October 13, 2021

From the VA Black Hills Health Care System –


 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, U.S. NAVY –

Founded in 1776, the U.S. Navy is celebrating its 246th Birthday.  Most recently the Navy has been conducting joint operations in the Philippine Sea. Here's the story...


PHILIPPINE SEA - U.S. Navy carrier strike groups led by flagships USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) joined with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) and the United Kingdom’s carrier strike group (CSG 21) led by HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) to conduct multiple carrier strike group operations in the Philippine Sea, Oct. 3.

The integrated at-sea operations brought together more than 15,000 Sailors across six nations and demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s ability to work closely with its unmatched network of alliances and partnerships in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 from Ronald Reagan is operating with CSG 1 from Carl Vinson for the first time during its 2021 deployment and marks the second time operating with UK CSG 21 and JS Ise this year.

“We are picking up right where we left off in 5th Fleet with the Queen Elizabeth team and building on what we started with the JMSDF after first leaving Japan,” said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5/Task Force 70. “Adding the fantastic Vinson team to this potent force dynamically displays our capabilities across all domains, keeping us ready to respond to a range of maritime challenges.”

October 7, 2021

Significant events in the Far East

Military.com reports on Marines and Special Ops troops secretly deploying to Taiwan amid China tension.  Click below to read the story...

October 6, 2021

Making a Difference: Advocacy in Action - 2021

by Dan Merry (excerpted 10/6/2021 from MOAA.org)

It has been a while since MOAA launched Advocacy in Action in April, calling on you to overcome the pandemic and once again meet with your legislators either virtually, via email, or over the phone.  You made a difference despite all these logistical challenges, and we applaud the overall results:  MOAA members contacted all 535 congressional offices, sent over 20,000 messages to the Hill, and conducted 350 meetings in various formats.
 

Here’s a synopsis of the three topics we asked you to share with your legislators:

 

Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Reform 

You communicated the long-term effects of Agent Orange on our Vietnam veterans, as well as the service-connected illnesses from the Gulf War and Iraq and Afghanistan. What started as four bills became the catalyst for overarching (omnibus) legislation offered by the House and Senate – together, this topic has amassed 200 co-sponsors, including key legislators from both chambers.

 

What’s Next? While we seek favorable legislation sooner than later, Congress is still coming to grips with funding the government and finding common ground on infrastructure improvements proposed by the administration. Legislation being sought here is not tied to the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), so it could have success as a standalone bill or be wrapped up with other supplemental legislation or appropriations. All of our efforts to date will be relevant as we head into the second session of this Congress in January.

 

TRICARE Young Adult Coverage Parity

You made sure our legislators understood that kids from military families transitioning to adulthood lack the same health care protections as civilian families who have commercial plans. These concerns were made worse during the pandemic — and also complicated by the prospects of serious TRICARE Young Adult premium increases next year.

 

Even with nearly 100 co-sponsors from the House and Senate, we did not have enough to compel inclusion in the House version of the NDAA, nor through the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).

 

What’s Next? Thankfully, we have a second session of Congress coming up, so the bills and support carry forward in 2022. Also of note, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) introduced her bill as an amendment to the House version of the NDAA, knowing it would be called out of order due to budget impacts. She has committed to continue this effort, as has Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), her original co-sponsor, who said he will work with the House Armed Services Committee to find the funds

 

Stay tuned: We will be calling on our members to boost support through the second session.   

 

Basic Needs Allowance

Support for improving the lives of our junior servicemembers and their families seemed to resonate with many on the Hill. While the number of co-sponsors was nearly the same as the TRICARE Young Adult effort, the stories and picture of servicemembers in line at food banks likely fueled congressional efforts to ensure supporting language was included in both House and Senate versions of the NDAA.

 

What’s Next? We are confident there will be some level of support in the FY 2022 NDAA. However, we have to be very attentive to the process of finalizing the bill through the conference committee as the two chambers have a significant difference in their provisions. The House excludes Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) in the computation for the 130% of the poverty line, which is on par with other federal assistance, and as MOAA supports. The Senate’s provision, however, maintains BAH as a component in the poverty line computation, thus significantly reducing eligibility.

 

After the Senate approves its version, MOAA will need your help urging conferees to support the House provision for the final NDAA.

 

This was a lot of heavy lifting by our members, especially given the challenges of engaging legislators virtually — efforts not possible without our grassroots commitment to service. Our advocacy team at MOAA headquarters continues to work equally hard on these three topics and many more as noted in our legislative priorities.

 

Stay tuned for updates on all of these through The MOAA Newsletter. If you are not getting this newsletter, check here and lend your support for these and other important advocacy efforts.

 

And please share these efforts broadly with those who may consider supporting MOAA as the leading advocate protecting service-earned benefits for those in all eight of our uniformed services, past and present, their families, and survivors.

October 5, 2021

Poll indicates need for more programs and services for Military Teens

In a survey of more than 2,000 children of service members, findings indicate a need for more services and programs, according to advocates.  

Read more here: