Political parties and personalities are not as interesting as what stays the same no matter who is elected to office.

I’ve never been one to say that military benefits are inadequate. Just stick with whatever was offered when people signed up to stay on for multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and we’re good.

Every few years, no matter what political party or personality is in power, there are moves to modify what people thought they were earning in exchange for 20 years of unrestricted worldwide service.

The plan is to save cash by reducing the traditional DOD military benefits that were used to entice people to stay for multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is the same country where both major parties invite veterans to be momentarily honored at State of the Union events when they control the White House.

Football games are also used to honor veterans:

0:12 the man is barely conscious when greeted by team owner Jerry Jones:

Everyone seems to love it. When the made for TV event is over, veteran’s benefits may be up for grabs again.

Medical

Feb 7, 2020 Military.com

More Than 3 Dozen Military Hospitals to Stop Treating Retirees, Families, Memo Shows

“That means that some of those facilities may stop offering pharmacy support for users not on active duty. On-base pharmacies are currently the only way for all Tricare beneficiaries, including elderly Tricare for Life enrollees, to receive no-cost, same-day medications.”

“Some military retirees and their families will also see increased out-of-pocket costs, the memo notes, since care received off-base by those users require copays.”

“With a challenging array of threats around the world, we need our military medical facilities to keep combat forces healthy and prepare our medical personnel to support them.”

A number of interesting comments have been posted following the above article.

From comments:

Over the last twenty years the DOD has been constricting Tricare Prime users to having to be closer and closer to military installations. Now that you have to be within 30 miles driving distance to a military medical treatment facility to keep on Tricare Prime, the DOD is going to cut retirees medical benefits on military installation. It is only a matter of time before the DOD forces enough Tricare Prime users out of the network for them to determine Prime not be a cost effective program to maintain.”

 

Traditional Commissary Benefit

Unfortunately, the commissary has gone downhill in recent years. They still hire good people, but the shelves are not consistently stocked. Some of the products that were routinely available have been completely phased out.

What has changed?

DoD wants to sharply cut commissary budget as overall defense budget increases

“For a number of years, some within the Defense Department have floated proposals to reduce the commissary budget.”

Commissary funding has been cut. The benefit has been reduced and people are less inclined to shop on base for this reason.

We can’t have poor sales numbers. We will not put the benefit back to the way it was when people signed up to stay on for multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will open up eligibility and get more people to show up to shop on base.

 

Lowering the bar

It really is genius.

Commissary sales are down. To increase sales, people who formerly did not qualify to shop there will now become eligible:

Commissary employees to get shopping benefits

No need to volunteer to go to far away places and maybe never come back again. If you work at the facility-you now qualify for this traditional benefit.

0 percent disability

Out there in the world, somewhere, there are people who believe military benefits are too generous. Wait until they find out that their neighbor now gets a lifetime shopping on base privilege after doing 4 years in uniform and coming away with a 0 percent disability. Wait until the average person learns what it takes to qualify for a 0 percent disability.

The idea that military benefits are too generous will catch on as time goes on.

If the general public begins to believe the benefits are too generous, it will be easier to make moves to downsize benefits earned in exchange for 20 years of unrestricted worldwide service and save more DOD cash later on.

Once an incentive to stay for 20, now maybe an incentive to qualify for a 0 percent disability:

Department of Defense Expanding Access to Military Commissaries, Exchanges and Recreation Facilities

Who is eligible?

“…veterans with VA- documented service-connected disability ratings of 0-90 percent…”

What is a zero-percent disability rating?

Claims agents are standing by:

“So what about zero-percent ratings? A veteran may be rated at zero percent, which means that a service-connected condition exists, but that it does not affect his or her ability to function.”

San Diego area military bases to open gates to thousands more veterans in 2020

“Starting New Year’s Day, more than 3 million veterans nationwide, including tens of thousands of local veterans, will be able to shop at exchanges and commissaries on military bases and utilize their recreation facilities.”

Until now only active duty military, retirees, Medal of Honor recipients and veterans who were 100 percent disabled could shop on base…”

“The change is expected to boost sales at base grocery stores, shops and restaurants, which have suffered years of declines…”

More here:

New Incentive To Qualify For Zero-Percent Disability Rating

Recommendation:

Insert language into recruiting literature and enlistment documents stating that rules concerning benefits may change at any time & that no definite benefit package will be provided in exchange for 20 years of unrestricted worldwide service. No grandfather clause will apply. Have unit leaders refer to this disclaimer when promoting retention drives, giving re-enlistment speeches, etc.

Some will say that this has already been done, and that you will see if you read the fine print. I say take it out of fine print and make it read like the warnings on a pack of cigarettes.

 

Recommendation for budget savings:

Phase out ongoing undeclared/unwon wars overseas.

The Department of Defense track record for winning undeclared wars goes back to 1949.

 

Big Spending

Need more cash for undeclared/unwon wars that never end:

Feb 7, 2020 Military.com

Esper Presses Congress to Bulk Up Next Military Budget

“…more funding for the military to confront China and Russia…”

 

Nov 14, 2019 Stars and Stripes

Post-9/11 Wars Have Cost American Taxpayers $6.4 trillion, Study Finds

 

April 22, 2019 TIME

F-35 Fighters Will Cost $22 Billion More Than Expected, Pentagon Says

Oct 29, 2019 CNBC

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter program gets $34 billion Pentagon contract, its biggest yet

“The laundry list of setbacks includes faulty ejection seats, software delays and significant helmet-display issues. The program had an initial acquisition cost of $406.5 billion.”

Dec 6, 2019 Military.com

Under Pressure, Navy’s Top official Pledges to Solve New Carrier’s Problems

The advanced $13 billion carrier has been plagued by problems including glitches with its 11 new weapons elevators, which bring ammunition to the flight deck. The failure to solve many of the issues with the 23 new technologies introduced on the carrier have led to countless delays and still threaten its maiden deployment, which is planned for 2021.”

“There is a trail of tears as to why we are where we are, but we need to fix that ship and make sure that it works, Modly said.”

 

Did the advantage of US air and sea power allow the undeclared wars in Iraq or Afghanistan to be prevented, won or shut down?

 

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Photo-looking forward to another season