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RAO BULLETIN

DoD Benefit Cuts Update 42  ►   Are Benefits Extremely Generous?

Retired Army Lt. Col. Tom Slear has touched the third rail of military and veterans’ issues with an opinion piece arguing that a “very small decrease in pay” for military retirees would be reasonable, considering the need for the U.S. government to cut spending. Slear wrote in the Washington Post that his retirement benefits are extremely generous, especially considering that he was never deployed to a combat zone. He pays $550 a year for family medical insurance under Tricare, while the average family paid $4,565 in 2013 for private health insurance. “Budget deficits are tilting America toward financial malaise,” Slear wrote in the June 6 piece in the Washington Post. “Our elected representatives will have to summon the courage to confront the costs of benefits and entitlements and make hard choices. Some ‘no’ votes when it comes to our service members and, in particular, military retirees will be necessary. We can afford it.”

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Wham Paymaster Robbery

In April 1889, Special Order 37 directed all paymasters in the District of Arizona to pay troops mustered as of April 30. Major Joseph Washington Wham, a U.S. Army paymaster, was assigned Fort Bowie, Fort Grant, Fort Thomas, Fort Apache and Camp San Carlos. Wham and his clerk, William T. Gibbon, met a train carrying the payroll in Wilcox on May 8. The paymaster performed his duties at Fort Bowie on May 9 and at Fort Grant on May 10.

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RAO BULLETIN

Fresh off of the failure of the joint Department of Defense/Department of Veterans’ Affairs electronic health record program, the Pentagon is preparing an $11 billion contract to overhaul its own electronic health records. This would be the biggest federal IT job since last fall’s HealthCare.gov rollout. Many outside observers are concerned that this could become another failed effort The Chief Information Officer at the Office of Management and Budget has warned that a giant problem-solving contract to a single vendor for several years is a common “boondogglish characteristic” of IT procurement that typically ends in failure, Politico.com reported. People familiar with the defense contract stressed the industry’s readiness to take it on. HealthCare.gov was a unique project bedeviled by a complex mixture of political strife, balkanized vendors, a short time frame and a customized, first-of-its-kind tech system, they said. Andy Maner, managing partner of IBM U.S. Federal, plans to bid on the contract and to put its Watson supercomputer to use solving health care problems for the DOD project. The Pentagon hopes to issue the contract by early summer 2015, rolling out the health records system region by region in 2016 with a goal to finish by 2023.

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Veteran Updates

In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced or submitted, and acted upon. These include bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Resolutions are not laws but rather the statements of intent or
declarations that affect the operations of Congress:-

  • Joint resolutions are legislative measure that requires approval by the Senate and the House and is presented to the President for his approval or disapproval, in exactly the same case as a bill.
  • Concurrent resolutions are legislative measures adopted by both houses of a bicameral legislature that lacks the force of law (is non-binding) and does not require the approval of the chief executive (president). Concurrent resolutions are typically adopted to regulate the internal affairs of the legislature that adopted it, or for other purposes where authority of law is not necessary-such as awards or recognitions
  • Simple resolutions are used to delegate official internal Congressional business.

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U.S. Soldier’s Home & Lincoln

It’s typical for the president to get away from the White House from time to time, but how many presidents relocated to a U.S. Soldier’s Home or lived on the grounds of a military cemetery? Some of our earlier presidents had homes in close proximity to the Capitol, which made trips home practical, even without the means we have today. But what did our early presidents do when they were not from the area? President Lincoln’s escape from the White House was not a ranch or beach house, but rather a simple cottage located on the grounds of the U.S. Soldier’s Home, three miles north of the Capitol. It subsequently became known as President Lincoln’s Cottage’. The house and its accompanying 200 acres were donated to the federal government in 1851, by local bank owner George Washington Riggs Jr., for the purpose of establishing the nation’s first Soldier’s Home, and it remains in service to our Veterans today.

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Veteran Legislation

At present 8,000 bills and resolutions containing 3,586 amendments have been introduced the United States Congress. Of those, on average only about 5% will become law. They must be enacted before the end of the 2013-2015 session of the 113th Congress sometime before 3 JAN 2015. To date only 98 laws, of which only a few were veteran related, have been passed by both chambers and sent to the President for signature of which he has vetoed none. This is only 1.46% of all introduced bills being signed into law. Thus the 113th Congress is often referred to as a “Do-nothing Congress”.

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RAO BULLETIN

Crowds that shop daily in base commissaries and exchanges perhaps are oblivious to a confluence of forces threatening to dismantle their multi-billion dollar resale systems. Thomas C. Shull, chief executive officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), is not, which helps to explain his 17 MAR memo proposing a merger of commissaries with exchanges to try to save both. While Department of Defense civilian and military leaders testify that base grocery stores can survive 20 percent higher prices, and that base department stores can weather falling sales, behind the scenes the systems’ top managers are sounding alarms. At risk are the prized discounts on groceries and merchandise the military has enjoyed for decades. Industry sources contend the threats have never been more real, more numerous or potentially more destructive.

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Veteran Legislation

In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced or submitted, and acted upon. These include bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Resolutions are not laws but rather the statements of intent or declarations that affect the operations of Congress……

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BATTLES FOR FORTS

HENRY, HEIMAN & DONELSON

The Civil War started on April 12th 1861 and the states were choosing sides. Tennessee was the last of the Confederate States to secede from the union, choosing to do so on June 8, 1861. Southern leaders were hoping Kentucky would follow Tennessee for example, providing the South a formidable northern boundary. When Kentucky chose to stay with the Union, Southern leaders realized it had to bolster the border to protect itself as the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers crossed the border of the two states. These were vital routes the Confederates used to transport soldiers, weapons and supplies. The South also knew that if the Union were to prevail it would have to use these waterways to maintain its supply routes if the Union Army moved south. Both sides knew controlling these waterways would be essential to fight the war.

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Veteran Legislation

In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced or submitted, and acted upon. These include bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Resolutions are not laws but rather the statements of intent or declarations that affect the operations of Congress……

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Vet State Benefits Discounts TX

Because the VA subsidizes much of a veteran’s cost to stay at a VLB Texas State Veterans Home, daily out-of-pocket rates are well below average and include the cost of medications for veterans. Residents can choose between a spacious private or semi-private room based upon availability. Alzheimer’s units at each home provide highly specialized care, including beautifully landscaped, secure courtyards.

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VETERAN LEGISLATION

To date only 85 laws, of which only a few were veteran related, have been passed by both chambers and sent to the President for signature of which he has vetoed none.

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RAO BULLETIN

The Pentagon on 24 FEB proposed the deepest and most far-reaching cuts to military compensation in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force, explaining that such cuts are necessary in order to pay for more modern gear and high-tech weaponry. Some highlights of the Defense Department’s budget proposal for fiscal 2015 include the first-ever rollback in Basic Allowance for Housing; a military pay raise that would match last year’s 1 percent hike, the lowest in the volunteer era; massive cuts to commissary subsidies; and potentially increased health care fees for both active-duty families and retirees. Together, the proposals signal an end to a decade-plus wartime era of rising pay and benefits for troops. Even after the proposed cuts, military compensation would remain comparatively more generous than it was in the 1980s and ’90s. But the Pentagon has never before sought to pare back existing benefits in the all-volunteer era. Moreover, personnel costs would be slashed further by significant reductions to the size of the force, including the smallest Army since the before the Second World War.

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RAO BULLETIN

Later this year, the Defense Department will begin fully enforcing a previously optional policy regarding the reissuance of lost or stolen common access cards, a defense official said here today. Sam Yousef, a program 4 manager for identity and benefits policy at the Defense Human Resources Activity, discussed an update to the current CAC issuance policy during an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel. “Beginning in late March [or] early April of this year, we are going to begin fully enforcing current common access card policy, which will require individuals to bring supporting documentation if they have had their ID cards lost or stolen,” he said. “If you have your card lost or stolen, you should work with your local security office or the individual sponsoring you for that ID card.” People requesting a replacement card will need to produce a document on component or agency letterhead that explains that the card has been lost or stolen, he added. Yousef noted the document should be signed, and individuals must bring it with them to have a new card issued. “If the card has been stolen,” he said, “they may also bring in the police report that accounts for that,” he added. “This will not only get the department in full compliance with our policy, but it will also create better accountability for individuals who have had their cards lost or stolen.”

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VETERAN LEGISLATION

Congress.gov is the official source for federal legislative information. It replaces the nearly 20-year-old THOMAS.gov site with a system that includes platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation. It currently includes all data sets available on THOMAS.gov except nominations, treaties and communications.

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