictive guy, but neither is he a push over. He believes this is an issue of fairness and compliance with the law and anyone that wants to try and push him around on it will pay a price for it.
I know this is a political issue being pushed by some of the dumber Gopers in deep red states, and you know most of the state AG's and the folks that actually issue ID cards probably don't care about the politics of this.
But I for one am glad that OUR Secretary of Defense is standing up for the rights of everyone under the law, and telling these "states Rights" knuckle draggers that they need to wake the hell up and obey the law.
I fully expect some of the dumber Governors to drag this out, cry, complain and moan how they are being forced to do stuff by the big bad ole Gummint....
Perhaps they should remember that those folks in their state that make up the Guard? Are PAID 95% by that big bad ole Gummint.... Pass the popcorn and wait for the slap down, because it is coming.
Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM PT: Update - one other perfect thing the Chief of Guard Bureau / DOD can do...
simply tell these states that if they are not going to comply with DOD regulations then we will take away the states ability to issue ID cards at all. Which can be done in a heartbeat, since the laptops and special printers that make those ID cards are OWNED by DOD...
3:18 AM PT: Update II - MSNBC has the story up as well with some further info and a really stupid statement by one of the authors - "The same-sex spouses are not being denied the cards entirely but they must travel to a federal facility to obtain them, which in some cases is hours away." Well BALONEY, they ARE being denied an ID card and access to the same benefits every other person receives from the National Guard Administrative unit issuing them a card. Also it seems South Carolina would rather throw their own citizens under the bus rather than have to actually stop discriminating against same sex couples and their children. Quote - "After reviewing the state and federal laws, one state – South Carolina – decided to just change the rules for everyone, and now requires all service members to go to a federal facility for their IDs.". That's some mighty fine Tea Bagging, Bigoted thought processes for you, "We can't get away with just discriminate against the Gays anymore, so we will just screw over our own troops and citizens too....".
4:39 AM PT: One last quick update, and thanks for putting this hash of a dairy up on the rec list... Not being a mind reader I cannot say what the stick will actually be that Chuck Hagel is going to use if some of those state Governors balk at following the law and issuing ID cards to everyone as they have been told to. I know he can just take away their ability to issue cards at all, but I also believe he will use that as a last resort since it will hurt every persons ability to obtain ID cards in the states affected. If I was him I would have the Guard Bureau Chief tell those State AG's , "Hey guys you know how DOD is looking to cut force structure and jobs due to the budget problems? Well did you know your states are now on the top of that list?".