2014 Association Legislative and Policy Priorities
Our military is the most capable military force in the world. Despite over a decade fighting wars in two locations and serving in contingency operations around the globe our service members and their families never fail to answer the call. In return, our government has promised to provide them with resources to keep them ready. Now it seems our leaders are forgetting military families’ sacrifices and failing to honor the Nation’s commitments.
Our Association’s highest priority is to fight for military families. We fight to protect the programs and services that allow them to meet the challenges of military life and maintain readiness. Our Nation’s leaders cannot ignore the promises they made to those currently serving as they prepare to shape the force of the future.
We will continue to encourage Congress to end sequestration and its arbitrary, across-the-board cuts that harm military families and undermine mission readiness. We will fight to ensure lawmakers keep their promises regarding compensation and benefits for those who have served faithfully. We will fight to ensure retirement changes will not affect currently serving members or current retirees. As the military continues to draw down troop levels, we are committed to ensuring service members and their families receive sufficient support as they transition to the civilian world.
We ask Congress and the Department of Defense to guarantee the resources necessary to safeguard the readiness of military families:
- Honor the charter of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which is charged with examining the entirety of the military compensation system. We expect the commission process to be respected and the recommendations thoughtfully considered in consultation with all stakeholders.
- Keep the promise. We strongly oppose legislation to reduce COLA for military retirees because it breaks faith with currently serving service members.
- Protect commissaries by continuing the annual appropriation to support the system at its current level. As part of compensation, commissaries provide important savings for military families.
- Ensure families of all seven Uniformed Services have timely access to high quality, affordable health care and a robust TRICARE benefit including preventive health care services.
- Ensure military families’ access to the medical and non-medical counseling they need to recover from the stress of long years of war. The progress made in lessening the stigma associated with seeking behavioral health care is threatened if service members and families cannot get help when needed.
- Increase the level of Department of Education Impact Aid funding to meet the Federal obligation to support school districts educating military children. Expand the highly successful DoD grant program and maintain the DoD supplement to Impact Aid for schools serving large numbers of military children.
- Meet the evolving needs of wounded service members and their caregivers including transition to civilian and VA care, as well as caregiver training and support, doing everything possible to make the wounded service member and their family whole again.
We ask Congress and DoD to act to improve the readiness of military families:
- Standardize resources and programs for military families with special needs across the Services.
- Improve spouse education and employment opportunities. Enhance outreach to spouses. Facilitate removal of state specific licensing and certification barriers to employment for trailing military spouses.
- Ensure timely information and resources specifically tailored for families leaving the military are available as a complement to the Transition Assistance Program required for the departing service member.
- Make certain family advocacy programs are funded, resourced, and coordinated between Federal and State agencies to address domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect, and military sexual trauma.
- End the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) dollar for dollar offset of Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments for surviving spouses.
The National Military Family Association believes our Nation’s leaders should guarantee the readiness of our force by taking care of service members and their families, serving in both active and reserve components, no matter where they live. This is accomplished by providing: quality, accessible health care; behavioral health support; spouse career opportunities; good schools for military children; quality, affordable child care; a secure retirement; and unwavering support for those wounded, widowed, or orphaned. We challenge Congress and the Administration to join us in seeking greater collaboration between government and community agencies to enhance support and enable military families to thrive and be ready to answer any call to duty, now and in the future.
Download our 2014 Legislative and Policy Priorities.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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