The bigger danger to our national security is to jeopardize our all-volunteer force with budget-driven cutbacks in the military compensation package that give insufficient weight to the extraordinary demands and sacrifices inherent in a service career.
Alexandria, Va. (PRWEB) April 09, 2014
Members of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) from 50 states visited nearly all 535 representatives to discuss actions necessary to support the All-Volunteer Force during MOAA’s annual Storming the Hill event today. At the same time, MOAA Government Relations Director Mike Hayden testified on behalf of The Military Coalition before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Military Personnel Subcommittee to emphasize though debt reduction is a national priority, a disproportionate share of the burden of debt reduction should not be foisted on the Pentagon or military families.
The MOAA stormers echoed Hayden’s testimony by asking legislators to:
- Sustain military pay and benefits; avoid past poor decisions that destabilized the all-volunteer force;
- Reject disproportional TRICARE fee increases which shift costs onto beneficiaries while reducing access;
- Eliminate catastrophic sequestration cuts which threaten national security; and
- Address remaining inequities for disabled retirees, survivors and guard and reserve personnel.
“No federal obligation is more important than protecting national security,” Hayden said to the panel. “And the most important element of national security is sustainment of a dedicated, top-quality career military force.”
One of the main points both the stormers and Hayden made is that military pay and benefits have been sustainable and will continue to be just around 33% of the defense budget, the same level they have been at for 30 years.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) will address the stormers on these issues and more at a MOAA dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 09 at the Crowne Plaza Old Town, 901 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, Va.
“The bigger danger to our national security,” Hayden said, “is to jeopardize our all-volunteer force with budget-driven cutbacks in the military compensation package that give insufficient weight to the extraordinary demands and sacrifices inherent in a service career.”
Hayden pointed out that what made costs appear to be growing disproportionately to the overall defense budget was the catch up spending needed to reverse many years of unwise budget cuts.
“In the year 2000, budget cutbacks had so depressed military pay to where a 13.5% pay gap existed, cut retirement value by 25 percent for post-1986 entrants, required military families to pay 19-20% out-of-pocket for their housing costs, and booted beneficiaries over 65 out of the military health care system,” Hayden said.
“We believe DOD must also look at making the system much more efficient instead of simply shifting costs,” Hayden stated. “Management efficiencies should be explored before impacting the pay and benefits of our military families.”
Hayden said Congress needs to end the harmful effects of sequestration by supporting a bipartisan debt reduction package that avoids disproportionate penalties on the Pentagon and on service members and their families.
He added any changes to pay, compensation and benefits, to include health care, should be looked at comprehensively and not in a piecemeal manner. MOAA recommended that any change should not come before the congressionally-directed Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission completes their holistic and comprehensive look at the entire compensation and benefits package.
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Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with more than 380,000 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 or http://www.voicesfortroops.org/.
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