Most of you who read this posting are aware that military retirement and retiree health care programs are under attack. From sources as varied as the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office, the Defense Business Board and congressional offices, proposals have emerged that seem to show a complete failure to understand the enormous difference between a soldier’s career in the profession of arms and the civilian job environment.
AUSA is engaged in this fight. I have written to President Obama twice, House and Senate leaders twice, House and Senate Army veterans as well as the Supercommittee members explaining that the extraordinary sacrifices that military personnel and their families make for our nation must be honored with a substantial and predictable benefits package.
We have sent a Torchbearer Alert (document ) outlining the need for Congress to protect benefits for military retirees to every member of Congress and a Torchbearer Issue Paper (document ) on military retiree health care to key staff members in each congressional office and to key professional staff members in defense-related congressional committees. I urge you to read these documents to help familiarize yourself with arguments that rebut the concept that military retiree benefits are “overly generous”.
It is important that the Congress and the President hear from those who are affected by their actions at the “grassroots” level – the people whose lives are dramatically affected by changes that to some seem reasonable, but which are, in reality, simply an easy target on a constituency that is trained to serve and sacrifice rather than complain.
Well now is the time to complain and to do so loudly. Please go to our website and find the prepared letters on the issue of retiree health care and retirement benefits and send them to your members of Congress and President Obama. You are not confined to what we have said in the letters, you may add your personal comments, and I urge you to do so. Let those who have the power to reduce your benefits know how such action would affect you. After all, Soldiers are the essence of the Army.
I have said time and again that military personnel are not a faceless group – they are the one percent of this nation’s population that are willing to carry our colors into battle and to offer up their life in the process. When they retire from the front line, they should be given the respect and dignity of a reliable benefits package that will not be changed.
You can help us get that message out, so hit the send button on your computer and let your voices be heard.
(To send a letter, go to www.ausa.org, click on “Legislative Action Center” at the bottom of the page, then click on the “Contact Congress” button. Put your zip code in the box titled “Elected Officials” and then click on the prepared letters concerning health care and retirement benefits.)