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Congress Takes Action to Modernize Military

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Washington, D.C.– Congress today completed action on bipartisan legislation that begins to overhaul the military’s personnel system, reducing hardships faced by service members and their families and increasing flexibility in the military career path.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate today following House approval last week, will have a long-lasting positive impact on the lives of the men and women in uniform and their families. The legislation includes several reforms recommended by BPC’s Task Force on Defense Personnel to address the inflexible career pathway for officers, including:

  • Allowing officers with particular merit to be promoted early
  • Repealing the antiquated requirement that officers must be able to complete 20 years of service before age 62 to enter the military
  • Allowing some reserve officers to remain in rank without pursuing promotion
  • Making the career intermission program permanent and department-wide

The legislation will also help support military families by increasing employment opportunities for military spouses, including granting them preference when applying for federal jobs, and supporting military child care services.

These are concrete steps toward attracting and keeping the sort of dedicated and talented Americans our military needs.

“These are concrete steps toward attracting and keeping the sort of dedicated and talented Americans our military needs to defend our nation against 21st century threats,” Blaise Misztal, BPC national security director, said.

“This legislation allows the military to think creatively about the different careers required in technical specialties like cybersecurity. It improves the day-to-day lives of our military service members and their families, keeping them from having to choose between serving their nation and taking care of their families,” Misztal said. “It is an important first step toward attracting and retaining the best and brightest for our volunteer force.”

Modernizing the military’s personnel system was the focus of recommendations from BPC’s Task Force on Defense Personnel co-chaired by retired General Jim Jones, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet, and former Sen. Jim Talent.

KEYWORDS: BLAISE MISZTAL, JIM JONES, JIM TALENT, KATHY ROTH-DOUQUET, LEON PANETTA, TASK FORCE ON DEFENSE PERSONNEL