FRA NewsBytes January 30 2015

FRA Newsbytes 01/30/2015

FRA Newsbytes 01/30/2015

In this issue:
MCRMC Final Report Includes Replacing TRICARE, Increased SBP Premium, and Restructured Retirement
Military Leaders Warn Senate Panel about Sequestration Cuts
FRA Honors Outstanding Marine Corps Personnel
FRA Recognizes Outstanding USN Recruiters
SecDef Hagel’s Farwell

MCRMC Final Report Includes Replacing TRICARE, Increased SBP Premium, and Restructured Retirement
FRA staff (NED Snee and DLP Davis) met with the members of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) and their staff the day the report was released (Friday, January 30) to discuss the final recommendations of the commission. The report makes 15 major recommendations that include restructuring the military retirement system for future retirees, nearly doubling SBP premiums, and replacing all TRICARE programs except for TRICARE-For-Life (TFL) with a selection of commercial insurance plans. The Commission claims that TRICARE is no longer fiscally sustainable. The Commission’s suggested changes are only recommendations and have NOT been introduced as legislation. Capitol Hill reaction to the report so far has been mixed. The FRA Legislative Team is carefully reviewing the impact of the proposed changes and will provide additional analysis in next week’s NewsBytes. Given the size and scope of the 15 recommendations put forward by the co mmission, FRA strongly urges Congress and key stakeholders to conduct a thoughtful analysis of the final report.
Military Leaders Warn Senate Panel about Sequestration Cuts
The Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), warning of dreadful consequences if the Defense Department (DoD) is hit by additional automatic cuts (sequestration) in FY 2016. The administration will release its FY 2016 budget next week; SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), said, “If we in Congress do not act, sequestration will return in full in fiscal year 2016, setting our military on a far more dangerous course.” He is concerned that sequestration could push our military into a slow state of decline. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Jonathan Greenert warned that a new round of sequestration cuts would require a re-examination of the national defense strategy, pointing out the falling retention rate among the Navy’s highly trained sailors. He also suggested the existing plan for the Ohio-class submarine program could be at risk if more automatic cuts occur. “And that would be a budget-driven strategy,” said Greenert. He also warned the service’s fleet is older than it has ever been.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford said the Marines are investing in new hardware at “historically low levels.” SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), said he knows the service chiefs “will manage” with whatever funding and cuts they are dealt.

FRA wants Defense excluded from sequestration and Shipmates can use the Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) to express their concerns on this issue to their legislators.
FRA Honors Outstanding Marine Corps Personnel
For the sixteenth consecutive year, FRA recognized outstanding Marines this week at the Combined Awards Ceremony at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico. Newly appointed Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford attended the event, and FRA National President John Ippert presented special certificates and FRA challenge coins to all awardees. FRA sponsored the Marine Corps’ Combined Awards Ceremony for the top recruiters, drill instructors, combat instructors, security, and career planners of the year. Communications Director Lauren Armstrong, ADLP Stephen Tassin and ADVP Ben Young also attended the event, as well as an FRA-sponsored reception thereafter.
FRA Recognizes Outstanding USN Recruiters
FRA’s National President (NP) John Ippert, National Executive Director (NED) Tom Snee, and members of FRA’s headquarters staff participated in several events honoring the Navy’s 2013 Recruiters of the Year this week. At a special ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial on Wednesday, NP Ippert presented awardees with a complimentary two-year FRA membership and certificate. On Friday, FRA hosted a luncheon for the awardees on Capitol Hill, at which NED Snee presented the opening remarks, and sponsored a tour of the Capitol. FRA NHQ and several branches contributed to the success of the event and were recognized among a select group of “Friends of the Navy.”
SecDef Hagel’s Farwell
Secretary of Defense (SecDef) Chuck Hagel was honored in a farewell ceremony in Fort Myer, Va., on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. When Hagel was appointed Secretary of Defense in 2013, he became the first former enlisted man to lead the Pentagon. Early next month, he is expected to be replaced by Ashton Carter.

Hagel started off his speech by thanking service members and their families. He also asked U.S. troops to secure the military’s reputation as “the most admired and trusted institution in our country.” He stated that “Of all the opportunities my life has given me… I am most proud of having once been a soldier. The lessons from my time in uniform about trust, responsibility, duty, judgment and loyalty to your fellow soldier—these I have carried with me throughout my life.” President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey attended the event.