Proposed agency offers savings

Defense officials have asked Congress to approve a new governance structure for the military health care system that, like higher TRICARE fees, would help to curb what, for a decade, have been runaway medical costs, officials explained. The centerpiece of the plan is to elevate the TRICARE Management Activity to a more powerful Defense Health […]

Proposal touts pharmacy savings

The biggest knife for slicing TRICARE costs off future defense budgets is not new and higher enrollment fees or deductibles proposed for retirees and their families who use one of the military’s health insurance options of TRICARE Prime, Standard, Extra or, for the elderly, TRICARE for Life. Those phased increases, as detailed here last week, […]

New budget may call for fee hike

As defense budgets grew over the past decade, Congress shrugged off complaints of runaway military health costs and blocked every proposal from the Bush administration to raise TRICARE fees sharply on retirees. Defense budgets have stopped rising, however, and Defense officials today are sounding more confident that Congress will follow last October’s $5-a-month bump in […]

BAH rates increase

MCT illustration Christina Calloway The Department of Defense’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) given to service members living off base increased in 2012 and officials at Cannon Air Force Base public affairs say allowances are expected to increase every year based on the housing market. BAH is based on geographic duty location, pay grade, and […]

BAH rates increase

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Christina Calloway The Department of Defense’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) given to service members living off base increased at most pay grades

Missions reflect truth in defense cuts

W here’s the peace dividend? American troops now are mostly out of Iraq. And their numbers are declining in Afghanistan, with about a third of the 98,000 troops scheduled to come home by summer. Yet, defense spending is not declining despite tough budget times and a federal deficit of $1.3 trillion for fiscal year 2011-12. […]

Cuts coming out of defense budget

The “super committee” that Congress and President Obama created in August to make tough budget choices and slow America’s runaway debt has left military people confused and divided over whether to cheer for its success or pray for its failure as its Thanksgiving deadline nears. Success will be achieved if seven of 12 lawmakers on […]

Board’s radical plan criticized

The Defense Business Board’s proposal to shift the military to a cheaper “contributory” retirement plan is “radical” and was released publicly without due regard for the impact it would have on troop morale in wartime. That was the charge leveled last week by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., chairman of the House armed services’ subcommittee on […]

Defense leaders laud repeal, return of ‘equality’

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.: American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON — The official end today of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law reflects the American values that military members uphold, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today. “Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at […]

Don’t let government stop you

What is it you most would like to do if you had no onerous regulations and laws holding you back? What would you do with liberty? This is a question libertarian author and novelist L. Neil Smith has posed in the past. It is still one of the best ways to awaken to the potential […]

DoD focuses on school renovations

On orders from Congress, the Department of Defense is deciding how to spend a first appropriation — $250 million — to upgrade a set of public schools that are in disrepair or disturbingly overcrowded. The catch is that these schools, though part of local school districts, are on stateside bases and 94 percent of their […]

Cannon bid awarded

CNJ staff A bid was awarded for a C-130 parking apron at Cannon Air Force Base, and announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense. The $23.7 million contract was awarded to Sundt Construction of Tempe, Ariz. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Albuquerque received 11 bids through the Internet. The estimated date of completion […]

Wednesday morning briefing: Growth management, game of the week and a star dies

Good morning and welcome to the Freedom New Mexico Wednesday briefing. Meetings watch The Local Growth Management Committee meeting is 2 p.m. today at Portales City Hall. The agenda includes a closeout report on goals achieved from an initial planning grant. The committee includes various local public, private and Defense Department individuals to manage the […]

Shifting to revised index offers savings

Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week delivered his “last major policy speech” and, in it, suggested that politicians show courage in the fiscal crisis by making the military compensation system more efficient. Gates has the department preparing such a set of recommendations to be part of a $400 billion defense savings package over the next […]

Cannon offers self defense course

USAF: Tech. Sgt. Deidre E.E. Hines U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chuck East, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron, uses Raejean Toledo, base Shopette assistant shift manager, to demonstrate an effective arm-bar technique to another student during a self defense class on April 29 at Cannon. The class was offered during April in recognition of […]

Less incentives for troops this year

The fiscal 2012 defense budget taking shape in Congress could have the fewest significant initiatives for military personnel, retirees and their families in a generation. Blame the ballooning debt crisis, which has left Republicans and Democrats alike looking for ways to curb federal spending, including for defense. And credit a long list of pay and […]

Dairiconcepts up for Freedom Award

Freedom New Mexico Dairiconcepts of Portales is among three New Mexico employers selected as semifinalists for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve, according to a press release. […]

Rating system needs improvement

After a three-year effort by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to improve the process, ill and injured military members still endure a long, complex and often contentious evaluation system when seeking disability ratings and compensation for service-related health conditions. The process has been made more convenient and even shortened by an average six […]

Shaky defense costs Zias in opener; Javs sweep

By Dave Wagner: Freedom New Mexico Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team hung in for six innings against Texas A&M-Kingsville in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader. Then the Zias’ shaky infield defense caught up with them. The Javelinas, who came into the twin bill tied with ENMU for last place in the Lone Star […]

Budget delays harming readiness

Defense officials are shaking their heads in disbelief as congressional leaders continue to delay passing a wartime defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2011, which began last October. With the military spending bill now more than five months overdue, lawmakers last week passed a new stopgap “continuing resolution,” this “CR” to last two weeks, so […]