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FIVE Action item: Protect military retirement and COLAs. Who is affected? All new entrants into military service after Jan. 1, 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 might lead to further reductions in the value of the mili- tary retirement benefit earned after 20 years of service. The remedy: Extend the period of government matching funds beyond 26 years to actual retire- ment. Oppose any efforts to reduce or eliminate the mandatory 12-years-of-service bonus in the BRS. Continue to seek comprehensive imple- mentation of legislation authorizing concurrent receipt of uniformed service retired pay and VA disability compensation, to include a heightened focus on Chapter 61 retirees (those medically retired with less than 20 years of service).


SIX Action item: Sustain wounded warrior programs and expand caregiver support. Who is affected? More than 52,000 service- members who were wounded in action, 1,000 battle-in- jured with major limb amputations, 327,000 traumatic brain injuries, and hundreds of thou- sands of 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 servicemem- bers, MOAA has seen reductions in resources


IMAGES: ABOVE, GST/SHUTTERSTOCK; TOP, STAFF SGT. ALEXANDRE MONTES, USAF


TOP 10 GOALS: THE CHEAT SHEET ONE | Ensure any TRICARE reform sustains access to top-quality care. TWO| Prevent disproportional TRICARE fee in- creases. THREE | Sustain military pay comparability with the private sector. FOUR | Block erosion of compensation and non-pay and quality of life benefits. FIVE | Protect military retirement and COLAs. SIX | Sustain wounded warrior programs and ex- pand caregiver support. SEVEN | End financial penalties to survivors and the disabled. EIGHT | Ensure the Guard and Reserve system ade- quately supports the requirements for an operation- al reserve. NINE | Ensure spouse and family support programs are aligned with current and emerging needs of an all-volunteer force. TEN | Ensure timely access to VA health care and preserve earned veterans benefits.


RELATED STORIES See Mission Critical, page 15, and Mission Advocacy, page 72, for more about MOAA’s ad- vocacy team, what we’re doing on your behalf, and what’s going on in Wash- ington that could affect you.


and funding for these programs. The remedy: MOAA is committed to moving DoD and the VA to establish a more unified and integrated system of care and benefits that will provide comprehensive, wrap-around services to facilitate the health and well-being of the nation’s wounded, ill, and injured. The Military and Vet- eran Caregiver Services Act of 2017, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), is one step in that direction.


SEVEN Action item: End financial penalties to survivors and the disabled. Who is affected? Veterans with service-connect- ed injuries and their survivors The issue: Veterans forced into disability re- tirements before completing a full career are


January 2018 | MILITARY OFFICER | 39


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