Archive for January, 2014

Pentagon budgets for 2015; Congress debates changes to 2014 COLA

Posted by Charlotte Webster federal budget breakdown“The President’s 2015 Budget will be released on March 4. Now that Congress has finished its work on this year’s appropriations, the Administration is able to finalize next year’s Budget. We are moving to complete the Budget as quickly as possible to help Congress return to regular order in the annual budget process,” Steve Posner, a spokesman for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said in an email last week.

The Defense Department, which receives the most funding of any federal agency, plans to spend about $606 billion in fiscal 2014 and is also expected to release its budget request for fiscal 2015 on March 4.

We would be very surprised, though, if the 2015 budget becomes a settled matter so many months before it goes into effect. After all, the 2014 budget is still being “tweaked” by Congress to fix issues pertaining to COLA and veterans’ health benefits even though it was passed without the usual drama we’re accustomed to seeing in Washington.

The cap on COLA for working-age military retirees was just enacted by Congress last month in an effort to save $6 billion over the next 10 years as part of the bipartisan budget deal. But after military organizations decried the move as yet another broken promise to service members, Congress seems desperate to undo the cap before it becomes a larger political issue.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has introduced a mammoth 400+ page bill called the “Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014″ which ties the COLA cap to an overhaul of other veterans benefits. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) backs the bill, which seeks to strengthen more than 130 veterans programs of every kind.

The bill won’t sail through Congress as easily as the budget did, however. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) blocked a similar, but smaller, bill last month because the spending wasn’t paid for by other offsets. Coburn argued that the VA has increased spending 58% in the last five years while showing that it can’t effectively administer the benefits it already provides, so adding new health and education benefits cannot be justified.


#VeteransBenefits #2014COLA #2015Budget

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No Big Macs ® Allowed! Eat to Fuel Your Mind and Body

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

eat well for healthy body mind militaryauthority.comDuring your time in the military, you eat balanced meals in the chow hall. When you’re in the field, you get MREs. You don’t have to think about what you eat because you burn through every calorie through PT (and adrenalin). 

But once you return to civilian life, it can be hard to keep a few extra pounds off even if you’ve kept up with a good PT regimen. Whether you’ve taken a desk job or you’ve decided to go back to school to help advance your career, you probably eat more and burn fewer calories than when you were on active duty. Why does that happen?

If you’ve become accustomed to having your meals prepared by someone else or ripping open an MRE, the freedome of eating out or starting to cook for yourself can be amazing. You can make the gravy exactly how you like it! You can tackle buffets! Just thinking about the food possibilities is enough to get your salavating and hungry. 

The temptation to snack can be even greater if you’re going to school online and you’re within walking distance of the fridge and microwave in your own home while you study. Still, you wonder “What can I eat that’s healthy and not a Big Mac?” We have some tips!

Read the full details of the tips here. Even if you’ve spent 15 years in the service, the “freshman 15” can still catch up with you now. Send them packing while you take care of business.

If you have any other tips or healthy snack and meal ideas, please tell us in the comments.




#food #healthyeating #onlineeducation

Swapping Boots for Suits

Posted by Kelli McKinney from boots to suits military transitionDefense contractors and those within the industry itself can usually comprehend military communication quite well. But if the next job you want falls closer to corporate operations than field operations, you’ll need to think through the way your experience and skills are represented on your resume. Otherwise, making that leap from MRE to water cooler might be trickier than it needs to be.

Luckily, there are a few standard words and phrases for which a trail has already been blazed from tank to cubicle. Test your civvyspeak translation abilities by taking the quiz below:

If your resume currently contains the word “mission,” the best civilian employer equivalent is:

  1. Task
  2. Function
  3. Objective
  4. Initiative
  5. All of the above

AI, translated for a civilian resume, means:

  1. Artificial Intellectualism
  2. Additionally skilled in
  3. Alternatively increasing
  4. All about international

If you led a squad or platoon, you want to refer to the squad or platoon as a:

  1. Class
  2. Congregation
  3. Team, section or group
  4. Collection of like-minded individuals

MOS (military occupation specialty) should be referred to as:

  1. MOS
  2. Master of Science
  3. Service organization
  4. Career specialty or specialty

The civilian equivalent of reconnaissance is

  1. Game of Thrones and/or A Medieval fair
  2. A Scouting trip
  3. Data collection and analysis
  4. None of the above

Answers to the quiz are here (answers are at the bottom of this post). So how’d you do? 

In some career fields, like medical patient care, record keeping and accounting, the skills and protocol are fairly universal. If this is your field, you may not need to translate as much as say, a tank crew member. 

And remember – even though you are highly capable of managing your own career transition, you don’t have to go through this alone. Contact your transition assistance office, your service branch career and alumni program, or your installation’s family services and support employment readiness office for guidance or low/no-cost classes.




  1. E  
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. C