Senators aim to protect GI benefits

What if the military gave every service member an expensive car as a reward for honorable service, but they could take delivery only at night and the headlights didn’t work? Many of those gift cars might end up damaged. Something similar is happening to thousands of veterans leaving service with Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility worth […]

Proposed agency offers savings

Defense officials have asked Congress to approve a new governance structure for the military health care system that, like higher TRICARE fees, would help to curb what, for a decade, have been runaway medical costs, officials explained. The centerpiece of the plan is to elevate the TRICARE Management Activity to a more powerful Defense Health […]

Keeping fees means cutting force

Tom Philpott

If Congress blocks Defense Department plans to raise TRICARE fees for military retirees and beneficiary co-pays on drug prescriptions filled off base, the services will have to make even deeper cuts in force strength than now planned, the military’s top health official told lawmakers last week. “Given the constraints of the Budget Control Act, if […]

‘Hollow force’ concerns surfacing

The Congressional Research Service has a message for those who suggest planned defense budget cuts and military compensation curbs will return America to the “hollow force” era of the 1970s. Such references, in light of current force quality and the amount of money used to modernize weapons, infrastructure and benefit programs over the past decade, […]

New budget may call for fee hike

As defense budgets grew over the past decade, Congress shrugged off complaints of runaway military health costs and blocked every proposal from the Bush administration to raise TRICARE fees sharply on retirees. Defense budgets have stopped rising, however, and Defense officials today are sounding more confident that Congress will follow last October’s $5-a-month bump in […]

Press release: Roch bill gives tax break to retired military

Military retirees in living in New Mexico may see their state income tax burden reduced under a bill introduced this week in the State House by Representative Dennis Roch (R-Texico). House Bill 162 proposes to exempt twenty-five percent of a retiree’s military pension income from the state’s personal income tax, with that percentage increasing to […]

Petraeus: Loans force families apart

Many military homeowners who saw their homes plummet in value in the financial crisis still can’t get relief from “under water” mortgages that leave families owing more to loan servicers than their homes are worth. The situation is especially difficult for the military where families must move every two to four years. Some affected members, […]

Commissary boss: Value overlooked

Military grocery stores operate so efficiently that the discounts provided to shoppers are worth double the value of tax dollars being spent to deliver this prized benefit worldwide to U.S. service members and families. Joseph H. Jeu, director of the Defense Commissary Agency, made that point and more in an interview last week amid rising […]

Cannon set for open house

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File photo Cannon Air Force Base will open its doors to the public this Saturday to give residents a look at what a highly trained specialized military force does. Benna Sayyed Cannon Air Force Base will open its doors to the public this Saturday to give residents a look at what a highly trained specialized […]

All who serve our country deserve respect

Freedom New Mexico The military’s ban on gays ended Wednesday. It will remain legal for military personnel to secretly hate lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgendered people. Any member of the military has a right to believe other members are sinners destined for hell. Thoughts, values, beliefs and sexual proclivities are private matters, belonging to individuals. […]

Conflict arises on veteran hiring

Executives from more than 20 companies traded ideas on hiring more military veterans in this tough economy, and easing their transition into civilian careers, during a special “Veterans Employment Summit” last week hosted by the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Before a single idea could be shared, however, executives watched uncomfortably for 10 minutes as their […]

Wednesday morning briefing: Military friendly, secret tour and Chief Joseph

Good morning and welcome to the Freedom New Mexico Wednesday briefing. Military friendly Eastern New Mexico University in Portales has been named a “Military Friendly School” by G.I Jobs, a magazine devoted to helping military members make the transition to civilian life. This distinction makes ENMU among the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and […]

Officials reluctant to cut retirement

Military careerists have been spun up this month, unnecessarily in our view, by sensational headlines and news bulletins about a plan to “slash” their retirement, citing a “Pentagon study.” The study was done by the Defense Business Board, a group of independent business executives that advises the secretary of defense from time to time on […]

Cuts could impact TRICARE users

Low reimbursements are the top reason physicians say they turn away beneficiaries who use TRICARE Standard, the military’s fee-for-service insurance option, or TRICARE Extra, the preferred provider option, according to TRICARE health care provider surveys. Access to health care for these two groups of beneficiaries could become an even bigger challenge thanks to the convoluted […]

Military digest: Board says military retirement overly generous

By Tom Philpott Gen. Martin Dempsey, Army chief of staff, seemed to splash figurative cold water on ideas surfacing at the Pentagon and elsewhere to cut future retirement obligations and other personnel costs, deeply and soon. Testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee to become the next chairman of the Joint […]

New state laws benefit veterans

Nine state laws and benefits aimed at military veterans take effect Friday, including disabled veteran license plates, enrollment priority for military children and tax exemptions for veterans service organizations. The laws were enacted during the 2011 legislative session and signed by the governor, according to a press release from the state Department of Veteran’s Services. […]

Joint health care proposal criticized

The military’s top medical officers are divided over a House-passed mandate to reorganize the health care system under a unified medical command. The plan, in effect, would merge commands that the Army, Navy and Air Force have run with separate staffs and resources for decades. Two of three surgeons general, for Air Force and Navy, […]

Military committee to meet in Santa Fe

CNJ staff The Legislative Interim Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee will meet today in Santa Fe, according to a news release. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and adjourn at 3 p.m. The committee will set protocols, discuss their focus areas and develop a work plan for the interim session, the release said. The […]

Area organizations commemorating Memorial Day

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CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Jim Cowman, shown speaking at the May 21 memorial service at the Curry County War Memorial, said there are 173 Curry County residents listed as being killed in action. He hopes another name will never need to be added, but realizes that is not realistic. Kevin Wilson Jim Cowman retired […]

Ticket feature: Eagle View Rally set for Memorial Day weekend

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File photo The Eagle View Rally will be held May 27-29 in north Clovis, providing three full days of entertainment for motorcycle enthusiasts. Freedom New Mexico The third Eagle View Rally is set to kick off May 27 and is expected to bring motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country to Clovis for three days of […]