Changes to the Public Law governing YRRP gives freedom to Services, Commanders.

After repeated requests by the Reserve Components and program managers for greater flexibility and sustainability, the Office for Reintegration Programs is proud to announce a number of enhancements to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 that governs the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

Both the House of Representatives and Senate included the proposed amendments in their draft NDAA language, and minor differences were worked out via recession of the Senate version in the final bill.  Following are the significant amendments impacting YRRP:

  • Strikes the phrase “combat veteran” from the existing language, allowing the Department flexibility in applying YRRP to a variety of mission types (e.g. theater security operations, humanitarian missions, etc.).
  • Defines “eligible individual” as “a member of a Reserve Component, a member of their family, or a designated representative who the Secretary of Defense determines to be eligible for YRRP.”  This is in keeping with current operations and codifies the Department’s ability to apply YRRP to meet commanders’ evolving needs.
  • Authorizes ORP to issue grants in support of “data collection, trend analysis, and curriculum development and to prepare reports in support of [YRRP activities].”  The addition of this capability greatly enhances the program’s ability to measure successes and challenges and develop tools for the RCs.
  • Amends the number of YRRP phases from four (Pre/During/Demobilization/Post) to three (Before/During/After) to simplify and streamline service delivery.  The amendment also reduces the number of required events from six to four and allows for flexible scheduling of the events based on lessons learned since the program’s inception and the needs of commanders.

These changes are currently being updated in the YRRP Department of Defense Instruction drafted last year by a working group comprised of RC YRRP Liaison Officers and program managers. The draft was based on the proposed amendments and will now be coordinated again to ensure all the proper changes are captured and the needs of the RCs are addressed.

Once the draft is finalized, the DoDI will go forward for approval, which can be a lengthy process.  In the meantime, ORP will distribute updated versions of the Public Law to the RC YRRP Liaison Officers and Program Managers for their use and continue working with them to address any needs they have.

Click here to view the full text of H.R.1735 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)

By Travis Bartholomew, FEPP HQ