SASC Addresses Personnel Costs in NDAA Mark

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the Fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, which was approved last week, makes “hard choices necessary to preserve our military readiness and uphold our obligations to our men and women in uniform and their families.” While the mark reverses several recommendations in the Pentagon’s proposed budget, the Senate gave in to some of the requests from the services with regards to pay and benefits reforms. SASC’s mark includes a one percent military pay raise—rather than 1.8 percent—allows DOD to increase base allowance for housing below the rate of inflation, and authorizes the increase of TRICARE pharmacy copays outside of military facilities. Inclusion of these provisions are “undesirable but necessary” to address readiness and modernization deficits, Levin said in a statement. The SASC mark does not, however, authorize a proposed reorganization of TRICARE, or a cut to the commissary subsidy. (See also Joint Chiefs Unite for Pay Compensation Reform.)