IMPORTANT UPDATE - VSRPA & EAFR / CEATS - 11/15/2021
The last update we gave was in July, and at that point we had filed a Public Records Request (PRR) against the Vermont Military Department (VMD) so that we could understand how the new CEATS/EAFR rate structure was developed. The results were quite revealing.
Among other things, we learned that:
- The Judge Advocate General (JAG) initially ruled that the VSRPA did not meet the prerequisites that what we do is: “...of direct benefit to the US, promote the national defense or an Army mission, or be in the public interest.”. However: General Knight overruled him;
- The JAG’s view is shared, in writing, by the Executive Director of the VMD;
- A major and primary impetus for the establishment of a new rate structure was due to the costs of running the Biathlon Range, and therefore a charge of $140 was set for Biathlon “events”.
- Across the period of time where the new rate schedule was internally discussed, ALL Officers in the Chain of Command AGREED to only charge a per-person rate for organizations that use Known Distance (KD) Ranges which is predominantly what we use. Yet: When the VSRPA applied to use KD ranges, the VMD opined that the VSRPA would be charged $140 for any match we run regardless of how many shooters we have, even though this was completely counter to what the Chain of Command discussed for charges.
Across this entire debacle, and other than what we post here, we have not raised any stink in the press; we have not rallied our people to contact the General, the VMD, the Military Affairs Committees, the Secretary of the Administration or the Governor. We have kept an even keel, hoping that clearer minds would prevail.
After being repeatedly rebuffed by VMD to have a face-to-face meeting, and in fact being told by the VMD Executive Director in writing that there would never be any such meeting, the VSRPA had the opportunity to meet directly with General Knight on November 11th, 2021. He is an impressive man with a General’s bearing.
In that meeting, General Knight indicated that there WOULD be a meeting, and he indicated that he was not sure why a meeting had never occurred with us previously (a meeting WAS held between the VMD and the Biathlon folks).
Being an Officer, we know the value of his word, so we are now confident that there will be a meeting, and we hope that both General Knight and Colonel Chase (the United States Property & Financial Officer for Vermont - or the USP&FO) will be in attendance.
We want to be clear that we do not object to some nominal charges for our use, however the charge(s) must conform to 10 USC 7409 which states that reasonable fees may be charged “...to cover the material and supply costs incurred by the armed forces to make that rifle range available to civilians.“
To add insult to injury, the VMD does not apparently know what those costs are, and we have been told by VMD Executive Director, in writing, that they will not produce them for us.
The VSRPA holds our Vermont Guard in Very High Esteem, and we have not only shot along side VT Guard personnel in the matches we USED to run, we directly supported them at the National Matches out at Camp Perry. The rank and file of the VT Army and Air Guard contain outstanding individuals, and it is with deep regret we have to take any position that appears to not directly support them. They are however very supportive of us.
With our unscheduled meeting with the good General, we believe we are now on a path to have the meeting that we have repeatedly and politely requested, at which point we will have the opportunity to explain why $140 for running a match on a KD range is completely unreasonable given that:
- This was not what was agreed to by all officers in the CEATS/EAFR Chain of Command for KD range use;
- Our use is COMPLETELY incidental, as we cannot even be on CEATS/EAFR unless a higher-priority unit is already training on that day;
- We are only given a range radio, a range flag and a range SOP book when we have a range (I.E. the “material and supply costs” to make that range available to us);
- By the VMD’s own research into “Fair Market Value”, our use should be a per-person charge of $3 or less;
- Our use is completely sanctioned by 10 USC 7409, and we believe that Federal Law, if not superseding Army Regulation AR 405-80, it is at least on par;
- AR 405-80 however DOES recognize that certain uses of military facilities are authorized by Statute, as “Special Purpose” use that requires a “Special Purpose License”, with 10 USC 7409 being a statute that recognizes a very specific “Special Purpose Use” of ranges by civilians..
At one point in time, members of the Vermont Guard were FEARED at events such as Camp Perry, and that occurred due to a focus on Marksmanship by the leadership of CEATS/EAFR. Over time, that desirable goal has been lost, and the VSRPA was proud to have conducted matches which helped them keep their edge.
We believe that the VT Guard can reclaim it’s title as being one of the states were competitive shooting is not just embraced, but coddled, and we remain confident that the VSRPA will contribute to that reclamation.
We will keep you posted. The General is a “shooter” and he gave his word that a meeting will occur, which is all we have ever asked for: A chance to explain ourselves, and relate what it is we do.