Updates to CA Guard recoupment controversy

 
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Updates to CA Guard recoupment controversy

Three stories that will update you on this swiftly moving story:

Congress knew for at least two years about Pentagon efforts to take back bonuses from veterans

The California National Guard told the state’s members of Congress two years ago that the Pentagon was trying to claw back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers, and even offered a proposal to mitigate the problem, but Congress took no action, according to a senior National Guard official.

The official added that improper bonuses had been paid to National Guard members in every state, raising the possibility that many more soldiers may owe large debts to the Pentagon.

“This is a national issue and affects all states,” Andreas Mueller, the chief of federal policy for the California Guard, wrote in an email to the state’s congressional delegation Monday. Attention had focused on California because it was “the only state that audited” bonus payments at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.

Next:

Pentagon seeks to waive troops' debt in California Guard bonus scandal

Top-level Pentagon officials are exploring ways to potentially waive the debts imposed upon more than 10,000 military reservists after the California National Guard sought to force the veterans to repay generous recruitment bonuses that were fraudulently awarded a decade ago. 

“This has the attention of our leadership, and we are looking at this to see what we can do to assist,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday. “We take doing right by our service members very seriously, and the senior leadership of this department is looking very closely at this matter.” 

And:

Lawmakers call California Guard bonus scandal 'disgraceful' and call for solutions

"It is disgraceful that the men and women who answered their country's call to duty following September 11 are now facing forced repayments of bonuses offered to them,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in a statement Sunday. 

“Our military heroes should not shoulder the burden of military recruiters' faults from over a decade ago. They should not owe for what was promised during a difficult time in our country.” 

Fellow California Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, called the news shocking and unacceptable. 

"I have reached out to both the California National Guard and the Pentagon for an explanation into this matter,” she said in a statement. “It is important that we address this issue immediately. Many veterans cannot afford to be billed by the country they gave years of their life to protect.” 



Posted in the burner | 10 comments
 
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I HAVE BEEN IN THE NATIONAL GUARD, THE ARMY RESERVES, AND THE REGULAR ARMY.
THE NG HAS ALWAYS BEEN TREATED LIKE A RED HEAD STEP CHILD. THE NGALWAYS DID A FAMTASTIC JOB WITH GREAT PEOPLE. IF THEY CANNOT WORTH THIS OUT LET KNOW ANF I WILL GLADLY SEND YOU $100.00 AND I AM SURE OTHERS WOULD BE GLAD TO CHIP IN EVEN THOUGH IT WOULD SHAME.

TANKS.

A very disturbing trend over the last 8 years of VA abuse, abandoning hard fought victories like OIF, depleted O&M budgets and now this flagrant slap in the face of our total force partners. Time to drain the swamp!

As a Vietnam Vet we did not receive the compensation they do today. However, the current compensations are still insufficient for what the troops are expected to do: face the enemy and take the risks up front. If some recruiter promised something they shouldn't have that is the military's fault along with the pressure to recruit. They should not have to pay the money back.

This was a DOD error and while they should be responible for the mistake let's not kid ourselves that those who received the bonus knew they were being overpaid but remained silent
Repayment should not be required but let's not in noir all of the facts

I saw on yesterday's news that a veteran who got bonuses had to repay some $40,000. No he did not know he was being paid something he should not. He understood that he met all the requirements for each bonus. He had to remortgage his house. If they decided that the DOD is to step down from going after everyone, then, to be fair, this man should be paid the money back that he sent back.

your president should issue an executive order absolving the soldiers of any wrong doing, pay them back and remove this blot from their credit!

What about hunting down the recruiters who did this in order to recruit the Guardsman? They need to be punished hard. Recruiters in the military have a long history of lying in order to make their quotas. Same old same old in the military I see.

A campaign promise of diverting retirement pay from members of congress and the senate to pay off the debt of the defenders of freedom would go a long way in 2016!

Hi everyone, This recoupment has been going on for years. In the 1990s when former President Clinton balanced the budget on the back of Department of Defense, they cut the Active Army from 790,000 to 480,000 soldiers. They paid troops to leave the service so they would not have to have the same RIF (reduction in force) they had after Vietnam. Many of those soldiers took the money and separated but they re-enlisted years later when the Army started to grow again in OIF and OEF. Those soldiers that met their 20 years of retirement are now having to pay back the separation bonuses they were given years ago. 40% of their retired pay is being recouped and no one knows where that money goes. At any rate the CA guard scandal is much larger than what it appears on the surface.

It is sad to see us give millions of dollars away to foreign countries to help their military programs before taking care of our own military. I feel for the reservist if they pay back the bonus. I elected to take the Voluntary Incentive Bonus in 1995 to leave the military during the time of downsizing and agreed to remain in the reserves for XXXXX dollars for 2x the active duty time I had accrued. For me I had 14 years of active duty so I would get the incentive for 28 years but would forfeit and repay the incentive if I later retired from active duty. In 2003 I was called back to active duty to support the war effort. I left my civilian job just like thousands of other reservist left theirs expecting to return a couple of years later. I was injured in Iraq in 2007 and was discharged in 2008. I had over 20 years of active military service at that time and was let go with a disability rating of 90% and unemployable. I had to start repaying my VSI back at the rate of 40% of my retirement. In addition I had the SBP withheld. As a retired 05 my retirement check should be around $4,200 is only $1,800 and I'm unable to get a job. What appeared to be a sweet deal was not so sweet in my favor and my brothers and sisters that are in the same situation I am. If I was still able to work the deal would had been in my favor. Unfortunately the contract was clearly wrote and I signed it and the Army is not budging on their stance I must repay the money.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.