AFSA HQ Newsletter – May 8th

This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES AND USAF RELATED NEWS 

House FY 2013 Defense Authorization Measure

House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Representative “Buck McKeon (R-CA) on Monday released preliminary details on the FY 2013 Defense Appropriations Bill the Committee will finalize tomorrow.  As AFSA predicted, the HASC will retain language recently approved by the Personnel Subcommittee that prevents increases in annual TRICARE Prime premiums above those prescribed in current statutes and block the Administration’s call to establish new fees for TRICARE Standard/Extra and TRICARE for Life.  Additionally, because current law allows DoD to raise pharmacy co-payment amounts at any time without congressional approval, the Committee will include language that caps future increases in pharmacy co-payments to the percent cost of living increase in retirement pay. 

In his press release McKeon said, “I am proud of the bi-partisan way the Committee has worked together to build this bill.  It rebuilds a force strained by ten years of war while restoring both fiscal and strategic sanity to the defense budget.  It keeps faith with our troops and their families while keeping America ready to face the threats of the future.” 

Again, the draft bill is scheduled to be considered on Wednesday and additional changes (amendments) are possible during the Committee’s hearing.  We will provide a complete synopsis of their actions and the bill in our next issue of On Call.

Key Funding Bills Advancing in House

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee unveiled two key military- and veterans funding measures the Committee will be working on this week. 

A draft FY 2013 Defense Appropriations bill provides $519.2 billion in non-war funding, an increase of $1.1 billion over the fiscal year 2012 level and $3.1 billion above the President’s request.  In addition, it contains $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for Defense activities related to the Global War on Terror. 

Their draft FY 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill which provides $10.6 billion for military construction projects (a decrease of $2.4 billion below last year’s level) and $135.4 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  It also contains $54.5 billion in advance fiscal year 2014 funding for the VA and $174 million for theArlingtonNationalCemetery, an increase of $128 million over last year’s level.  Within the total, $84 million is provided for the Millennium Project, and $19 million is included for planning and design of the Navy Annex Expansion. 

Like the NDAA, both bills are subject to change during Subcommittee and full Committee mark ups, as well as when the bill comes to the House floor for final action.  We will monitor these bills as they make their way through the legislative process and provide updates on developments of interest. 

Joint Strike Fighter Drawing Fire

In a number of media outlets, the USAF’s F-35 seems to be at the center of the cross-hairs.  There is talk about expediting sales to foreign states likeIsraeland on the other end of the spectrum;Australiais talking about a 2 year delay in its order for 12 of the aircraft.  There have also been the inevitable comparisons to the F-22, primarily focusing on capabilities on what should serve as the backbone ofAmerica’s future air fleet.  Given the financial implications for both the DoD and defense contractor Lockheed Martin, it will be interesting to see how this key program plays out in a fiscally constrained environment.

General Elections

We are now less than six months from the general election determining who gets to serve as POTUS for the next 4 years.  Arguably more important is the number of seats up for grabs in the Senate—33 to be exact—which could swing the way business is done on Capitol Hill regardless of who is chosen as president in November. 

Redistricting Winding Down

There are still approximately 15 states that have yet to finalize their congressional districts.  Redistricting is the process of drawingUnited Stateselectoral district boundaries, often in response to population changes as identified by census.  Each state has its own standards for creating congressional and legislative districts.  Once all states have finalized their districts the electoral “battle lines” can be drawn for who appears on the ballot and for whom they represent. 

Register to Vote

There are a number of ways to ensure you can cast your ballot.  For our Active Duty folks it usually is easiest to hit up the Voting Assistance Officer for your base, especially for those members in forward locations.  Another way might be to contact your Legislative Trustee for your local AFSA Chapter; if your Chapter doesn’t have a formal voting program this person should be able to point you in the right direction.  Of course you can also search the Internet but we would caution you to read everything you’re clicking on and to be cautious with regard to your personal information.  In the end, regardless of method, registering to vote is one of the single most important things you can do as aUSCitizen.  Don’t wait until the last minute to do so. 

VETERANS NEWS 

Vet Centers

Vet Centers offer returning Veterans an alternative to bustling VA hospitals.  Located within the community, these centers offer counseling, substance abuse and employment assessment, and resources for family members. In many cases, the counselors are fellow Vets themselves. Learn more at www.vetcenter.va.gov

Easier Way to Order a Medallion

VA furnishes upon request and at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.  Recently, the National Cemetery Administration introduced a new application to request a medallion—making it easier for the public to order.  The medallion is affixed to an existing headstone or marker to signify the deceased’s status as a Veteran.  Learn more about headstones and markers here

HEALTHCARE 

Looking for a doctor that takes TRICARE?

Your primary care manager (PCM) or regional contractor is your best resource for finding the right doctor. Click here for some more tips to help you out with your search. 

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month continues through May.  Check out the TRICAREMentalHealthResource Center for important contact information and links to programs that could help you or someone you know.

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS 

Dell Computers

Dell offers exclusive discounts and promotions for AFSA Members on notebooks, mini laptops, work stations and much more.  Check by logging on here

AFSA Insurance – Life & Health

For information and applications on any of these insurance plans please contact Marsh Affinity Group Servicestoll-free at (800) 882-5541, or online HERE.  Please note; coverage may vary or not be issued in all States. 

  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Plan
  • Cancer Expense Insurance
  • Group Dental Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Short-Term Recovery Insurance Plan
  • TRICARE Supplement Insurance
  • Life Line Health Screenings

AFSA 2012 Professional Airman’s Conference

AFSA hosted PAC registration is now available on the web for theJacksonville,Florida, events, August 11-15.  You are encouraged to sign up early and make your Hyatt Regency room reservation at the AFSA special rate while that special is available. Additionally, why not advertise your Division or Chapter in the PAC magazine?  Contact AFSA Marketing for details. 

Advertising with AFSA

To advertise with AFSA, contact: AFSA Marketing at (301) 899-3500 ext. 242 or 244, e-mail: marketing@hqafsa.org

WORTH REPEATING 

“As a nation, we’re facing tough choices as we put our fiscal house in order. But I want to be absolutely clear — we cannot, and we must not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans. And as commander in chief, I won’t allow it,” 

President Barack Obama; August 30, 2011 

We want to hear your thoughts and opinions.  What’s your top 10 list for AFSA?  

Go ahead send it.  Don’t be bashful.   Click HERE to send.


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This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

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