National Legislative Committee 

Members

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Phil Short, Committee Chairman, pshort@mcleague.org
  • Phil Zamora
  • Roger Ware
  • David Ossian
  • Dave Porter
  • Joe DeAngelo
  • Steve Tozzi
  • Russ Miller
  • Michael Clark
  • David Niemann
  • Bill Ebright

Message from the Legislative Committee Chairman

MARINES:  I want to say first, how honored I am to continue to serve our Marine Corps and Marine Corps League as the newly appointed  Chairman of the National Legislative Committee.  I extend my sincere gratitude to Commandant Webb, Chief Operating Officer Borka, and the National Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve in this important role.  I also want to thank all of the members of my home detachment, Jack Maas Detachment 1379, Department of Virginia for according me the honor of serving as their Commandant for the past two terms.  Now moving forward, we have a big job to do together in the legislative arena protect our military pay, force levels, combat readiness, health care and retirement benefits, veterans affairs services, wounded warriors, and other quality of life areas (including Marine for Life and Transition Assistance Programs).  The remainder of 2108 likely will hold more surprises on Capitol Hill.  Midterm elections are coming in November, and the turnover in Congress could be significant. With partisanship on the rise, the political transition likely will pose interesting challenges.

National Legislative Priorities

TRICARE – Ensure any TRICARE reform sustains access to top-quality care and avoids disproportional TRICARE fee increases.

Who is affected? All military beneficiaries, including active duty troops and retirees and their family members and others entitled to DoD’s health care

The issue: Reforms to the Military Health System must sustain an operationally ready force with a ready medical force. We agree the military’s health care system needs to evolve beyond what it is today into a modern, high-performing, integrated system.

 

MILITARY PAY – Sustain military pay comparability with the private sector.

Who is affected? All active duty currently serving uniformed personnel and their families

The issue: Budget pressures might may affect military pay raises, widening the gap between military pay and civilian-sector pay.

 

QUALITY OF LIFE BENEFITS – Block erosion of compensation and non-pay and quality-of-life benefits.

Who is affected? All currently serving uniformed personnel and their family members

The issue: Future proposals may reduce the value of compensation, to include non-pay and quality-of-life benefits such as the Basic Allowance for Housing, Special Incentive Pays, and commissary, exchange, and morale, welfare, and recreation benefits, harming recruiting and retention.

 

MILITARY RETIREMENT – Protect military retirement and Cost of Living Allowances (COLA).

Who is affected? All new entrants into military service after Jan. 1, 2018 as well as those with less than 12 years of active military service who choose to opt in to the new blended retirement system (BRS)

The issue: Budget constraints may lead to further reductions in the value of the military retirement benefit earned after 20 years of service.

 

WOUNDED WARRIORS – Sustain wounded warrior programs and expand caregiver support.

Who is affected? Service members who were wounded in action, battle-injured with major limb amputations, traumatic brain injuries, and individuals with service-connected conditions acquired since Sept. 11, 2001.

The issue: While DoD, the VA, and the military services continue to maintain programs to care and support our most vulnerable service members; there is a need to establish a more unified and integrated system of care and benefits that will provide comprehensive wrap-around services.

 

END FINANCIAL PENALTIES TO RETIREES – End financial penalties to military retired veterans with disability compensation.

Who is affected? Veterans with service-connected injuries

The issue: Veterans forced into disability retirements before completing a full career (also known as Chapter 61 retirees) are prohibited from receiving military retired pay concurrently with VA disability compensation.

 

END SURVIVOR PENALTIES – End financial reduction of benefits to survivors whose military spouse died of service-connected causes.

Who is affected? Military dependent survivors

The issue: Military dependent survivors whose sponsors died of service-connected causes suffer from the widows tax, a dollar-for-dollar offset of DoD’s Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) from the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

 

“FIGHT TONIGHT” READINESS – Ensure the Guard and Reserve system adequately supports requirements for an operational reserve.

Who is affected? Members of the reserve components and their families

The issue: The paradigm for reserve component usage has changed from a strategic reserve to a combat-ready warfighting element incorporated into current and future war planning. As the demands on Guard and Reserve troops have evolved, so has the need for benefits comparable to their active duty counterparts.

 

RECRUITING AND RETENTION – Recruiting and retention of an all-volunteer force require alignment of spouse and family support programs.

Who is affected? Every service member who has or will have a family

The issue: The decision to remain in service often is made around the kitchen table and considers the evolving needs of the entire family, including the employment, educational, and health care needs of non-serving family members; access to child care; and the frequency of relocation.

 

VETERANS HEALTH CARE ACCESS – Ensure timely access for Veterans’ health care and preserve Veterans’ earned benefits.

Who is affected? All eligible U.S. Veterans receiving VA health care and earned benefits.

The issue: The demand for VA health care and benefits continues to grow. Budget and infrastructure must support the increasing demand.

 

CMC Legislative Priorities

“Presidential Budget 2019 (PB19), Modernizing for the Future Force, focuses on three budget priorities – modernization, readiness, and manpower – directly aligning with the Secretary of Defense’s guidance to improve warfighting readiness, achieve program balance, and increase lethality. Driven by Marine Corps Force 2025 (MCF 2025), the capability investment strategy which modernizes the force toward implementing the Marine Operating Concept (MOC), we plan to rebuild a more lethal, maneuverable, and resilient force able to operate in the emerging strategic environment.

Modernization – The Foundation of Our Future Readiness: Our Marine Corps must be modernized to meet the demands of the strategic environment. What we desire to achieve is a Corps capable of exploiting, penetrating, and destroying advanced adversary defenses in all domains in support of naval or Joint Force operations. That modernized force would deter adversaries, prevent conflict, and provide capabilities required to “…suppress or contain international disturbances short of large-scale war;” thus, preventing the consumption of readiness from the larger Joint Force. PB19 is synched with MCF 2025, specifically investing in areas such as: Information Warfare, long range precision fires, air defense, C2 in a degraded environment, and protected mobility / enhanced maneuver. These capability areas support building a Next Generation Marine Corps across Active and Reserve components.

Readiness – The Core of Our Ethos: The Marine Corps is unique among the Armed Services because your expectations require Marines to be a fight-tonight, forward deployed force, ready and capable of acting with minimal preparatory time. We must address four primary challenge areas:

Aviation: Our priority remains building aviation readiness for combat by balancing modernization with readiness recovery. PB19 supports our aviation recovery plan that, if sufficiently resourced and supported by our industrial base, recovers the force to acceptable readiness levels by FY20 with a ready bench by FY22.

Amphibious, Maritime, and Expeditionary Ships: The Joint Force must maintain access to and the ability to maneuver through the global commons, project power, and defeat a competitor attempting to deny freedom of action via the employment of A2AD capabilities. To meet these challenges, the naval force must be distributable, resilient, and tailorable, as well as employed in sufficient scale and for ample duration. Today, the operational availability of the amphibious fleet is insufficient to meet global demands, negatively impacting the unit training necessary to recover full spectrum readiness, and does not support CCDR requirements for power projection. Consequently, the strategic risk to the larger Joint Force and mission is increased.

Deployment to Dwell: A majority of the Active Force is experiencing a deployment to dwell (D2D) ratio that is unsustainable and limits time to train to our full naval mission sets. We must return to a 1:3 D2D force to have the time required to train for the high-end fight and achieve balance with our Marines and their families. High operational tempo is affecting our ability to retain Marines and sustain our career force. PB19 supports an 186,100 Active and 38,500 Reserve component end-strength force while maintaining an approximate 1:2 D2D ratio. Funding at a 1:2 D2D ratio, although not sustainable, is a conscious, short-term decision we must make to balance modernization while meeting current demand and simultaneously recovering our readiness. This must not become the new normal.

Infrastructure: We must prioritize Infrastructure Reset, improve infrastructure lifecycle management, enhance its resilience, and ensure infrastructure investments are aligned with Marine Corps capability-based requirements to support the warfighting mission, contributing directly to current and future Force readiness. PB19 funds the Infrastructure Reset Strategy with realized long-term cost savings through a reduction of 1056 failing structures (14 million square feet) during the FYDP and yield savings in Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization accounts.

Manpower –Growing and Sustaining Our High Quality People: Our people – Marines, civilians, and their families – are the foundation of all that we do; they are our center of gravity. PB19 provides $15.7 billion towards our manpower accounts, over 36% of our total request as it begins to implement MCF 2025. It also supports building a more experienced, better trained, and more capable force by increasing the number of Marines we have with special skills. Our Marines want to deploy, serve our Nation, and protect our country from threats overseas. As Marines, we pride ourselves on being ready and on training for combat in conditions that are as close to reality as possible to enable success when called to fight. To ensure their success in future conflicts, we continue to build upon our lethality as we adapt our training, driving changes in our programs.”

Reference: CMC Testimony April 20, 2018

 

LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER

 

Blended Retirement System

Orientation for Spouses of Service Members Covered By BRS

To increase awareness and understanding of the BRS components along with available resources, DoD created a series of three videos to provide spouses an understanding of the components of BRS, “Your Retirement System”, “TSP: What’s It All About”, and “Navigating Your Way to a Secure Financial Future”.   Service members and families are encouraged to watch the video series, take the BRS training and meet with an accredited Personal Financial Manager or Counselor for free financial counseling at their local installation’s Military and Family Support Center or through Military OneSource.

Here are links to the three videos:

An Orientation for Spouses of Service Members Covered by BRS
https://youtu.be/X8P9UOiMrf8

TSP: What it’s All About
https://youtu.be/YUbyMJTwCk4

Navigate Your Way to a Secure Financial Future
https://youtu.be/vIei9Gz_LZM

 

Resource Links

Congressional Legislation (Bill Finder)
Find Your Senator 
Find Your Representative 
The Military Coalition
Marine Corps Office of Legislative Affairs