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The nation’s largest organization for combat veterans is encouraging its members to attend two public hearings next week of a Pentagon commission looking at changes in military pay and benefits.
In a statement to its members encouraging attendance, Veterans of Foreign Wars says it views the commission as “a serious attempt to balance the budget on the backs of military families, retirees and veterans through an erosion of pay and benefits.”
The results “will negatively impact recruiting and retention, and possibly threaten the continued viability of the all-volunteer military,” says the statement from the 2-million-member organization.
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission has scheduled public hearings and town hall meetings in Northern Virginia on Nov. 4 and 5.
The Nov. 4 event will be at Fort Belvoir’s USO Warrior and Family Center. The public hearing is at 9 a.m., and will feature testimony from organizations that support military families and wounded warriors. The town hall meeting begins at 7 p.m.
The Nov. 5 event will be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 1325 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. The hearing, which will begin at 9 a.m., will include military and veterans organizations and academic witnesses. The town hall meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
The commission, created by Congress at the urging of the Defense Department, is charged with taking a broad look at the entire universe of military pay and benefits.
“Everything is on the table, to include those programs operated by the departments of Veterans Affairs and Labor, according to commission officials, who have already met twice with VFW Washington office staff,” according to the VFW statement.
“Everything” encompasses the 20-year military retirement system; basic pay, tax-exempt allowances for housing and subsistence, special and incentive pays, and other compensation and benefits.
The commission has until May to make recommendations for any changes in current compensation and benefits programs.