Law grants Army Guard and Reserve personnel access to the job site from personal devices

Soldiers use a computer lab at the DC Armory in Washington on May 16, 2021. National Guardsmen and Army Reservists may soon be able to search a database for short-term assignments on their smartphones. (Kevin Valentine / US Army)

National Guardsmen and Army Reservists may soon be able to search a government database for short-term jobs on their smartphones, thanks to a provision in the recently passed annual defense spending bill.

The change will make it easier for the military to retain talent, said the four members of Congress who encouraged him in a statement last week.

“Cutting unnecessary red tape and providing more flexibility to safely seek career-enhancing active duty opportunities will help our soldiers,” Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Said in the statement last week.

Joining Rosen in the statement were Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Representative Chris Jacobs, RN.Y. ; and Representative Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

The Tour of Duty online job site already has short-term active duty deployments and orders. But since 2017, it requires access to a government network, frequently requiring a trip to an armory for those without a military device at home.

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act directs the military to ensure that members of its reserve can access the Tour of Duty system using a “personal device connected to the Internet.”

The new law states that the military must provide security as it opens access to the site from personal devices.

Without good cybersecurity, adversaries might be able to see vacancies and gaps in the military, said Staff Sgt. Steven Smith, who used Tour of Duty to find orders during his 12 years in the New York National Guard.

“We have already given weapons and supplies galore to the enemy. Don’t give them any information either, ”Smith told Stars and Stripes.

The military will release more information in the coming weeks on how it sets up a pilot program for soldiers to bring their own devices to work, spokesman Bruce Anderson said in an email.

“Upon successful testing and validation of access, the military expects the system to be made available to all Guard and Reserve personnel as quickly as possible in accordance with the requirements of the NDAA, ”Anderson said.

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JP Laurent

Jp Lawrence reports on the US military in Afghanistan and the Middle East. He served in the United States Army from 2008 to 2017. He graduated from Columbia Journalism School and Bard College and is a first generation immigrant from the Philippines.