09 June 2010

IA Quarterly Update – Transition from GSA to OSA for Enlisted Personnel


As Executive Agent for Individual Augmentee (IA) and IA Family Support across the IA Continuum, one of our goals is to consistently improve the service we provide to our IAs and their families. The IA mission makes very unique demands on our Sailors and their families; it is our priority to give them the support they need from the day they receive orders until they return, rotate to a new job, and reintegrate back into our Navy family. I believe our team throughout USFF has done a good job listening to our IAs and their families and implementing improvements to the program based on their feedback.

A very important change coming for our Sailors this fall is the transition from the Global War on Terrorism Support Assignment (GSA) program to the Overseas Contingency Operations Support Assignment (OSA) program. An assessment of GSA revealed several inequities that were unintended consequences of the program. OSA will resolve the issues with GSA while, at the same time, preserve the more desirable elements of the program. A few notable changes that Sailors and their families can expect from OSA are:

  • Under GSA, Sailors were on PCS orders and often had to pay for out of pocket expenses when delays would occur during processing. This will no longer be the case. Sailors on OSA orders will be in a TAD status and will receive per diem as well as other entitlements.

  • Like GSA, OSA orders will be executed at the end of a Sailor’s normal PCS tour. The big difference here is that since the Sailor will transition to a TAD status for their IA assignment, they will stay attached to their current command while deployed. This ensures the Sailor and their family will maintain the traditional support of a parent command relationship, including their ombudsman, commanding officer and all the other supporting activities that are familiar and already in place for them.

In addition to the two changes above, there will be benefits to the parent commands as well. For example, although an IA Sailor will remain attached to the parent command, the Sailor will be reflected as an IA, rather than onboard, thus enabling the command to submit a valid request for a replacement.

While the transition to the OSA program is another very big step in the right direction, I know we must keep the press on. And we will do just that.
All the best, JCHjr




I've past my 6 month (half way) mark out here. I spent 4 months at Bagram and am finishing my tour here in Kandahar. In both locations the support for Sailors is absolutely World class. I can't say enough good. Especially about the team here in RC(S).

Things are really heating up out here, a lot more going on now, than in the Winter when I first got to Afghanistan. NAVCENT is right there however, making sure that every Sailor is being taken care of.

YN2(SW) Battle Yeoman

Anonymous said...

From the following datapoints it appears that GSA(to be followed by OSA) is not meeting the advertised bill of reducing the demands on the fleet. Specifically:

- The CNSP IA shop has recently received a heavy influx of LCDR/LT 111X requirements. Due to the diminishing pool of qualified officers, the IA shop is considering LCS Mission Package Officers and DDG PRECOM Officers to fill some of these requirements.
- Due to the diminished inventory of IA candidates in specific enlisted rates/ratings (i.e. YN, PS, MA, any E-8/7), the IA shop has begun searching for candidates in previously fenced pre-deployers and PRECOM units.
- The current manning gap both ashore and afloat btw BA/NMP/COB is being further exacerbated by ongoing IA/GSA requirements.
- FYTD IA's filled approx 70% of the total COCOM requirement versus GSA orders. GSA assignments continue to fall short of their intended fill percentages.
- "Flip-backs" (GSA assignments that convert to IA) are increasing the overall IA demand. Total IA flip-backs/pass-backs FYTD: 860.

Finally, as a matter of practicality, how will CNSF/NPC see the difference between a "regular" IA and an OSA? Since both are attached to my UIC they will show on my EDVR. I follow that you said I could submit a request. My point is that the automated manpower tracking systems will show the command at/over NMP.

MCAs will try to take people away TAD/regular IA based upon those EDVR numbers vice actual onboard.

Unless we go back and actually make the software changes (NAVFIT 98A anyone?) then the administrative burden of managing actual manpower vs perceived manpower (can't look at EDVR BA/NMP numbers since they contain OSAs) falls back on the parent command. Again.

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

Battle Yeoman, always good to hear from you and I'm very glad to see your opinion concerning current Sailor/IA support in Afghanistan synchs up with what I saw on my trip over there last fall.
I know the Kandahar campaign is building and you're in the middle of it - take care of yourself and our shipmates while you get it done. All the best, JCHjr

Anonymous, thanks very much for your comments and the specific issues you raised; I'll be back to you next week after I do my research. Until then, JCHjr

Anonymous said...


Are you aware of the current efforts to source people for assignments using the IA framework for 6 month assignments to billets but for which they don't get any "IA credit" and for which they are not exempt if they have already completed an IA?

It seems to me that that is breaking faith with those of us who have already completed IA's or leaders who are trying to fill obligations, but need to know that they are not going to have to give over and over again.

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

Anonymous #1:

I did some research on the points you raised last week.

Regarding your question about seeing the difference between a "regular" IA and an OSA, OSA Sailors on deployment will reflect differently on a command's manning documents. PERS will adjust the PRD to 60 days past the estimated date of return from deployment and change the DNEC/RCN code to "mask" them from being counted against a command's manning levels. This also protects the command from the appearance that billets are "double-stuffed."

I roger your comment on the shortage of IA candidates, but COCOM demand for our Sailors and Forces has steadily risen over the years while our Navy has decreased in overall size. Until our demand decreases, the problem you identify isn't going away. The way CNSP chooses to source IAs is his decision; he is in the best position to understand the unique requirements within his command. I expect my Commanders to command - they have the responsibility to make the tough calls, the kind you're talking about, and when they apply their best judgement in a challenging situation, I support them.

The current system certainly isn't perfect, but rest assured we'll keep trying to improve it as long as we have the IA mission. All the best, JCHjr

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to close the loop on those issues.
"Annon #1"