When we look at pay, normally, we look to see how much we’re getting and don’t really worry about where it comes from, right? Well, in the National Guard, the source of that pay may have very much to do with not only how much you earn, but how your retirement will reflect on that pay.
Traditional Guardsmen are considered M-Day Guardsmen and are paid with federal funds to train on the assigned mission for their particular unit. The State’s Adjutant Governor (TAG) has been delegated the authority from the Active Component to conduct the weekend training drills of these units. The focus is building readiness of those units so that they can execute the federally recognized war time missions when called upon.
But there are other possible pay categories in the National Guard: State Active Duty, Title 32, and Title 10. These can be confusing, but if you take a moment to see where the monies come from, you can start to understand the reasoning of having the different pay statuses. In this article, we won’t get into the various call up authorities and limitations of each status, but instead will focus on the benefits and pay for Guardsmen.
State Active Duty
All Guardsmen work for the Governor of the State or Territory when they are not federalized. That is why we are called the Militia and trace our existence to the Constitution of these United States. Therefore, if the Governor needs help from his Militia, he calls out the Guard of the State. Doing so, he must also pay those salaries and benefits of those he calls up. As he now is responsible for those salaries and has the command and control of those forces, this is called State Active Duty (SAD).
The pay and benefits received can be vastly different from those that are normally received when on active duty or when you are deployed overseas, as this is based upon State law that sets the wages for those Guardsmen under the State pay system. Some States try to sync up with the federal wages that are normally paid, but they can vary significantly. Additionally, your retirement points that are earned in the other types of statuses are not earned under SAD. This is why most Guardsmen prefer to be put on orders under the Title 32 umbrella instead, to ensure parity of pay and the earning of retirement points.
Title 32 is also under the command and control of the Governor, but the monies come from the federal government. If you are an E5, then you earn E5 pay along with the retirement points normally earned by those on active duty. In most cases, Title 32 is requested by the Governor to the President to handle large-scale operations such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other expansive operations that need many Guardsmen to mitigate the damage and help out the citizens of that State. Usually these operations demand large formations of well-trained units to assist the local authorities — and if the Guard did not perform them, the active duty forces would have to, causing more expense.
The last pay category most Guardsmen encounter is that of being on Title 10 orders. The majority of the time, these are the orders you receive when you are being mobilized for the warfight. Being on Title 10 means that you are identical to the active component forces and are paid the exact same as they are, receiving all the benefits and entitlements that are due to those forces with the monies coming out of the federal budget. You are deployable worldwide and are now under the command and control of the President. Your retirement points, in this status, are the same as if you are on Title 32 orders.
The big idea here is that State Active Duty can be different from “normal” pay and allowances, while Title 32 pay under the Governor is identical to being paid as a mobilized Guardsmen on Title 10 orders. Depending upon your State, your pay can vary significantly from what you see on the published federal pay scales. You also will see a difference in how much you are earning towards your retirement points.