Dear Congressman or Senator,
Section 616 of HR 1540 “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012” is both offensive and absurd.
SEC. 616. MODIFICATION OF QUALIFYING PERIOD FOR PAYMENT OF HOSTILE FIRE AND IMMINENT DANGER SPECIAL PAY AND HAZARDOUS DUTY SPECIAL PAY.
(a) HOSTILE FIRE AND IMMINENT DANGER PAY.—Section 310 of title 37, United States Code, is amended—
(1) in subsection (a), by striking ‘‘for any month or portion of a month’’ and inserting ‘‘for any day or portion of a day’’;
(b) SPECIAL PAY AMOUNT.—(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amount of special pay authorized by subsection (a) for qualifying service during a day or portion of a day shall be the amount equal to 1/30th of the maximum monthly amount of special pay payable to a member as specified in paragraph (3).
(2) In the case of a member who is exposed to hostile fire or a hostile mine explosion event in or for a day or portion of a day, the Secretary concerned may, at the election of the Secretary, pay the member special pay under subsection (a) for such service in an amount not to exceed the maximum monthly amount of special pay payable to a member as specified in paragraph (3)
Are you kidding?
Your big plan to cut spending is to decide that living with the imminent danger of being injured or killed isn’t hazardous to our deployed soldiers’ health?
Do you realize that the combat bonus for deployed Soldiers was only $225 a month before this cut?
That isn’t much. But given how small their paychecks are anyway, it means a lot to the families who, by the way, do incur extra expenses when their Soldiers are deployed.
(Try sending a care package to a Soldier in Afghanistan. It isn’t cheap.)
Now, thanks to you people, the families of currently (and soon-to-be) deployed Soldiers are looking at a sudden, unannounced and dramatic drop in the size of their paychecks.
But the way this rule is written, no matter how bad their finances may get, nobody at home is going to want to find extra money in those pay packets.
You probably don’t realize this, but Soldiers don’t TELL their families at home about the dangers they face. IT MAKES US WORRY MORE.
Now, thanks to you, at-home spouses will be able to easily calculate, at $7.50 per day, how many times their loved ones almost got injured or dead.
Oh yeah. That’s really going to boost morale.
Did anyone in Congress give a moment’s thought to the absurd amount of extra book-keeping this offensive regulation will require? Before this, the checks got cut the same for each month.
Now, people who are close enough to the action to know what individual Soldiers are doing on a day-to-day basis will have to be assigned to calculate how many hazard days each Soldier qualified for each month and submit those numbers to the payroll people back home.
And the number of those payroll people back home will no doubt have to be increased substantially in order to handle the mountain of extra work involved in individually calculating and cutting tens of thousands of paychecks whose amounts will now vary month to month.
Oh yeah. That’s really going to save money.
We are currently enduring our seventh and eighth kids-in-a-war-zone experience. One of our uniformed offspring was nearly vaporized by an enormous Vehicle-Borne IED. Only the rapid response by our guys to the truck’s erratic behavior saved hundreds of lives.
But the way we read these new regs, our kid and the rest of the Soldiers who were there that day would not qualify for even one day of danger pay for this incident, because there was no HOSTILE fire.
The only bullets flying were the ones that stopped the truck and forced the driver out before he could arm the bomb.
That truck contained SEVEN TIMES the amount of explosives Timothy McVeigh used. We were so shook up when we learned about this event that we couldn’t even speak for three days.
What an insult that such a traumatic event does not even qualify for a measly $7.50 hazard pay under this new regulation. Is this part of that compassion and respect for our vets that President Obama enjoins on us?
Speaking of the Commander-in-Chief, we notice he and his “I’m all about military family support” wife recently returned from yet another multi-million dollar vacation.
Funny how we didn’t hear her raise any concern about how this new regulation would impact military families. Maybe she was too busy working out every morning so she could do faux push-ups on television with Ellen DeGeneres.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party leadership in Congress is flatly refusing to bring any bills before the Senate that would limit non-military federal spending in any way.
Polite words fail us.
The full text of H.R. 1540 is available @