*Legislative Update 14 August 2015: Pay Raise in Jeopardy

We have 1 Action Item today at Issue 1 below



Summary of Issues

At Issue 1. we see PAY RAISE IN JEOPARDYWhite House threat means active duty could see third straight year of pay caps. With time running out, we need your help. (See Issue 1 below for the details and to send messages to your Legislators. GF) 

At Issue 2. we see HOW YOU GET YOUR MEDICINE IS ABOUT TO CHANGEAre you ready? TRICARE’s mail order pharmacy mandate begins in October. (See Issue 2 below for the details. GF) 

At Issue 3. we see WHEN UNIFORM ISN’T UNIFORMNew bonuses and pay structures could mean a very different military. As DoD seeks to attract millennials, it looks to change how troops are paid. (See Issue 3 below for the details. GF)

At Issue 4. we see. 2015 ANNUAL MEETING. Join MOAA at the association’s 2015 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 29-31. Events include a military- and spouse-friend career fair, the Community Heroes Award Night, and lunch with the chairman. Register today! (Click on  2015 ANNUAL MEETING here or above 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




August 14, 2015

Before leaving for the August recess, Congress failed to complete its annual defense bill. One of the sticking points holding up lawmakers is whether or not to cap the active duty pay raise.

Active duty pay raises are designed to keep pay comparable and competitive with wage growth in the private sector. Pay raises for the active force are based on the Employment Cost Index (ECI), a metric calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that measures private sector wage growth.

Earlier this year, House lawmakers agreed to authorize a full active duty pay raise of 2.3 percent. Senate lawmakers, however, want to cap the pay raise at 1.3 percent.

“Annually raising active duty pay at the same pace as the private sector is essential to sustain a quality force – and maintain readiness – over the long term,” said MOAA’s Director of Government Relations, Col Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret).

The president has already agreed with the Senate’s position on the pay cap. If it goes through, this would be the third year of pay caps below private sector wage growth. It would continue a troubling trend of eroding pay and benefits for servicemembers and their families.

Shortly before Congress left town for the August recess, lawmakers rubber-stamped a COLA increase for disabled veterans and military survivors.

“It makes no sense for Congress to adhere to one set of laws for our veterans, but fail to follow the same logic for active duty troops,” said Hayden.

The president has until the end of the month to notify Congress if he intends to cap pay. Time is running out.

Act now!  Send a MOAA-suggested message  asking Congress to support a 2.3% raise that keeps military pay on pace with private sector wage growth.

(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)




August 14, 2015

TRICARE beneficiaries will be required to refill select maintenance medications through TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or at a military pharmacy – or pay the full price at retail – beginning Oct. 1.

This provision was originally tested through a pilot program from the FY13 defense bill, which mandated TRICARE for Life beneficiaries into the above requirements.

The FY15 defense bill expanded the pilot to encompass all TRICARE beneficiaries, with the exception of those on active duty, those with other health insurance that provide drug coverage, or those who live overseas. While active duty servicemembers are exempt from the mandate, active duty family members will be required to participate in the program.

In September, beneficiaries will receive a notification letter from TRICARE providing details on enrollment instructions and the waiver process.

Beneficiaries can still get short-term or “acute” drugs from retail pharmacies like antibiotics and pain medications. The new mandate only applies to select maintenance medications, many of which are brand name.

Unlike the original pilot, there will be no ability to “opt out” of the program after one year.

Starting Oct. 1, beneficiaries will have approximately 90 days to move their prescriptions before being responsible for 100 percent of the cost share.

For years, MOAA has said that home delivery is a low cost, safe, and convenient option for beneficiaries to fill their maintenance drugs and save money.

“Switching to TRICARE’s home delivery saves the government on average 32% on brand name drugs filled through the mail order,” said Capt Kathy Beasley, USN (Ret), MOAA’s Deputy Director of Government Relations. “This is another example of


August 14, 2015

The Pentagon is leading a review of the military personnel system that could result in big changes to career tracks and promotion opportunities for troops.

The details of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s Force of the Future initiative are due to lawmakers at the end of August. Expected in the report are big changes to pay tables, bonus systems, promotion tracks, and professional development opportunities.

Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson said the intent is to create a system attractive for millennials and, as the Military Times puts it, “promotes talent rather than seniority.”

For military officers, this could mean big changes to the “up or out” promotion system to which they are accustomed.

One of the proposals the report is expected to include is dual-track opportunities where troops can remain in specialized fields or take on more leadership roles.

The study will recommend giving defense planners more flexibility in terms of promotions. Qualified candidates may become eligible for promotion ahead of time-in-grade requirements, while satisfactorily performing troops may be given leeway to stay in their current assignments.

“A more flexible compensation system is essential to 21st-century talent management,” said Carson.

Any changes to personnel requirements will likely require amending two important pieces of legislation: Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) and the Goldwater-Nichols Act. DOPMA helped establish uniform structure and requirements across the services and set ceilings on the number of field grade officers for each service. The Goldwater-Nichols Act requires military leaders to take joint command assignments to qualify for promotion.

“There could be merit in some of these proposals,” said MOAA’s Deputy Director of Government Relations, Col Mike Barron, USA (Ret). “But all of these recommendations will need to take unit cohesion into account.”

The Force of the Future recommendations will likely be part of next year’s defense budget request.

With the limited time DoD senior leadership will have to review the proposals, coupled with what’s shaping up to be a contentious election year, the likelihood of any sweeping reforms remains to be seen.

MOAA will continue to update its membership as this story develops.


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 Don’t Cut the Troops’ Pay Raise
  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..





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