Multi-state Air National Guardsmen attend Contemporary Base Issue course in Oregon

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Chelsi Spence
  • 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 142nd Fighter Wing hosted over 200 Air National Guardsmen from around the country in a two-day Contemporary Base Issues course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Oregon, February 19-20, 2016.

The Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course is taught by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals (JAG).  The primary goal of the CBI course is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face.

"The most important aspect of the course is that it allows commanders and supervisors an opportunity to spot legal issues and recognizing the steps to resolve it," said Major General Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General.

The course covered an array of topics discussed via lecture and student interaction, to include standards on- and off-duty, progressive discipline and administrative discharges, unprofessional relationships, and ethics in the military.

The course kicked off with an hour-long presentation about understanding that duty status matters.  The National Guard is the only United States military force that operates across both State and Federal responses, leveraging State Active Duty under state law, inactive duty training or full-time National Guard duty under Title 32 U.S.C and active federal service under Title 10 U.S.C

According to the Air National Guard Commander's Legal Deskbook, one of the most important issues in determining the power of the Commander to command the members of a National Guard Unit is a determination of the status of its members. 

The status of National Guard members determines jurisdiction for administrative and criminal matters as well as medical benefits in the event of injury or liability in the event of the loss of government property.

"What's unique in the Air National Guard is its members are always in different statuses, like civilian, part-time, and full-time," said Col. Jim Demarest, staff judge advocate, Florida Air National Guard.  "Commanders and supervisors need to understand how the status directly affects the rights and obligations of our citizen-Airmen."

On the final day, the course focused on a larger Air Force topic, sexual assault.  Since fiscal year 2010, the Air Force has experienced a steady increase in the number of reports, both restricted and unrestricted according to the United States Air Force Report on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response to the President of the United States.

During the briefing, Lt. Col. Beverly G. Schneider, administrative law attorney with the National Guard, focused on the several ways commanders and supervisors can approach sexual assault within their unit and provided information on how to assist the victims of sexual assault.

According to the National Guard Bureau Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Progress Report to the President, the National Guard currently has 383 Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) personnel and 3,439 victim advocates fully certified and trained to assist victims and ensure victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. 

"The most important thing you can take away from this is to use your roundtable of the JAG, SARC and psychological health for assistance with this issue," said Schneider.

In his opening remarks, Newby stated that incidents of sexual assault are a real and recognized problem in the military.  Sexual assault is detrimental to morale, destroy unit cohesion and damage the military as a whole.

"We want the focus of the Air National Guard and the military to be a positive one," said Newby.  "We need to change our focus, change our training, and change the lens we look through to succeed."

The CBI course is one way that commanders and supervisors can start to change their focus, change their training, and change their lens. 

The course wrapped up with a CBI Jeopardy game, where all participants got to apply the knowledge they learned throughout the course.  Following the course, Air National Guard leaders will return back to their unit with more knowledge to ensure good order and discipline. 

"The CBI course continues to receive outstanding support from high-level Air National Guard leadership and because of this support, we can bring this course to thousands of Guardsmen," said Newby.