In what some may consider a rather shady move to save money, the Pentagon has been restricting GI Bill benefits to certain Reservists and National Guard personnel who were deployed and served overseas. They were able to do this under a provision of Title 10 authority. Under the 12304b clause, reserve and guard personnel can be deployed without earning certain benefits, even though those personnel are accumulating active-duty service points.
It should be noted that every single reserve and guard component has been subjected to Title 10. New reports estimate that the number of personnel who have been negatively affected by its use is in the thousands – and that’s just for the last two years. The Army National Guard has itself deployed thousands of its members on orders that restrict the accrual of certain GI Bill benefits that those personnel would normally get during active duty service.
Since 2014, the Pentagon has relied on the Title 10 authorization over 4700 times. This includes new numbers from the Army National Guard that total 2,925 times. Some service members may have deployed more than once.
The Pentagon has used the authorization 4,705 times since 2014, according to data from each reserve component released to Stars and Stripes, including the new count of 2,925 from the Army Guard released Monday by the National Guard Bureau.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this dirty little deal is that most of those who are deployed have no idea that they will not be getting credit for their overseas duty. This surprise is happening to more and more service members who come back from a deployment only to find that they have not earned any credits that can go toward educational benefits. This denial of benefits is not rank-based; many officers are also finding that their benefits are non-existent too. Generally, information that personnel will not be getting what they thought they would get occurs during demobilization briefings. In other words, after they have done their duty and time.
This money-saving tactic has come under fire recently by a variety of people including lawmakers, advocacy groups and service members themselves. Of particular interest are the effects that are occurring in both pre- and post-deployment GI Bill benefits and health care benefits. Since September 11, 2001, close to one-million guard and reservists have been deployed, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Manpower Data Center.
It is important to remember that the Post-9/11 GI Bill is based on a sliding scale of active-duty service since Sept. 11, 2001. As active duty service increases, benefits for tuition and housing payments increase. Herein, lays the issue. According to the Washington-based advocacy group, Reserve Officers Association, this Title 10 authorization was requested by the Pentagon to scale back spending on benefits while, at the same time, maintaining deployment readiness.
Having found themselves a really good deal, the Pentagon’s 2017 budget calls for doubling reserve mobilizations. Some of this increased demand will be used to fight ISIS globally, and other uses will be to bolster European nations who are being bullied by Russian activities. What this means, in simple terms, is the use of 12304b is almost certain to increase in 2017.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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