Tom Philpott

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Housing allowances stateside to jump 5 percent

Military Update, Tom Philpott
Dec 20 2013 - 6:52pm

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) paid to service members living off base in the United States will rise an average of five percent in January to keep pace with local rental costs over the past year.But senior defense officials are weighing whether this should be the last significant hike in housing allowances for a while as they struggle to keep...

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Military Update: Ryan-Murray deal hits younger, future military retirees

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Dec 12 2013 - 12:14pm

The yearly value of a 20-year military retirement would be cut for the current force steadily until age 62 under a COLA cap provision in the "bipartisan" budget deal struck by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the House and Senate budget committee chairmen.The cumulative effect would be to cut the lifetime value of military...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Dec 12 2013 - 12:24pm


Military Update: Promotion rate disparities impact total career pay

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Dec 10 2013 - 1:37pm

Air Force enlisted members advance to pay grades E-5 through E-7 faster than they did before recent wars, but still slower than peers in every other branch of service. That dampens total earnings over a 20-year career.The greatest career income difference tied to promotion pace is seen between Air Force and Navy enlisted because sailors show the...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Dec 10 2013 - 2:15pm


Military Update: Controversy over ‘condition not a disability’ discharges

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Dec 3 2013 - 10:56am

Navy Department medical personnel are misusing an administrative separation authority called "Condition Not A Disability" on many sailors and Marines whose medical conditions should be screened through the disability evaluation system, an advocate for wounded warriors is charging."The use of administrative discharges for conditions that require...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Dec 3 2013 - 10:56am


Military Update: Pentagon requests plan to close stateside commissaries

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Nov 26 2013 - 11:27am

Tasked by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to find ways to preserve force readiness amid sharply falling budgets, his comptroller and the Joint Staff have asked the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) for a plan to close all stateside base grocery stores, say military resale community sources.Time will tell if this is just the loudest warning shot yet...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Nov 26 2013 - 12:46pm


Military Update: New budget cut options include military pay, veterans

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Nov 19 2013 - 12:25pm

Military members, retirees and veterans have a few more reasons to be wary of politicians who say their top priority is to cut federal spending.The Congressional Budget Office released a report of more than 100 options for reducing budget deficits. It's a timely product as House and Senate conferees strive to negotiate by mid-December a new debt-...

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DOD’s balk on compensation reform irks commissioners

Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel, the 24th and current United States Secretary of Defense,

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Nov 13 2013 - 11:07am

The Department of Defense disappointed members of the new Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission by failing this month to propose a fresh set of ideas for reforming pay and benefits, as Congress had directed.The anticipated Pentagon proposals were to serve as a kind of launch pad for the commission's work, which entered a...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Nov 13 2013 - 11:24am


70,000 vets still could gain ‘retiree’ status

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Nov 4 2013 - 2:23pm

About 70,000 disabled veterans who served on active duty after 9/11, and were medically discharged with disability ratings of 20 percent or less, still have a shot to gain "retiree" status, with base shopping privileges and lifetime eligibility to TRICARE for them and families.The catch is they have to know about this opportunity and to apply....

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Nov 5 2013 - 2:51pm


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Military Update: JCS to tell Congress: Allow pay curbs or harm readiness

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Apr 23 2014 - 11:02am

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is giving the Joint Chiefs of Staff an unusual and potentially powerful opportunity to persuade senators they risk a readiness crisis if they don't take significant steps this year to slow growth in military compensation.All seven of the nation's top four-star officers are to...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Apr 23 2014 - 11:02am


Military Update: Top enlisted: Slow compensation to protect readiness

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Apr 16 2014 - 10:50am

Military leaders lead. Politicians can lead too, of course, but usually not before sticking a wet finger in the wind to learn how political winds blow.The contrast was evident Wednesday as top enlisted leaders delivered a kind of suck-it-up-and-punch-us message to a group of nervous senators.The armed services personnel subcommittee wanted to...

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Military Update: Narrowed smoker discounts still seen as unhealthy

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Apr 8 2014 - 1:28pm

Military discounts on cigarettes sold at base exchanges narrowed by half over past two years but remain "substantial" and contradictory of health policies of the Department of Defense, according to a new analysis of cigarette pricing on base in this month's American Journal of Public Health.The survey results add momentum to a plan being eyed by...

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Military Update: Exchange-commissary merger eyed to stem store crisis

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Apr 2 2014 - 12:12pm

Crowds that shop daily in base commissaries and exchanges perhaps are oblivious to a confluence of forces threatening to dismantle their multi-billion dollar resale systems.Thomas C. Shull, chief executive officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is not, which helps to explain his March 17 memo proposing a merger of commissaries...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Apr 2 2014 - 12:12pm


Military Update: Mandatory ‘mail order’ begins for TRICARE elderly

Standard-Examiner, Tom Philpott
Mar 25 2014 - 10:41am

About 500,000 military beneficiaries age 65 and older with chronic health conditions are being forced, starting this month, to have maintenance drug prescriptions filled by mail order rather than in local retail pharmacies.The TRICARE For Life (TFL) Home Delivery pilot is a yearlong program required by law. Defense Department health officials...

Comments   ·   Read more   ·   Updated: Mar 25 2014 - 10:41am

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