Broad changes could be coming to Tricare and the military health system under legislation being drafted by the House Armed Services Committee, but active-duty personnel and current retirees wouldn’t see the immediate hits to their wallets that were proposed earlier this year in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget, according to Military Times.
Under draft legislation to be revealed Monday House lawmakers will propose to overhaul the military health system and Tricare health plans to maintain the “medical readiness of the force,” now and in the future, according to the HASC staff.
Those changes include reorganizing multiple Tricare programs into two options: the existing Tricare Prime program and Tricare Preferred — a network care option similar to Tricare Standard and Extra. The current fee structure would remain in place but could change in 2020 if the Defense Department meets certain standards for patient access and care.
Under the HASC proposal, all personnel now serving or who will retire before Jan 1, 2018, will elect to use Tricare Prime or Tricare Preferred and will pay the current fee structure, with enrollment fees adjusted to the cost of living.
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The New York Times is reporting the United States has opened a new line of combat against the Islamic State, directing the military’s six-year-old Cyber Command for the first time to mount computer-network attacks that are now being used alongside more traditional weapons.
The effort reflects President Obama’s desire to bring many of the secret American cyberweapons that have been aimed elsewhere, notably at Iran, into the fight against the Islamic State — which has proved effective in using modern communications and encryption to recruit and carry out operations.
The National Security Agency, which specializes in electronic surveillance, has for years listened intensely to the militants of the Islamic State, and those reports are often part of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. But the N.S.A.’s military counterpart, Cyber Command, was focused largely on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — where cyberattacks on the United States most frequently originate — and had run virtually no operations against what has become the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world.
The base salary offered to the worker named al-Jiburi was a pittance, just $50 a month. But even the cash-challenged Islamic State knew it had to do more to sustain the loyalty of a man with nine mouths to feed, according to the Washington Post.
A crinkled wage voucher breaks it down by family member: For each of his two wives, al-Jiburi would receive an extra $50. For each of his six children under age 15, he would get another $35. Any “female captive”— sex slave — would entitle him to an additional $50. For al-Jiburi, described in the document as a service worker for the terrorist group, the monthly total came to $360, payable in U.S. greenbacks.
Salary details and other minutiae of life in the Islamic State are contained in a series of unusual documents released Friday by a scholarly journal. The records, all official documents from inside the group’s self-declared caliphate, collectively reinforce the prevailing impression of an organization under strain, struggling to compensate its fighters and workers, and forced to ration electricity, fuel and other resources.
Lawmakers have advanced legislation that would reimburse veterans with combat-related injuries potentially thousands of dollars in lost severance pay, according to Government Executive.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the 2016 Taxpayer Protection Act on Wednesday, which included an amendment requiring the Defense Department to pay back all veterans affected by the accounting error, going back as far as 1991. Veterans who had to medically retire from the military because of combat-related injuries during the last two decades have lost out on thousands of dollars in severance pay because the Defense Department improperly taxed those payments.
“We’re pleased that this bill is one step closer to becoming law,” said Tom Moore, attorney and manager of the Lawyers Serving Warriors project at the nonprofit National Veterans Legal Services Program. “This bill will right an inexcusable wrong for thousands of veterans who served their country and were discharged for combat-related disabilities.”