September 20, 2010
In September during the mid-term election season, our Legislative Branch and its leaders tend to turn their attention away from legislating and toward electioneering. Nevertheless, there is pressing work to be done to take care of the troops. AUSA is working hard at pointing out to members of Congress that in this short legislative session they must turn their attention to the defense authorizing and appropriating process. Both bills need to address
- expanding concurrent receipt
- increasing the pay raise by 1.9 percent,
- eliminating the SBP/DIC offset
- early retirement credit for mobilized reserve component Soldiers.
among other things that will help Soldiers and their families. Help AUSA remind our elected representatives that we have Soldiers in harm’s way and that, before they return home to their re-election battlefield, they must complete legislative actions on the items above. Please go to our website or pick up a pen and paper and communicate with your representatives from the House and Senate. We cannot allow partisan warfare to slow down or stop timely and needed authorization or appropriation work. If you go to our website at www.ausa.org, click on “Legislative Agenda” and then “Contact Congress”, type in your zip code beside “Elected Officials” and scroll down to “Pass the Defense Appropriations and Authorization Bills Now”.
Another important piece of business at hand is our 2011 National Resolutions process. Bill Loper, Director of Government Affairs, already has our annual preparations in motion. Chapters and individual members have submitted proposed resolutions, and I have had our Resolution Committee leadership in for a prep season to give them my guidance. Just before the Annual Meeting in late October, the committee will receive briefings from senior Army leadership and then in a marathon weekend session will create AUSA’s legislative agenda for 2011. Just like our great Army, the committee is an all-volunteer force of committed members who give their time to help our Association help our Army.
As I mentioned in my last column, there has been much “budget knife rattling” in the press and other forums around Washington about the high cost of defense. That is nothing new, even though our nation is still at war. Our traditional national behavior, in times when wars appear to be ending, is to look at decrementing war time spending before the fighting has ended.
We at AUSA national are keenly aware of this traditional behavior. This year it seems to be starting earlier – with both Defense and Congressional leaders “rattling their budget knives.” The next year will be critical for us at AUSA especially for our legislative programs supporting the Army, its Soldiers and Families.
For now, our immediate focus will be on “the business at hand” – urging the Congress to complete committee and House and Senate action on the Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills that are so critical to the efficient and safe operation of our military forces.