*Legislative Update 10 July 2015: Congress Nears Finish Line on Defense Bill


We have 2 Action Items today, at Issue 1 and  2 below



Summary of Issues

At Issue 1. we see CONGRESS NEARS FINISH LINE ON DEFENSE BILLStarting next week, House and Senate conferees begin their work on the defense bill. What’s at stake could have a dramatic impact on the military community.(See Issue 1 below for the details and to send messages to your Legislators. GF)


At Issue 2. we see ARMY SHAKEUP CUTS 40,000 TROOPS. Plan cuts thousands over two years. The Army continues to make deep cuts to end strength levels, threatening national security. (See Issue 2 below for the details and to send messages to your Legislators. GF)

At Issue 3. we see NEW CHIEFS ON THE BLOCKFresh faces mean new opportunities, and challenges

In his July edition of “The Bottom Line,” MOAA Director of Government Relations Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret) looks at the incoming members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.. (See Issue 3 below for the details. GF)

Collectively We Can and Are Making a Difference


FOR ALL, Please feel free to pass these Weekly Legislative Updates on to your group of Veteran Friends –

don’t be concerned with possible duplications – if your friends are as concerned as we are with Veteran issues, they probably won’t mind getting this from two or more friendly sources




Starting next week, House and Senate conferees begin their work on the defense bill

What’s at stake could have a dramatic impact on the military community:

Time is running out. Please send your elected officials a MOAA-suggested message today.

(Click on  CONGRESS NEARS FINISH LINE ON DEFENSE BILL here or above or go to Here is the Process: at the end of this Email to send messages to your Legislators. GF)



July 10, 2015

In a move that is sending ripples throughout the military community, the Army announced that it is cutting 40,000 troops. The drawdown, expected to take about two years, will have a dramatic impact on military communities both domestically and abroad.

The cuts will reduce Army end strength to 450,000, a level not seen since before World War II.

“For the most part, the military has been able to reduce end strength by cutting the number of troops stationed abroad,” said MOAA’s Deputy Director of Government Relations, Col. Mike Barron, USA (Ret). “With this announcement, you’re going to start seeing a lot of changes stateside.”

According to Army planning documents, the reduction is a result of sequestration. If sequestration is allowed to continue, total Army end strength will decrease to 420,000 soldiers in 2018.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told lawmakers that at those levels, the Army would not be able to meet national security requirements.

Lawmakers were quick to comment on the cuts. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the planned reduction “a dangerous consequence of a budget driven-strategy.”

Odierno emphasized that the more problematic issue caused by the budget fights between Congress and the White House is the uncertainty for military planners, troops, and their families.

“This isn’t just about troops,” said Barron. “When you start talking about cuts like these, you’re disrupting local communities; you’re making dramatic changes to school systems.”

MOAA continues to push congressional leadership to end sequestration, but we need your help.

Send a  MOAA suggested message  urging your elected officials to repeal sequestration. 

 (Click on  MOAA suggested message here or above or go to Here is the Process: at the end of this Email to send messages to your Legislators. GF)

Issue 3. The Bottom Line – NEW CHIEFS ON THE BLOCK

July 10, 2015

By Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret)

Throughout my Air Force career, I had the luxury of being assigned to a new crew and having an experienced mentor to turn to. It’s always been nice to seek out someone with tenure, someone who has been around the block once or twice and can show you the ropes. But what happens when everyone on your team is as new as you?

The service chiefs are about to experience that predicament. Within a 12-month period, every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is going to complete his term, an occurrence not seen in over 30 years – and the turbulence they may face over the next year will be startling.

One job of the Joint Chiefs is to ensure personnel readiness and one of the first things the Joint Chiefs must address is increased pessimism within the ranks. A recent Military Times survey found that barely one in four surveyed said they believed their leadership had their best interests at heart. The same survey found 56 percent of those surveyed stated their quality of life is good or excellent – down from 91 percent in 2009.

It’s easy to see why morale is sinking. Sequestration has forced the military to take a disproportionate share of solving the nation’s budget problems. We’ve asked the services to kick out exceptional personnel and eroded troops’ pay and benefits, creating such an unstable environment where military families never know when the next shoe will drop.

Instead of planning for tomorrow’s battles today, sequestration forces the military to fight tomorrow’s battles with yesterday’s budget.

The new chiefs will be the first to experience how troops will respond to major retirement reform. The current military pension program is one of the key incentives to serve a full career in uniform. Will a 20 percent cut cause troops to vote with their feet?

How will the force of the future respond to the current Pentagon’s appropriately titled Force of the Future initiative? Will the prospect of relaxing some of rigidity that exists in the military foster retention, or will it leave troops wondering if the military offers anything different from jobs in corporate America? After all, if you could get the same experience in the civilian sector without the prospect of being shot at, would you stay in?

And, ultimately, the service chiefs will need to figure out how to structure the remaining force to face the next war. Will the next conflict be long, large, and protracted, or consist of small, tactical, and precise skirmishes?

How will the leaner military respond to asymmetrical warfare in disparate locations? How will it fare against cyber-attacks like the recent OPM data breach? Can a lean military project force to countries like China, North Korea, or any future enemy the United States may face? Will a military that’s already being cut to the bone be able to face a traditional enemy in combat?

(Click on OPM data breach here or above to see more detail GF)

Regardless of the threat, the remaining force will continue to go into harm’s way as long as the troops know that leadership has their back and their family’s interests at heart.

The Bottom Line: With the unstable environment we’re in, it’s critical that the service chiefs work on winning back the trust of troops and their families.

(Click on NEW CHIEFS ON THE BLOCK here or above and scroll down about half way at that screen and click on Please Sign in to comment on this page to leave a comment on this issue.GF)

Here is the Process:  If the steps below are new to some, I recommend that you review all of the steps and then you might want to copy this process by high lighting all of the steps below.  Then click on “File” at the top of your screen, select “Print“, then click on “Selection” at the next display and then hit “Print“; or print the selected portion as you usually do this kind of task.


  1. Click here onhttp://capwiz.com/moaa/issues/ or copy and paste it in your browser to put you at the  “Legislative Action Center” screen.
  2. Scroll downunder “Current Action Alerts” and click on Reject Military Pay and Benefits Cuts the first time through this process, and click on Ask Congress To End Sequestration Nowthe second time through the process
  3. At the next screen enter your Zip code if requested and/orhit “Go!” and/or scroll down to “Take Action”  and at “Compose Message” leave ‘Email‘ checked or check ‘Printed Letter‘  to send  Printed Letters instead of sending Emails if desired .
  4. If an  “Issue Area:”line appears just before the Editable Text: and doesn’t have an issue shown, click on the down arrow and select an issue; e. g., Military, Veterans Affairs, etc. (usually required on messages to our Senators)
  5. Scroll down to the  “Editable text” areaand edit/modify the text of the message if desired.
  6. Insert “Your Closing” (I show ‘Respectfully), and “Your Name” and fill in the rest of the mandatory {asterisked} SENDER INFORMATION. The “Phone”number is now required by some Legislators (it’s required if your Senator is from Arizona) .  Fill in the “Guest Type“, “Service“, “Rank“, “Component“, and “Status” if you want that information to show in your message (recommended).  You may be prompted to include a phone number if you try to send the message without entering your phone number. Don’t be concerned about entering a phone number. I haven’t  received return calls except on rare occasions to thank me for my interest in a particular piece of Legislation, at which time you can comment (pro or con) to the staff member on how the Senator stands on the issue.
  7. Check “Remember Me” (recommended) if you don’t want to have to re-enter all of your Sender Information the next time you send a message. You can always change your information or uncheck ‘Remember Me’ anytime in the future.
  8. Check ‘Yes‘ or ‘No‘ as to whether you want to have a copy of your letter sent to your Email Address (suggested at least for you initial efforts, and to see how your personal data is included in the message).
  9. Hit “Send Message”
  10. If Printed Letter was selected at Step 3 above, at the screen after hitting “Send Message” leave “Plain Paper Style” and “Word Processor (RTF)” checked unless you have another preference. Then left click on “Print Letter(s)” at the end of the “PRINT LETTER” screen. At the File Download” alert that appears next, click on “Open”. You can then edit and print or save the letter for editing, printing, signing and mailing.
  11. For Arizona residentsbecause of some current problems with contacting Sen Flake by Email,you will see after hitting “Send Message” at Step 9 above, that “Printed Letter” is the most readily observable option for getting your message to him. Step 10 above tells you how to do that..
  12. 12After completing the process for the first Action Item, return to Step 2above and repeat the process for the second Action Item:Ask Congress To End Sequestration Now





That’s it for today- Thanks for your help!