Troops, families have new advocate

By Tom Philpott: Military update James Webb (D-Va.), a take-charge senator who in just his second year conceived and negotiated passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, made clear Wednesday he will continue to influence issues that impact on the lives of service members, retirees, reservists and their families. Webb has more leverage now as new […]

Guardsmen and reservists demonstrate skills

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Freedom New Mexico: Mickey Winfield Carlsbad city employee Art Sena takes a seat in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter after one of the rescue training missions Saturday morning at the Melrose Bombing Range. By Mickey Winfield: Freedom New Mexico With war raging abroad and the occasional state-wide emergency calling New Mexico national guardsmen and reservists into […]

Ready reserve activation could break military

By Freedom Newspapers The decision to start calling up Marine Corps reservists who have already served their active-duty obligation but are still subject to being called back is a strong indicator that the war in Iraq is not going well — and that our leaders believe U.S. troops will be required in significant numbers for […]

Raises, benefits top committee agenda

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Billions of dollars in pay and benefits are at stake for active duty members, reservists, disabled retirees and surviving spouses as a House-Senate conference committee begins to negotiate differences in separate versions of the 2007 defense authorization bill. When the process ends, perhaps by late September, military personnel will know […]

Defense bill aims to strengthen recruiting

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Congress has passed a 2006 defense authorization bill that focuses its personnel initiatives on new and improved tools to strengthen recruiting and retention and to help reshape the current force. The final bill leaves behind a host of Senate-passed initiatives to enhance entitlements for military survivors, reservists and disabled retirees. […]

Committee votes to open ‘tricare select’

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The House Armed Services Committee has voted 32-30 to open the new TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) program to any drilling reservist or National Guard member willing to pay the premiums, now set at $75 a month for member-only coverage or $233 for family coverage. An unprecedented fulltime health plan for […]

Health insurance will cost reservists

Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist Thirty years ago, Congress decided the nation could no longer afford to offer military volunteers a robust draft-era GI Bill, so it concocted VEAP, the most unpopular veterans’ education benefit of the last century. Last year Congress decided the nation couldn’t afford to open active duty TRICARE benefits to all drilling […]

Retirees will benefit from new laws

By Tom Philpott When legislative language misfires, Congress can intend to do one and instead does another. That seems to have occurred twice last October with passage of the 2005 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It likely reshaped benefits, in unintended ways, for two groups of disabled retirees. One provision, which executive-branch lawyers continue to […]

Lower reserve retirement age not likely

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Advocates for lowering the age-60 threshold for when reserve retirement benefits begin will find little to cheer in a new report from the Government Accountability Office. With numerous bills before Congress to drop the reserve retirement age to 55 or younger, lawmakers in 2002 directed GAO to review reserve retirement, […]

Pay period at hand in committee meeting

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Uniformed leaders of America’s Reserve and Guard components have urged Congress to eliminate a host of “inequities” that mobilized troops face while serving alongside active-duty forces in the war on terror. Compared to active duty brethren, deployed Reserve and Guard members see smaller and fewer re-enlistment bonuses, are ineligible for […]