There are signals coming out that some leaders in the Pentagon, Administration and Congress are beginning to take our troops for granted.
Alexandria, Va. (PRWEB) December 05, 2011
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) identified problems with health care, employment, children’s issues, repeated deployments, transition and spouse issues as major challenges facing military members and families at the 2011 Congressional Military Family Caucus Dec. 1. The Caucus, Co-Chaired by Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) was a platform for military families and service providers to field concerns and questions to an expert panel.
Vice Adm. Norb R. Ryan, Jr., President of MOAA, joined subject matter experts such as Mr. Robert L. Gordon, III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military and Community Family Policy; Laura Dempsey, Chamber of Commerce Representative; Jack C. Stultz, Chief, Army Reserve; and Maj. Gen. Randy Manner, National Guard Bureau.
House Leader Nancy Pelosi made a surprise visit to emphasize that the concerns of our all-volunteer force after 10 years of war should be a central initiative for all members of Congress. She said the first responsibility of a legislator is to take an oath to protect and defend, and it is military members and their families that allow them to do that.
“There are signals coming out that some leaders in the Pentagon, Administration and Congress are beginning to take our troops for granted,” Vice Adm. Ryan said. “They want to make health care and retirement programs more like those for the civilian workforce, yet there is no comparison with the service and sacrifice required in a military career.”
Ryan drew applause when he said that there are two things that get folks to stay on for a career, other than just their enormous patriotism and selfless services. Those things are health care for them and most importantly, their families, and a retirement that will allow them to continue to serve the nation in whatever capacity they want to.
“The enormous stress felt by the nation’s military families is going to increase as the forces are reduced in size and budgets are cut,” Ryan continued. “We need to balance cuts in weapon systems and people.”
He said finding ways to reduce the deficit should not be a math problem most easily solved by cutting where it is easiest: our troops and their families.
“There are areas that should be addressed first to reduce costs,” Ryan continued. “The health care delivery system can be improved for quality of care and cost-effectiveness. It is a failure of leadership not to try to make these improvements.”
Ryan also said military families are not inanimate objects that can be reduced to a budget-cutting drill by a BRAC-like commission.
“I hope people will speak up about how we make decisions regarding end strength…our military members are the only weapon system that has never let us down,” he concluded.
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with 370,000 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