WASHINGTON — Congressman Joe Courtney this week voiced his opposition to the Pentagon’s recently announced change in policy that would prevent soldiers with more than 16 years of service from transferring their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to eligible family members.
In an opinion column published this week in Military Times, Courtney said that while the change may save the Pentagon money, it “breaks our commitment to our most dedicated and seasoned service members.”
“Such a policy change sends exactly the wrong message to those who have chosen the military as their long-term career and sets a damaging and dangerous precedent for the removal of other critical benefits as service members approach military retirement. The Pentagon is prioritizing retention goals in its effort to cut costs and is watering-down its rewards for the most steadfast and devoted in its ranks,” Courtney wrote.
Courtney, who is a member of the Armed Services Committee, said that a bipartisan group of 83 House members signed a letter he sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis calling for him to reverse course and keep the old policy.
“Once a service member meets the requirements for transferring GI Bill educational benefits to an eligible family member, we should uphold our end of the commitment,” he said. “To use Roosevelt’s words, protecting transferability ‘gives emphatic notice to the men and women in our armed forces that the American people do not intend to let them down.’”