Quality of Life Recommendations

Recommendation 9: Protect both access to and savings at DoD commissaries and exchanges by consolidating these activities into a single defense resale organization.

We appreciate the commission’s focus on finding efficiencies and cost savings to sustain commissary and exchange benefits. MOAA supports improving the viability and stability of these systems in order to protect these benefits. However, MOAA has historically opposed consolidation because there has been no proposal that preserved the level of savings and revenue stream for the military readiness, morale, welfare and recreation program (MWR). Any proposal to change the existing structure must secure benefits at their current levels. This proposal leaves us unconvinced that these benefits will be secure.   

The proposed recommendation needs to be thoroughly vetted to safeguard these cherished benefits used by 90 percent of the military community. The commissary and exchange systems consistently rank as one of the most valued earned benefits, providing needed savings and employment for military families and veterans.   

We recommend the commission’s proposal be evaluated against the FY 2015 congressionally mandated review of commissary and exchange systems.  

MOAA Position – MOAA does not support this recommendation.       

Recommendation 10: Improve access  to child care on military installations by ensuring the DoD has the information and budgeting tools to provide child care within 90 days of need.

We support the commission’s proposal and are grateful for recognizing the importance of child care for military families. We believe DoD should use this opportunity for collecting data to find a way forward that determines the prioritization of military families on the waiting list.  

If implemented, DoD needs to continue to pursue innovative solutions to meet this need beyond building more brick and mortar installation child development centers (CDCs). Other issues for consideration when addressing the challenges of finding and securing affordable child care include: wait list prioritization and realignment of existing programs to meet the garrison-based force (24 hour and weekend care for duty, 7 day a week operation, extended day options).  

MOAA Position – MOAA supports the recommendation.   

Recommendation 11: Safeguard education benefits for service members by reducing redundancy and ensuring the fiscal sustainability of education programs  

We generally support much of the recommendation, including closing the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty and the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP). MOAA has long supported the Post-9/11 GI Bill as the educational platform for recruitment, retention and re-adjustment purposes.    

Service members who have signed Post 9/11 GI Bill contracts, including transferability under the current rules, should be grandfathered (i.e., no additional active duty service commitment required). We strongly oppose eliminating the housing stipend payments on transfer contracts in place as of June 30, 2017 and oppose canceling unemployment compensation for student veterans using new GI Bill. Academic and training breaks may leave veterans with dependents with no capability to make ends meet.  

Although the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Active Duty buy-in of $1,200 may be refunded under current rules, it’s cumbersome and needs to be simplified. Also, DoD needs to clarify the participation rules for military tuition assistance (TA) for professional development and career retention purposes.  

Consistent with the recommendation to eliminate education program redundancy, the MGIB-Selected Reserve should be re-codified from Title 10 to Title 38. MCRMC offered no advice on the MGIB-SelRes.  

MOAA Position – MOAA supports much of the recommendation.     

Recommendation 12: Better prepare service members for transition to civilian life by expanding education and granting states more flexibility to administer the Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program  

We generally support the recommendation with two caveats: Mandatory participation in Transition GPS and similar programs should occur at key milestones throughout a service member’s career (i.e., upon second enlistment, at ten-year mark, within two years of retirement, and should not be just a one-time event) and additional accommodations should be made for families.  

MOAA Position – MOAA supports the recommendation  

Recommendation 13: Ensure Service members receive financial assistance to cover nutritional needs by providing them cost-effective supplemental benefits  

This proposal will help more families in need of nutritional and financial support and helps shine light on the SNAP program and WIC overseas – essential programs for military families who rely on a viable commissary benefit. Financial education is critically important and further data collection is needed.   

MOAA Position – MOAA supports the recommendation.     

Recommendation 14: Expand Space-Available travel to more dependents of Service members by allowing travel by dependents of service members deployed for 30 days or more  

MOAA Position – MOAA supports the recommendation.  

Recommendation 15: Measure how the challenges of military life affect children’s school work by implementing a national military dependent student identifier   

Presently, there is no nationwide data on educational performance and attendance of military dependents. Implementing a way to track military dependent students is important when considering the unique needs of military families.  

MOAA Position – MOAA supports the recommendation.