Academic journal article The University of Memphis Law Review

Protecting Civilian Employment and Providing Healthcare to the Citizen Soldier in the National Guard and Reserve Components

Academic journal article The University of Memphis Law Review

Protecting Civilian Employment and Providing Healthcare to the Citizen Soldier in the National Guard and Reserve Components

Article excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION.................... 916

II. RESERVE COMPONENTS: THEIR HISTORIC AND CURRENT ROLE IN NATIONAL DEFENSE.................... 917

A. The Citizen Soldier in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.................... 917

B. The Evolving Role of the Twentieth Century Reserve Components.................... 922

C. The Modern National Guard and Reserve as an Operational Reserve.................... 924

D. The Current National Guard and Reserve Member.................... 926

III. LEGISLATING THE RIGHTS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE.................... 929

A. Protecting the Employment Rights of the Reserve Components.................... 929

1. ESGR is Ineffective for Resolving Employment-Based Complaints.................... 932

2. Rural America and Employment.................... 933

3. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a Model.................... 936

B. Legislation Extending Healthcare to the National

Guard and Reserve..........937

1. Limitations on National Guard and Reserve Healthcare...........938

2. Rural America and Healthcare..........940

IV. Conclusion..........942

I. INTRODUCTION

America's citizen-soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve components have a long and distinguished history that predates the Republic.1 They have answered the call since the Revolution and returned to their civilian lives following service. Members of the National Guard and Reserve components stand ready to leave their civilian lives and be called to active duty in the military.

Deployment presents challenges to service members and their families. Deployment for a National Guard or Reserve member also includes the challenges presented by leaving civilian employment for a significant period of time and returning to that employment.

When service is completed and the service member is released from service, he or she becomes a veteran. Upon release from service, every veteran must transition to civilian life. For the service members who remain in the Guard or Reserve, a return to civilian life is not permanent. They will still have regular drills, annual training, and may be activated for a deployment.

This Essay examines America's increasing reliance on National Guard and Reserve members for defense and the often unmet employment and healthcare needs of these service members, especially those residing in rural areas. Part II traces the historic role of Reserve components and America's current dependence on these service members. Part III discusses the employment and healthcare needs of the National Guard and Reserve and how Congress has attempted to meet these needs. Part III also discusses

1. Ryan Wedlund, Citizen Soldiers Fighting Terrorism: Reservists' Reemployment Rights, 30 Wm. MITCHELL L. REV. 797, 802 (2004) ("[T]he National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States, beginning as the militia of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636." (citing S. Con. Res. 93, 107th Cong. (2001))).

how National Guard and Reserve members living in rural areas face obstacles when trying to find employment and obtain healthcare. This Essay concludes with the implications that will likely result from a failure to meet the needs of National Guard and Reserve members.

II. RESERVE COMPONENTS: THEIR HISTORIC AND CURRENT ROLE IN NATIONAL DEFENSE

The National Guard and Reserve have historically been criticized for being part-time volunteers who are poorly trained, poorly funded, and under equipped.2 However, that criticism muted by the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries as the National Guard has become an operational reserve, and both the National Guard and the Reserves have deployed in record numbers.3 The following sections discuss this historic shift and the likelihood of greater reliance on the National Guard and Reserves in the future.

A. …

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