A 2.4 percent pay raise for the military has been backed by negotiators from the Senate and House for fiscal 2018. This is expected to boost the end strength of over 20,000 troops, and fund weapon systems ranging from ground vehicles to ships to aircraft. The pay raise proposed would approximately equal the private sectors wage growth, and the biggest the military has seen since 2010.
The proposal by the Senate to reduce the money received by dual military couples with kids has been scrapped. Married members of the military currently receive their own allotment for housing. For couples with children, one can collect the rate for dependents or the BAH. The other receives the rate for no dependents. The proposal from the Senate wants both spouses to receive rates for no dependents. This would have decreased affected couples approximately $100 to $600 every month. The negotiated bill allows the spouse with the higher ranking to receive the rate for dependents.
The proposed increase for the military encompasses the end strength for 20,300 individuals. This includes 1,400 of the National Guard, 16,600 of the individuals on active duty, and 2,300 of the Reserves. According to the figures of the Defense Department, this would increase the end strength of the component from roughly 1.34 million to approximately 1.36 million. The end strength of the Senate and House would include 500 Guard, 7,500 active duty and 500 Reserves regarding the army, 1,000 reserves and 4,000 active duty for the Navy, 1,000 active duty regarding the Marines, and 800 reserves, 900 guards and 4,100 active duty for the Air Force.
The proposed defense budget is expected to run $699.6 billion for fiscal 2018. This includes the war budget for Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and additional locations as a part of the Overseas Contingency Operations. This is a significant increase over the request from Trump for OCO funding of $65 billion and a base of $603 billion. The proposed increase requires 60 Senate votes and funding for 24 F/A-18 Super Hornet jets and 90 F-35 Joint Strikes.
The proposed budget for the defense has been approved by the conference committee. It is now headed to the Senate and House floors for a vote. It is possible a vote in the lower chamber will arrive as quickly as the beginning of next week. Congress will then determine how the budget will be funded and must work against the Continuing Resolution set to expire on December 8th.
Health care has long been a source of contention for veterans. For their service, they are thanked with limited and unaccommodating health care. As the daughter-in-law of a 67-year-old Marine who served in Vietnam, this is an issue I experience frequently and I feel strongly about. The quality of care and attention that veterans receive is sorely lacking, so I am glad to say that as of November 7th, 2017, H.R. 918 – Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act has been passed.
This legislation states that veterans of the armed forces will receive proper initial and follow-up mental health care, including any services required for their urgent mental health needs, regardless of the circumstances of their discharge. This means that even if a veteran was dishonorably discharged, they can still receive the mental health care they need through Veteran Affairs channels, so they can get all the care they need to cope with the invisible wounds of war and be functioning members of society. Also incorporated into the H.R. 918 legislation is the guarantee that the VA will seek to provide the necessary mental health services outside of their own facilities if the required travel distance is not viable.
Again, all of this is regardless of the nature of the veteran’s discharge, which leads to another benefit of the Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act. The legislation also requires a formal review of a veteran’s service, leading to a closer look at the nature of their discharge and their eligibility for VA benefits. This is a step in the right direction, but there is still more work to do to properly care for our veterans, who have fought for our freedoms.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of veterans who are denied the care they need by the VA or are forced to wait long periods of time for the treatment they deserve. This is not solely the fault of the VA, as their facilities are overrun with patients, understaffed and underfunded. We, as the people that our veterans have fought for, need to stand up for them and get them the care they deserve. Part of that is bolstering the very facilities and benefits they depend on. The H.R.918 – Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act is a step in the right direction, and this trend must be continued.
According to the recent polls by The Military Times Poll, those in the military are more likely to support President Trump. The polls showed that 44% of the troops have a positive and favorable view of president Trump compared to the other 40% who had an unfavorable view of all military genders and ethnicity. However, the views shifted according to the service members, for the officers only 30% had a favorable option compared to the enlisted troops where more than 48% of members approved the commander-in-chief. The polls revealed that around 53% of the military officers have a critical view. But comparing military men and women only 32% of women would support Trump compared to 47% of men, and when it comes to white against non- white’s troops, 51% of non-whites were unfavorably against Trump and only 37% of white soldiers were in favor.
The polls also showed that the president was loved and favored among marine’s troops with 59% indicating their positive views while he was the least favorite of the sailor’s forces with 49% showing unfavorable opinions. The results were conducted to more than one thousand soldiers actively on duty around September 7th to 25th. And done before the controversy of the Gold Star families and Trump over how the president handled their phones calls. The dispute includes the widow of the Niger Mission soldier who died during the operation, and since then the military troops seem to change their tune.
Notably, according to the Military Times, President Trump favorability has not shifted much since the last polls conducted in late 2016 after he became the president. During those elections, only 46% of the military troops had a favorable view of the president-elect while around 37% had an unfavorable view.
Since becoming the president, the Trump administration has reviewed the military policies and increased the military spending. However, the push to ban transgender from serving on the troops seemed unacceptable by most military members. But appoint of Defense Secretary James Mattis was widely received and appreciated by more than 84% from the military forces across all disciplines. The Military Times states that the conducted polls are scientific and the findings based on the confidential online survey which is voluntary and open for completion by any U.S Service member. Additionally, all the questions focused on national security issues and how Trump conducts the country affairs in the White House.
It is not difficult to help a vet conquer their tobacco addiction. A physical retailer should simply stock Upside E-Liquids and Bottle Ready to Vape Liquids. 100 percent of the wholesale profits earned from these sales are used to pay for warehouse space, fund kit purchases, and cover support and outreach with a donation to the Vape a Vet Project.
Juice manufacturers have the option of making special flavors and using the logo. This provides donations for part of the sales of that specific flavor to the Vape a Vet Project. This is an incredible way of showing vapers you believe in and support their cause.
Mod Makers and Juice Manufacturers can make donations to the care packages sent every month. Approximately 800 care packages are separated, packaged and distributed to soldiers worldwide every month. The hardware requested is gen(ish), meaning no cigalikes, cartos, etc. The 3mg juice is always needed because the current requests far exceed what has been donated. There are already a ton of donated 0mg and higher nic. All the donated items must be unopened, new and not expired. E-juice is similar to food because nobody would even consider donating a hamburger that was half-eaten. Information regarding donating products is always available.
Online retailers should think about making a coupon code, and matching it with a donation. A good code suggestion is VAPEAVET, and a customer can receive a five percent discount off an order with a matching donation of five percent. This provides customers with a chance to save some cash while doing a little something for the vets.
Vapers can easily support this important project by giving their support to BRV Liquids. This is one of Vape a Vet’s main funding sources. People can support this project simply by continuing what they are already doing. Since people are already vaping, it makes sense to save money, do a bit more, and vape for a cause.
A good idea is to talk with the local retailers, explain about Vape a Vet, and find out why they have not become involved. Explain how important the cause is and provide encouragement for them to pledge their support.
It is so easy to spread the word. Many people have friends or family currently serving or who have previously served. A lot of these people are using tobacco and would be delighted with the opportunity to provide a chance for vaping without any personal cost.