Military pay raise becomes law

Defense Department file photo

President Obama on Wednesday signed into law the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a 1.7 percent pay raise for service members and a provision directing the Pentagon to reduce its civilian and contractor workforces.

The White House previously threatened a veto on the measure because of several provisions, including one directing the department to shrink its workforce and lawmakers’ rejection of Obama administration proposals to increase certain TRICARE fees.

Obama released a statement on Tuesday saying that even though he opposed certain parts of the legislation, “the need to renew critical defense authorities and funding was too great to ignore.”

The president alluded to his disappointment over Congress’ unwillingness to go along with his TRICARE recommendations, setting the stage for more debate over the issue this year. “The [Defense] Department has endeavored to constrain manpower costs by recommending prudent cost sharing reforms in its health care programs,” he said in the statement. “By failing to allow some of these cost savings measures, the Congress may force reductions in the overall size of our military forces.”

The legislation contains several provisions related to military pay and benefits. It authorizes the pay raise for service members in 2013, and rejects an Obama administration proposal calling for higher fees on pharmacy drug co-payments under TRICARE. Specifically, the bill caps pharmacy co-pays beginning in 2014 so that such fees are in line with the annual retiree cost-of-living adjustment. The costs associated with the fee increases would be offset by a five-year pilot program requiring TRICARE for Life recipients to obtain maintenance drug refills through the mail, which is cheaper than obtaining them through retail pharmacies.

A provision that directs the Pentagon to shed thousands of civilian and contractor jobs through fiscal 2017 also is part of the law. It directs the Defense secretary to rebalance and reduce the civilian and contractor workforces from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2017 by a rate that is at least equal to the percentage of funding saved from planned troop reductions, or 5 percent. The bill also gives the Defense Department discretion over whether to exempt certain mission-critical jobs, including medical services and maintenance of military equipment, from the cuts. The provision means the department could eliminate up to 36,000 jobs during the next few years.

The law also establishes a commission to review military compensation and retirement benefits, enhances suicide prevention and sexual assault prevention programs in the military, and authorizes the department to pay for abortions in cases of rape and incest.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.