5535 Hempstead Way • Springfield, VA 22151-4094 email@example.com -- www.naus.org Tel: 703-750-1342 • Toll Free: 1-800-842-3451 Fax: 703-354-4380 “The Servicemember’s Voice in Government” Established 1968
December 20, 2013 The President The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr President, I write as the President and CEO of the National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS). As such I also speak for the members of our affiliates, the Society of Military Widows (SMW), the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees (USDR) and the American Merchant Marine Veterans (AMMV). I write to ask that you correct an egregious wrong. We ask that you please do not sign the budget bill, passed by Congress and currently on its way to your desk. The bill includes a 1% cut on military retiree COLA until these veterans reach the age of 62. We ask that you please exercise the leadership necessary to correct this congressional misstep and not sign the bill until it is fixed. Mr. President, you have pledged that Americans “will never forget” the sacrifices made by the country’s military veterans, and promised that your administration would continue pushing for the resources necessary to support the brave men and women now home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You have said many times of veterans that the country will take care of them as they have taken care of us. Now is the time for you to act to ensure that the nation lives by your words. The authors of this bill have said it is okay to take away part of the promised military retirement benefit since military retirees can find other jobs after they retire. This misses the point entirely. I spent eleven of my thirty-three years in the Marine Corps in recruiting and manpower. I will tell you, there were promises made – moral contracts agreed to. These retirees and those who are currently serving have lived up to their end of the contract. Changing the backend of that contract after the front end has been performed/delivered is reprehensible. It needs to be fixed. Second, this benefit is an important recruitment and retention tool that has helped over the years to successfully build and maintain the magnificent military that is currently out there protecting our nation. To those who joined the “All Volunteer Force,” the promise of retirement after a military career became an essential part of an overall compensation package that enabled the military to compete effectively in the manpower market place with civilian corporations for quality personnel.
If our political leaders want to change the promised package for future enlistees, let’s have that discussion. Let’s talk about the probable impact on recruiting and retention and upon the quality of the force, but let’s not penalize those who have served and are currently serving. Walter Pincus authored an article in the December 17 edition of the Washington Post reflecting the attitude of many who support this measure. In essence Pincus said, “Well, the war is over. We don’t need them anymore. We don’t need to honor the promises we made when we recruited them, so to heck with the troops.” Pincus suggests its okay for the nation to renege on the promises made to the men and women who fought our most recent wars, the longest in our national history. My response – The men and women impacted are those who fought and won Desert Shield/Desert Storm; who led and bled in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for more than 12 years; the men and women who accomplished the mission assigned them and whose leadership cared for their troops in the process. Many of these American heroes suffer from PTSD, blindness, terrible burns, traumatic brain injury and other war induced disabilities. It is unconscionable that given a $550 Billion annual defense budget and a $3.5 Trillion annual federal budget, the only way that the Budget Agreement could come up with an additional $6.3 Billion in savings over ten years was to go after the military retirees; those who have already served and sacrificed far more than any other citizen. This proposal is not just a slap in the face to those who have served and sacrificed, it is an obnoxious insult and a national disgrace. There is an estimated $70-$90 Billion in fraud and abuse each year in the Medicare and Medicaid programs alone. Reducing that loss by only 10% in one year would provide ten times the savings projected by this assault on an earned benefit. Let’s go after the crooks before we attack those who have selflessly served. This is just one area where the $6.3 Billion can be obtained. I ask again that you correct this injustice. Most Respectfully,
JACK KLIMP. Lieutenant General, US Marine Corps, Retired President and Chief Executive Officer National Association for Uniformed Services 5535 Hempstead Way Springfield VA 22151 (703) 750-1342 ext 1000