ROA submitted testimony before the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel last Tuesday, March 23.
A number of issues were included in ROA testimony, including improvements to early retirement, Reservist health care, improvements to Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill, and reimbursement for travel expenses on monthly training. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) spoke to making corrections to early retirement, and to correcting the offset where surviving spouses have payments reduced when the are paid both Dependency and Indemnity Compensation and Survivor Benefit Plan annuity.
An interesting direction of this hearing was the discussion of offsetting dollars to afford the improved benefits being suggested by the ROA and other associations. As committee member Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) said “you simply can’t cancel an aircraft carrier to pay for these requests.” Appropriated defense dollars pay for discretionary benefits. Mandatory dollars are budgeted for health care, retirement and other personnel benefits. The committee suggested to association panelists that the benefit concerns needed to be included as the budget is being developed by the administration. Steve Strobridge, Military Officers Association of America Legislative Director, who was testifying on behalf of The Military Coalition was asked if he could suggest a program to be cut to make dollars available for additional benefits. Col Strobridge admitted that was the ongoing challenge.