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Monday, March 23, 2009

Stop-Loss to be Stopped, Military Families to Get Pentagon Dover Travel Assist, Obama Nixes Private Insurance Provision of 2010 VA Budget

  • CNN | Pentagon to phase out unpopular 'stop-loss' program - "The military will phase out its "stop-loss" program, the contentious practice of holding troops beyond the end of their enlistments, for all but extraordinary situations, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday. Instead, the military will use incentives programs to encourage personnel to extend their service. Starting this month, the department will provide 'special compensation of $500 per month' to troops whose tour has been extended, Gates said. 'This special compensation will be applied retroactively to October 1, 2008, the date when Congress first made it available.'"

  • NTM Lede Blog | Pentagon Will Help Families Travel to Dover - "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today that the Pentagon would pay for families to travel to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware if they want to be present when the body or remains of a loved one is returned from war. Mr. Gates announced last month that the Pentagon was reversing its longstanding policy of barring media coverage during the repatriation of fallen soldiers at Dover. He said then, and reiterated today at a news conference, which the Pentagon's Web site streamed live, that the decision about media coverage would be up to each family."

  • Washington Post | Obama's Turnabout On Vets Highlights Budgeting Nuances - "The relatively small proposal -- third-party billing would have saved about $540 million, less than 1 percent of the overall VA budget -- was not even part of Obama's official [2010 VA] budget but quickly threatened to undermine Obama's credibility with veterans. Ultimately, however, Obama listened to the veterans ... 'When you do public policy behind closed doors, you throw a lot of things on a wall, and some things stick and some things don't stick,' said Bob Wallace, executive director of Veterans of Foreign Wars. 'I think the administration and the president handled this with class, bringing the veterans in to talk with them, listening to their positions and two days later the chief of staff saying, 'It's over.''"
Gates announcement on stop-losses and Dover travel assistance:

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