NDAA 2013

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Uncategorized
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In late April there was a focus on next year’s National Defense Authorization Act in both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. In the House the HASC’s Personnel Subcommittee marked up the FY2013 NDAA bill H.R.4310 and sent it on to the full Committee for their consideration. The mark-up did not include any of the Pentagon’s proposals to increase TRICARE enrollment fees in TRICARE Prime, or creating yearly enrollment fees for TRICARE for Life and TRICARE Standard that would apply to military retirees. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) in his opening statement said that the mark up “Make(s) clear that non-monetary contributions to health care benefits made by our troops and their families through a career of service to America represents pre-payment of health care premiums in retirement.” This is very good news but is only the first step. Next comes the consideration of the full Committee. The mark-up also included:
 Authorize a troop pay increase of 1.7% and extend bonuses and special pay for our men and women in uniform.
 Limit end strength reductions for the active Army and Marine Corps.
 Provide significant new regulations and procedures for combating and prosecuting sexual assault within the military.
 Extend access to family housing for six months and Commissary and Exchange benefits for two years for troops who are involuntarily separated.
 By silence on the issue, reject the Pentagon proposal for two additional rounds of Base Reduction and Closure (BRAC) action.
 Authorize $30 million in Impact Aid assistance for civilian schools with significant populations of military children.
 Protect child custody agreements in the event of deployment of the military parent.
 Extend certain refinancing help for qualifying servicemembers who can't sell their homes in conjunction with a military-ordered relocation.
 Authorize transition benefits of 180 days of TRICARE Reserve Select health coverage and TRICARE dental coverage for members involuntarily separated from the Selected Reserve.
 Require the Defense Department to establish a unified medical command
On 25 APR the Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony on the FY2013 NDAA. The Senate Armed Services Committee’ Subcommittee on Personnel heard from DOD’s service personnel officials who continued to lobby for higher out-of-pocket TRICARE health insurance fees for retirees and their families. In written testimony the Army’s top personnel official wrote TRICARE “is a superb health benefit, one of the best in the country” but the time has come to scale back. “Just as in all areas of the defense budget, we need to make decisions that preserve a strong benefit yet reflect the fiscal realities of the times,” said Thomas Lamont, the assistant Army secretary for manpower and reserve affairs. “The proposed TRICARE fees reflect appropriate adjustments, and the TRICARE benefit will remain on of the finest and most generous health benefits available in the country,” said Juan Garcia, the assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs. It is clear that DOD is not letting up from their push to get these fees authorized. [Source: TREA News for the Enlisted 27 Apr 2012 ++]

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