Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) says White House Defense Proposals Cross the Line

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MOAA believes the President’s pay and TRICARE fee proposals in the FY2014 budget cross the line for the all-volunteer force, including those serving and those that have served a career. MOAA intends to use its influence and that of its 380,000-plus members to fight both proposals.

Military pay along with strong health care and retirement benefits are the foundational elements necessary to not just recruit, but also sustain an all-volunteer force,” MOAA President and CEO, Vice Adm. Norb Ryan Jr. said.

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) believes the President’s pay and TRICARE fee proposals in the FY2014 budget cross the line for the all-volunteer force, including those serving and those that have served a career. MOAA intends to use its influence and that of its 380,000-plus members to fight both proposals.

Specifically, MOAA opposes the suggested pay cap for currently serving members of the uniformed services of 1% (versus a 1.8% raise by law) and the Pentagon’s plan to shift $25+ billion in costs to military beneficiaries over 10 years by:

  •     Raising annual fees by $1,000 or more for retired families of all ages.
  •     Imposing means-testing of military retiree health benefits – which no other federal retirees endure.
  •     Dramatically increasing pharmacy copays to approach or surpass the median of civilian plans.

“Military pay along with strong health care and retirement benefits are the foundational elements necessary to not just recruit, but also sustain an all-volunteer force,” MOAA President and CEO, Vice Adm. Norb Ryan Jr. said. “The last time the government cut back on military pay and benefits, the results were disastrous by the late ‘90s. It simply didn’t work then and it’s taken the past 12 years to rebuild what was lost,” he concluded.

DoD cites the need to impose these benefit cuts in order to curb “exploding” personnel cost since 2000 reiterating that health care and personnel costs now consume “one-third of the defense budget.”

“DoD’s own documents prove military health costs are not ‘exploding’ – the combined personnel and health costs are less than one-third of DoD budget the same as they’ve been for 30 years,” Ryan stated.

The Pentagon proposed similar fee increases last year and in the past; however, Congress dampened those proposals enacting selected current and future increases in 2011 and 2012, but explicitly limited discretionary increases by DoD.

Congress rejected larger increases on the basis that:

  •     Pentagon leaders need to do more to more effectively manage costs instead of penalizing beneficiaries.
  •     Achieving savings by driving beneficiaries away from using service-earned benefits is inappropriate.

“Significant cuts to the crucial incentive packages that sustain a top-quality career force will undermine long-term retention and readiness,” Ryan stated. “These proposals cross the line. Not only do they affect the equities of military personnel and their families, they also affect the ability to support long-term national security,” he concluded.

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About MOAA:
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with 380,000-plus members from every branch of service, including active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, and former officers and their families and survivors. MOAA is a nonprofit and politically nonpartisan organization and an influential force in promoting a strong national defense. MOAA represents the interests of service members and their families in every stage of their lives and careers, and for those who are not eligible to join MOAA, Voices for America’s Troops is a nonprofit MOAA affiliate that supports a strong national defense. For more information, visit http://www.moaa.org.

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