Officials wrangle over health care change

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Ignoring the intimidating props — boxes of angry letters from thousands of military retirees — senior Defense officials and military leaders appeared last week before a contentious House subcommittee to make their case for hiking TRICARE fees sharply for under-65 retirees and their families. In the verbal sparring that ensued, […]

Press blamed for recruiting shortfall

By Tom Philpott Deep into a four-hour congressional hearing centered on why the active Army and its reserve components are missing recruiting goals, Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., turned a spotlight on the elephant in the room. The war in Iraq, Snyder said, is unpopular with many Americans, a fact that needs airing given the all-volunteer […]

Defense wants officer managing change

By Tom Philpott The Defense Department has asked Congress for authority to test new promotion, pay and retirement policies on four small communities of officers, the results of which could lead to a “revolution” in officer career management, said David S. C. Chu, the Pentagon’s top manpower official. The officer management experiments would involve all […]

Officers oppose two-tiered death benefits

Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist The vice chiefs of armed forces gave a frosty reception to a Defense Department plan that would raise the military’s $12,400 death gratuity to $100,000 but only for survivors of service members who die in combat areas. In testimony last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the second-highest ranking officers […]

Military helping sexual assault victims

By Tom Philpott, Military Update Sexual assault victims in the military have had only one avenue inside their command — a visit to the chaplain — to report an attack and receive counseling, and still have the incident remain confidential. That weakness and others, involving lack of victim protection and inadequate command response, are targets […]

Iraqi violence is behind rare call-up

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The intensity of violence in Iraq, with insurgents attacking roads and bridges and interrupting supply lines, is behind the rare involuntary recall of more than 5,600 soldiers who had completed active duty obligations, says Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army’s vice chief of staff. Cody told the House Armed Services […]