U.S. Air Force Staff Sgts. Alexx and Chip Pons, who serve separate commands as photojournalists at Joint Base San Antonio, Randolph, Texas, stand united as a married, dual-military, same sex couple. Since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011 and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, the two have been able to serve openly with the support of their Air Force family.
The Senate has found a new way to save money, but this time it’s at a cost to military families — specifically those where both spouses are active duty service members.
A new proposal considered by the Senate Armed Services Committee last week would require that dual military couples receive basic allowance for housing (BAH) stipends at the “without dependents” rate, even if they have children. Because, these families currently receive two housing allowances, the Senate apparently believes they they don’t need the bonus housing cash that is given to military families who have children.
For many military families, this is an alarming proposal, but not a surprise. Fiscal year 2018 marks the third year in a row that the Senate has tried to cut basic housing allowances through the National Defense Authorization Act, according to Kelly Hruska, government relations director with the National Military Family Association.
“We don’t like it,” Hruska told Task & Purpose. “We haven’t liked it for the past three years.”
According to Military Times, the proposed plan would save roughly $300 million over the next five years. To put that number in perspective, a single F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft costs around $100 million, which makes the savings of $60 million a year hardly seems worth valuable financial assistance for thousands of families.
“This is the third time they’ve tried this, and the savings is just so minimal,” Hruska said.
The change would not immediately impact families, however. The end of the dependents bonus would come into play when families receive their next permanent change-of-station assignment, Military Times reports.
The Senate believes that the current BAH is too high, since the payout rates are typically higher than the cost of living in the areas where service members are stationed. But the Pentagon says BAH is a necessary part of military family compensation. The money, though distributed for housing, is not always used for rent or mortgage expenses — nor should it have to be, according to advocates.
“You’ve got both parents serving and you want to cut their housing allowance? To us, it’s just petty,” Hruska told Task & Purpose.”It’s ridiculous.”
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran atAssociated Materials. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Associated Materials Incorporated is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Associated Materials, a residential and commercial siding and window manufacturer based in Ohio, employs people from a variety of backgrounds. The company gives them an opportunity to work hard and grow within the organization. For Tim Betsinger, Elizabeth Dennis, and Tanika Carroll, all military veterans with wide-ranging experience, Associated Materials has provided a work environment similar to the military and a company culture that feels more like family than work.
President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."