RESOLUTION NO. 81 - CREDIT FOR MILITARY TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
Whereas, during their military service veterans learn skills and occupations that should transfer easily into the civilian job market; And whereas, veterans have repeatedly found that all levels of government that grant licenses repeatedly refuse to accept military experience and relevant training as the basis for granting license or certification; And whereas, training and experience during military service provides tremendous expertise for the individual and enormous untapped treasure for the nation; And whereas, such improper refusals is a great disadvantage to veterans searching for a job in the civilian job market; Therefore, TREA supports any and all efforts to require all government departments and agencies that grant licenses or certifications to accept relevant military training and experience as satisfying the requirements for those licenses and certificates.
RESOLUTION NO. 82 - PREVENTION OF SUICIDES AMONG SERVICEMEMBERS AND VETERANS
Whereas, in the wake of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; Military suicides have spiraled and the Pentagon is losing the battle to prevent them
Active duty personnel are taking their lives at the rate of one every 36 hours and veterans are taking their lives at the rate of one every 80 minutes
More than 6,500 veteran suicides occur every year The Army Vice Chief of Staff stated that the issue of suicides is the biggest challenge of his 40-year military career; Therefore, TREA urges the Department of Defense to:
1. Ensure that information about troops’ mental well-being moves with them to their next duty station
2. Encourage troops to respond truthfully to post-deployment mental health screenings
3. Continue efforts to remove the stigma of seeking mental health treatment
4. Urge behavioral health-care providers to tell unit commanders if they consider a service member to be at high risk for suicide
Furthermore, we urge Congress to provide funding for increasing the number of mental health professionals at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and overturn a provision in the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act that bars military leaders from collecting information related to a service members’ ownership or possession of a legally acquired firearm.
RESOLUTION NO. 83 - AUDIT THE PENTAGON BUDGET
Whereas, the Pentagon is the largest and most expensive federal government department; And whereas, Congress passed a law in 1990 requiring all federal departments to complete an annual audit; And whereas, every single federal department is audited yearly except for the Pentagon;
And whereas the Pentagon is unable to pass an audit; And whereas the Pentagon does not know how it spends its money, can’t track its own inventory, financial transactions, or even what it has paid out to contractors and received in return; And whereas Pentagon leaders have claimed that military health care costs are eating the defense budget alive and have said that unless health care costs are brought under control they will soon start jeopardizing the safety of active duty personnel; Therefore, TREA strongly supports legislation that will force the Pentagon to pass an audit and that no cuts to military benefits even be considered unless and until the Pentagon passes an audit.
RESOLUTION NO. 84 - UNIFORM WEAR AND EXEMPTIONS
Whereas, the Department of Defense has issued what it says is a one-time authorization allowing active-duty military personnel to wear their services’ uniforms to march in a gay pride parade in San Diego; And, whereas DOD Directive 1334.1 states:
It is DoD policy that:
3.1. The wearing of the uniform by members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of Reserve components) is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:
3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.”
And whereas, DoD policy has historically restricted members from wearing the uniform during political events; And, whereas the members of TREA believe in the equality of application of rules and regulations, regardless of race, creed, religion, or sexual orientation; And, whereas even though the Pentagon has said this was a one-time exemption and such decisions will be returned to local commanders, nonetheless a precedent has been set by this action; Therefore, TREA – The Enlisted Association opposes granting exemptions to any organization or cause that would violate current DOD policy and strongly condemns favoritism of one group over another through selective application of the regulations and guidelines.
RESOLUTION NO. 85 – FULLY FUND MAJOR VA CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS AND ALLOW FOR FLEXIBILITY IN THE LEASING REQUIREMENTS OF VA CLINICS
WHEREAS, VA manages and maintains more than 5,600 buildings and almost 34,000 acres of land with a plant replacement value of approximately $45 billion, and; WHEREAS, VA has a major construction backlog that has reached between $21 and $25 billion dollars, 21 major Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) projects have been partially funded dating back to FY 2007, and; WHEREAS, VA needs to invest roughly $22 billion over the next 10 years to close current and future gaps and to finish existing project, and current budget levels saw a decrease in FY 2014 and would only allow all of that work to be completed in about 40 years, and; WHEREAS, the Office of Management and Budget is requiring VA to fully pay for 20-year leases for VA clinics in present budgets, severely constraining their ability to adequately provide desperately needed services to veterans, NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports fully funding VA’s major construction projects so that they may be completed on schedule, as well as allowing VA to amortize the cost of 20-year leases over the budgets in the out years.
RESOLUTION NO. 86 – SUPPORT 2-YEAR ADVANCED FUNDING FOR ALL VA ACCOUNTS
WHEREAS, there is already authority for 2-year advance funding for the Department of Veteran Affairs’ healthcare accounts, and; WHEREAS, we are all aware of Congress’ inability to overcome partisan battles to ensure America’s funding commitments to those who have committed to defend America, and; WHEREAS, endless battles over VA funding threaten to delay funding to implement needed programs and can result in layoffs or personnel leaving, and; WHEREAS, VA without this funding VA can’t perform its service to America’s veterans that the law requires it to, NOW;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, TREA: The Enlisted Association supports two-year advanced funding appropriations for all VA accounts, mandatory and discretionary.
RESOLUTION NO. 87 – SAVE THE COMMISSARY/EXCHANGE BENEFIT
Whereas, Commissary and Exchange use is an earned benefit that is offered to the military community and promised to military retirees as one of the rewards of serving in the Armed Forces; And whereas, a Defense Data Manpower Center Survey shows that 90 percent of active duty or their family members have used the Commissary within the past year; And whereas, that survey shows that 82 percent of Commissary patrons are satisfied or very satisfied with their Commissary; And whereas, Commissaries and Exchanges provide a valuable form of non-pay compensation for military service; And whereas, the modern Commissary system is a model of efficiency and return on investment to the taxpayer and represents the model of fiscal responsibility that is sought by DoD; And whereas, the Commissary and Exchange benefits are under serious danger of being drastically cut or even eliminated; Therefore, TREA: The Enlisted Association hereby reaffirms its support of the Commissary and Exchange systems and opposes any attempt to reduce those benefits as just one more attempt to balance the budget on the backs of military personnel.
RESOLUTION NO. 88 – PROTECTING THE 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF VETERANS WITH VA PAYEES
Whereas, under current practice, veterans who have a fiduciary appointed to manage their affairs are deemed to be “mentally defective;” And whereas, as a result those veterans are automatically reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS), a system which prevents individuals from purchasing firearms in the United States, and criminalizes the possession of a firearm; And whereas, if the VA determines that a person cannot manage their finances and needs a fiduciary, it is shocking and disgraceful that their Second Amendment rights are automatically taken away; And whereas, the skills required for fiduciary responsibilities are very different from those required for firearm possession and use; And whereas, judicial proceedings are comprehensive and all interested parties have a right to be represented and heard during them, while it is merely a VA rating specialist who determines that a veteran is mentally defective; And whereas it is outrageous that veterans can lose their Second Amendment Constitutional rights in this manner; Therefore, TREA – The Enlisted Association supports legislation that would protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans by requiring that an Article III judicial authority, rather than an internal VA decision maker, make the determination that a veteran poses a danger to themselves or others prior to their name being sent to the NICS.
RESOLUTION NO. 89 – EXPOSURE OF MILITARY PERSONNEL TO TOXIC SUBSTANCES
Whereas, there is a terrible legacy of toxic exposures of American veterans in virtually all conflicts in which the United States has been engaged and even during peacetime service; And whereas, the United States government has not been transparent or forthcoming about these exposures and their effects on military veterans in the past; And whereas, there are insidious, long-term effects of exposures to toxic substances such as dioxin, mustard gas, sarin, VX and BZ, asbestos, and Agent Orange; Therefore, TREA: The Enlisted Association supports legislation to research prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment and rehabilitation of health conditions associated with exposure to toxic substances; Furthermore, we support a coordinated, ongoing, national outreach and education campaign using such means as direct mail, on-line media, social media, and traditional media to communicate information about such exposures and health conditions to all veterans and their families.
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