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SURVIVOR BENEFITS. The need for survivor benefits for military personnel has increased over the past 10 years as nore servicemenbers narry and or have dependent children. NCOA reconnends that the current programs, listed below, be anended to reflect the changes noted.
Suryiyors Benefit Plan (SBP): Include provisions that; 1)- authorize participants to review their further need for this benefit and after a period of enrollment of not less than 24 months be able to disenroll upon written request; and, 2) authorize all premiums collected for SBP and Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) to be deposited in the Military Retirement Fund.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): The Armed Services Committee is urged to encourage the Veterans' Affairs Committee to alter the method of computation by which survivors of military personnel receive this annuity. Currently it is by the servicemember's grade at the time of death. It is extremely unfair and anachronistic to provide a greater benefit to the young widow of a young officer than to the widow of a mid-level NCO or petty officer who may have more than double the number of years of marriage and the time-in-service of that of the officer.
Death Gratuity: No change since 1956. Current maximum of $3.000 may barely cover incidental expenses of the family involved in the demise of a servicemember. Since the receipt of survivor benefits is often delayed, it is recommended that the payment be changed to a minimum of $3.000 and a maximum of $9.000 with eligibility established by pay grade and time in service. For example:
E-ls thru E-35
$3.000 E-45 and 0-15
$3,500 E-55 and 0-25
$4.500 E-6s, WOs, and 0-35
$5.500 E-7s, WO3s, and 0-4 s
$6.500 E-8s, and 0-55
$7.500 E-9s, WO-4s and 0-6s
$8.500 Enlisted Chiefs of each
Service, and 0-7s and above .. $9.000
(NOTE: WOs thru W0-35 and 0-15 th 0-5s with four or more years of enlisted service would be entitled to an amount equal to that established at the next highest pay grade.)
ATTACHMENT (G) MILITARY CONSTRUCTION.
Strategic Homeporting. Naval personnel will play second-fiddle in the Navy's scheme to advance homeporting. Hurried and below cost-estimates offer concern that personnel construction programs; 1.e.- housing. bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQ): will suffer set-backs and affect future morale and crew efficiency. Navy's recent approach to "crowding" enlisted personnel in a proposed BEQ in New York City to salvage low cost-estimates is no less than pure anachronism.
Manufactured Housing. Why is congress reluctant to direct services to build this style housing for military families? When three manufactured homes can be built for the price of two standard ones and can be ready for occupancy in less time than a "stick-built" home, there appears to be no justification that permits services to continue constructing fewer homes by using more dollars. Problems involving manufactured housing. if any. may be due to leadership and management deficiencies.
Section 6 schools. Congress must realize by now that state school districts are reluctant to accept transfer of section 6 schools to their jurisdiction without considerable remodeling and renovating. Other area of concern lies in impact aid funds currently running far behind cost-of-living increases. DOD should recommend retention of schools where affected military families advocate retention and actively seek construction funds to remodel and renovate facilities.
Bachelor Quarters. Fifty percent of all-volunteer force remains unmarried. Greater emphasis is needed in the support for more modern bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQs or barracks) and other bachelor-oriented facilities. Unmarried servicemembers are cost-effective and require considerably more attention from Congress than in the past 16 to 20 years.
Miscellaneous. 1)- NCOA applauds the effort to revive the Capehart-style housing program and supports its implementation; 2) - The Association recommends the construction of more mobile home parks on military installations for junior enlisted personnel: 3) - Also recommended is an adequate increase in BAQ/VHA. funds in order to subsidize 80% of the housing costs of military personnel residing off-base to reflect more closely the intent of Congress; and, 4) - Alter the current thinking of Congress regarding MWR construction funds:. more than a recreational program for many servicemembers.
ATTACHMENT (H) MISCELLANEOUS. The following niscellaneous proposals are supported by NCOA and reconnended for adoption by Congress.
Tax Credit. Employers who voluntarily allow their workers to participate in reserve and guard activities without penalty to the employee should be offered as attractive tax credit.
Former Spouses. The Former Spouses Protection Act has become a one-sided paradox. It contains certain minute protective clauses for servicemembers that are completely ignored by the Department of Defense. Amendments are required in order to put greater teeth into the law so that the servicemember's right under the soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act is fully protected.
Reserve and Guard Incentives. Continue to authorize and fully fund all incentive programs for persons joining, reenlisting or extending their tours with the Selected Reserves or National Guard.
O Recruiting and Adyertising. Authorize and fund greater appropriations for services to recruit quality personnel, particularly when number of available and prospective young men is dwindling and civilian sector is becoming more competitive in its recruiting tactics.
Award of the Gold Star Lapel Button. Amend .10 USC. Sec. 1126. to authorize presentation of the recognition to eligible survivors of members whose death occurs from wounds received in prescribed engagements if death occurs within 6 months of hospitalization for wound or wounds received and such hospitalization was not terminated or suspended during the 6 month period.
STATEMENT ON PERSONNEL COMPENSATION AND
ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
FLEET RESERVE ASSOCIATION
Not to be released until made public by the House Committee on Armed Services
FUEET NORGE ABON
FLEET RESERVE ASSOCIATION
Serving Career Enlisted Personnel of the U.S. NAVY • U.S. MARINE CORPS • U.S. COAST GUARD 1303 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
Mr. Chairman, members of this distinguished Committee, it is
my privilege to present the views of the Fleet Reserve Associa
tion, on the personnel compensation provisions of the amended FY
1989 Defense Budget.
As you know, the Fleet Reserve Association
is an organization of 150,000 enlisted personnel, active duty and
retired, of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
appreciate this opportunity to give you their views.
During the past two months I have addressed active duty
personnel attending FRA Leadership Seminars.
The seminars were
held in Norfolk, Virginia, San Diego, California and Pensacola
and Jacksonville, Florida.
Members of the enlisted leadership,
(cammand master chief pet ty officers, command career counselors
and ambudsmen) were invited and all major commands in those four
areas were represented.
The frank, open exchange of ideas
prepa red me well for this statement.
In the exchange of ideas and opinions at the four FRA Leadership Seminars it was obvious to all that military compensation and access to quality medical care for dependents were the two top personnel issues. To say that all active duty military personnel are well aware that their pay lags behind civilian pay is the understatement of the decade. When personnel grow dissatisfied with their compensation the first indications of the dissatisfaction is felt in recruiting and retention. If you measure retention by years-of-service, you will see that retention has declined in many skills and specialties. In FY '87, the Navy fell 3 percent behind its retention goal for