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 [...]

DOD fears education could incite exodus

Tom Philpott Defense officials are alarmed by the very real prospect that Congress this year will enact the robust GI Bill education plan designed by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. One Defense official, who declined to be named, described the bill as a “retention killer” for the all-volunteer military. Webb reintroduced his bill, the Post-9/11 Veterans [...]

Bush seeking higher TRICARE fees

By Tom Philpott President’s Bush final defense budget, for fiscal 2009, asks a reluctant Congress for a third time to raise TRICARE co-payments on drugs dispensed at retail pharmacies and to increase TRICARE enrollment fees and deductibles for working-age military retirees and their families. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the [...]

Distributing retroactive pay complicated matter

By Tom Philpott: Guest Columist The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have worked out a plan for sharing the cost and the task of delivering about $500 million in back pay to more than 100,000 military retirees with VA-rated disabilities. The retroactive payments are owed to nearly half of all recipients of Combat-Related Special [...]

Numbers are clear, and in Cannon’s corner

Fittingly, the fate of Cannon Air Force Base started with numbers and they will greatly impact the outcome. The numbers are clearer now than they were last spring because we know more about the numbers behind our national defense leaders’ plan to close the base. Not all the numbers are pretty and many Air Force [...]

Cannon supporters unfazed by GAO report

By Marlena Hartz A report recently submitted to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission provides a peek into the 2005 Department of Defense BRAC process. The in-depth analysis, however, left local base supporters generally unfazed. Ret. Brig. Gen. Hanson Scott said the report, generated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, reflects information previously presented at [...]

Cannon supporters make their case

CNJ Staff Nine supporters of Cannon Air Force Base spent 90 minutes Friday trying to convince Base Realignment and Closure commissioners to remove Cannon from a proposed closure list. Most argued that Defense Department information was flawed and incomplete and emotions ran high with an audience of about 1,400 applauding the speakers on more than [...]