Your Future: Its Time to Weigh In

Monday, February 02, 2015

Over the last several days, many of you have read or listened to a variety of opinions on the report released by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC).

Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan was quoted as saying, “AUSA has been briefed on the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s final report and recommendations. The proposals sound simple on the surface: Fix health care access, reform retirement benefits so more people get something when they leave the service, and make personnel programs more efficient. The details, though, are complicated and will require a careful review. While commissioners say that cost-cutting was not their goal, we are worried that some soldiers and their families could see it this way. We want to ensure that any changes in compensation and benefits help, not hurt, recruiting, retention and overall readiness, sustain the All-Volunteer Force and are perceived as fair.”

It is important to remember that these are ONLY proposals.  More than likely many of the recommendations will NOT be transformed into legislation. But make no mistake, the conversation on whether or not the military has the best compensation and retirement package has started and YOU need to be a part of it.

Congress will hold many hearings over several months, beginning with the MCRMC members testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

Many editorials will be written, many advocacy organizations will raise their voices, and many thoughts will be examined. But will your voice, your opinion be among them? Does any of this rhetoric really make an impact on or matter to you?

Those of us living inside the Beltway often wonder about the level of interest out “in the field.”  To us, words like MCRMC and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are part of our everyday vocabulary. We examine reports and surveys for the impact on military service members and their families, we anticipate the drawbacks to military retention and recruitment, and we try to gauge how your quality of life will be affected.

AUSA President and CEO Gen. Sullivan, U.S. Army retired, has been quite vocal over the past two years on ending sequestration and protecting pay and benefits

But we can only guess how you view these potential legislative changes if we don’t hear from you.  Through your membership, our Chapters keep us updated about what they hear in the field. When you comment on the AUSA Firing Line or our Facebook page, we read them and pass your concerns on to our Government Affairs department, which helps shape the letters written to Congress that you can also sign and email to your Representative. You may not see what happens on our end when you comment, but believe me, your comments and membership count! 

I have been told over and over again that millennials are not joiners. I don’t agree. I know from having raised three millennials: If the cause is great and important enough, they join, they raise their voices, and they make a difference. And so does every other generation of AUSA member.  Therefore, I am making the ASK. Join AUSA and become involved. There is no greater cause than supporting an Army soldier and their family.