Quality of Life ‘Erosion’ Poses Dire Threat to the Force, Lawmakers Say

Quality of Life ‘Erosion’ Poses Dire Threat to the Force, Lawmakers Say
A soldier participates in a combat medic field training exercise at Joint Base San Antonio on Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Taylor Curry/Air Force)

The “alarming erosion of military quality of life” threatens the all-volunteer force, and only by addressing significant concerns for servicemembers and their families – many of which remain atop MOAA’s list of legislative priorities – can the nation ensure its national security.


This was the message sent to President Joe Biden on Feb. 16 in a bipartisan letter from the chairman and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee as well as the leaders of that committee’s Quality of Life Panel, which has actively engaged with MOAA and other advocacy groups since its 2023 founding.


[TAKE ACTION: Urge Your Legislators to Improve the Quality of Life of Our Servicemembers]


The letter seeks “significantly more attention and resources” in the president’s annual budget request, expected March 11, to address five key quality of life issues:

  • Health and safety concerns with barracks and single-family housing.
  • Inadequate compensation, especially for junior enlisted members, which can lead to food insecurity, among other financial stressors.
  • A lack of access to quality medical care, especially behavioral care.
  • Child care shortages, “especially in high-cost and remote areas.”
  • Spouse employment concerns, driven by frequent military moves and license portability issues.


“These concerns align almost seamlessly with MOAA’s advocacy agenda as it pertains to those in uniform and their families,” MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), said. “We are thankful for the bipartisan support from the committee and the urgency they’ve shown in pushing solutions forward, and we look forward to working with the Quality of Life Panel as it shapes its final report and its critical recommendations for the FY 2025 National Defense Authorization Act.”


MOAA’s Priorities

While MOAA continues pressing for an overall improvement for servicemember quality of life, many of the committee’s specific priorities reflected above are addressed by MOAA-supported legislation. Some examples are listed below; click the links to send a message supporting these bills to your lawmakers:

  • The BAH Restoration Act (H.R. 2537 | S. 1823) would push the Basic Allowance for Housing back to 100% of housing costs, reversing cuts that began nearly a decade ago. This assistance would be particularly valuable to junior servicemembers, including those in high-rent areas whose BAH makes up a significant portion of their overall compensation.

  • The Military Spouse Hiring Act (H.R. 1277 | S. 596) would allow businesses that hire military spouses to receive benefits via the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Doing so would create another avenue of support for this underutilized group of professionals beyond training and employment programs already in place through DoD and other agencies.

  • The REWARD Experience Act (H.R. 6537 | S. 3374) would give hiring managers at military treatment facilities (MTFs) more tools to retain skilled nurses, many of whom may otherwise leave the military system – and create further staffing shortages that impact the availability of quality health care.


MOAA’s work on these issues goes beyond legislation, to include advocating for a new type of Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) assisting young military families with dependents, as well as efforts to ensure DoD enacts an already-authorized increase in Family Separation Pay.



And while MOAA echoes the committee leadership’s call for increased funding to address these issues in the FY 2025 budget request, there’s still the matter of the FY 2024 budget, which has yet to take effect after a series of costly continuing resolutions. Ask your legislators to pass full funding and ensure servicemembers past and present, and their families, can retain their service-earned benefits.


MOAA members can keep up with progress on all of the above issues by visiting MOAA’s Advocacy News page.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and MOAA.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley