DoD News

DoD news updates for military and veterans benefits including active-duty, separation, retirement, education, health and employment benefits.

Department of Defense News

SecDef Names New Convening Authority

May 28, 2019

The Department of Defense announced the selection of Christian L. Reismeier to serve as the Convening Authority for Military Commissions and Director of the Office of the Convening Authority for Military Commissions.

Mr. Reismeier is a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral. During his last active-duty tour, he simultaneously served as Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Chief Judge, Department of the Navy.  Throughout his career, he provided legal and policy advice to a variety of federal agencies, including the White House, Department of State, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, and the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, with specific concentration on the topic of military criminal justice.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Housing Payment Rates Update

Dec. 14, 2018

The Department of Defense released the 2019 Basic Allowance for Housing rates today.  BAH rates will increase an average of 2.55 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2019.  An estimated $21 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members.

The 2019 BAH program expands the member cost-sharing element (out-of-pocket expense) while continuing to balance the growth in compensation costs.  Based on the authority provided in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the cost-sharing element was increased to five percent.  For 2019, a typical member will need to absorb five percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade. The out-of-pocket amounts incorporated in the 2019 BAH rates vary by grade and dependency status and range from $66 to $149 monthly.  This rate computation change balances the growth of certain military pay and benefits in a fair, responsible, and sustainable way. Even with these nominal changes, the overall military pay and benefits package remains robust and healthy.

Read more…

Post-9/11 GI Bill Housing Payment Rates Update

Nov. 28, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced key changes in the processing of GI Bill benefits payments under the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Forever GI Bill).

Because of continued information technology difficulties with implementing sections 107 and 501 of the law, both of which change the way monthly housing allowance payments are calculated, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has directed Under Secretary for Benefits Paul R. Lawrence to take the following actions:

  • Effective Dec. 1, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) will reset its implementation efforts for sections 107 and 501 of the law to give the department the time, contracting support and resources necessary to develop the capability to process Spring 2020 enrollments in accordance with the law by December 1, 2019.
    • This includes soliciting bids from contractors for support in the areas of program integration, systems implementation, and software development.
  • During this time, VBA will pay monthly housing allowance rates for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the current academic year uncapped Department of Defense (DoD) Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) rates.
    • For many students, this DoD BAH rate will be equal to or higher than their current payment.
    • VBA will also correct retroactively any underpayments resulting from section 107 and 501 implementation problems.
    • If a student was overpaid due to the change in law or because of VBA’s challenges in implementing the law, the student will not be held liable for the debt.

Read more…

Statement by Secretary Robert Wilkie on Forever GI Bill Housing Benefit Payments

To clear up any confusion, I want to make clear that each and every post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiary will be made 100 percent whole – retroactively if need be – for their housing benefits for this academic year based on Forever GI Bill rates, not on post-9/11 GI Bill rates.

I made this clear to Chairmen Isakson and Roe on calls Tuesday and want to reassure Veterans and taxpayers that is indeed the case.

Although VA has encountered issues with implementing the Forever GI Bill on Congress’ timeline, we will work with lawmakers to ensure that – once VA is in a position to process education claims in accordance with the new law – each and every beneficiary will receive retroactively the exact benefits to which they are entitled under that law.

DoD Completes First Full Financial Statement Audit; Findings Will Directly Benefit Readiness

Nov. 16, 2018

the Department of Defense fulfilled its commitment to the American people by completing a full-scope, department-wide, financial statement audit.

More than 1,200 auditors conducted over 900 site visits at over 600 locations across the DOD and examined hundreds of thousands of items.

Auditors evaluated data for accuracy and completeness to verify counts, location and condition of military equipment, real property and inventory. Auditors also tested for security vulnerabilities in DOD business systems and validated the accuracy of personnel records and actions, such as promotions and separations.

The DOD-wide audit report and links to component audit reports will be available at Comptroller’s website. Read more…

Department of Defense Announces Fiscal Year 2018 Recruiting and Retention Numbers — End of Year Report

Nov. 15, 2018

The Department of Defense today announced recruiting and retention statistics for the Active and Reserve Components for fiscal year 2018.

  • Active Component.
    • Recruiting. The data below represents the services’ cumulative monthly goals and monthly accessions/gains for FY 2018.
      • Army Accessions: Goal 76,500; Attained 69,972 (91.47 percent/-6,528).
      • Navy Accessions: Goal 39,000; Attained 39,018 (100.05 percent/+18).
      • Marine Corps Accessions: Goal 31,556; Attained 31,567 (100.03 percent/+11).
      • Air Force Accessions: Goal 29,450; Attained 30,343 (103.03 percent/+893).
    • Quality. All components met their quality goals.
    • Retention. All services exhibited strong retention for FY 2018.

Read more…

Department of Defense Announces Fiscal Year 2018 Recruiting and Retention Numbers — End of Year Report

Oct. 24, 2018

U.S. Government’s First Bug Bounty Initiative Turns Two; Issues Awards to Further Strengthen Internal DOD Assets

WASHINGTON, DC — The Department of Defense announced today efforts to expand its successful ‘Hack the Pentagon’ crowdsourced security program. DOD awarded contracts to three private-sector Silicon Valley firms to boost the Department’s capacity to run bug bounties aimed at strengthening security for internal DOD assets. Read more…

White House Releases First National Cyber Strategy in 15 Years

Sept. 21, 2018

The first new National Cyber Strategy in 15 years is built on four pillars: protecting the American people, the homeland and the American way of life; promoting American prosperity; preserving peace through strength; and advancing American influence. Read more…

Department of Defense (DoD) will now “continuously” monitor the financial status of servicemembers with security clearances

Aug. 20, 2018

The federal government recently implemented new security clearance guidelines that make it more important than ever for servicemembers to stay on top of their bills and monitor their credit histories. Read more…

Military OneSource Is Now Available to Veterans and their Families for a Full Year After Separating from the Military

Aug. 13, 2018
Release No: NR-234-18

The Department of Defense announced today it will extend eligibility for Military OneSource benefits from the current 180 days to 365 days after separation or retirement from military service to ensure all service members and families have access to comprehensive support as they transition to civilian life.  This change goes into effect today in accordance with the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019. Read more…

Pentagon Announces Changes to Post-9/11 GI Bill

July 12, 2018
Release No: NR-217-18

The Department of Defense issued a substantive change today to department policy on the transfer by service members in the Uniformed Services of“Post-9/11 GI Bill” educational benefits to eligible family member recipients.

Effective one-year from the date of this change, eligibility to transfer those benefits will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of total service (active duty service and/or selected reserves as applicable). Previously, there were no restrictions on when a service member could transfer educational benefits to their family members. The provision that requires a service member to have at least six years of service to apply to transfer benefits remains unchanged in the policy. Read more…

New Vision and Dental Plans Coming Soon to Military Families and Retirees

March 19, 2018
Release No: NR-081-18

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in partnership with the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), announced the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will be offered for the first time to TRICARE eligible retirees and their families during the 2018 Federal Benefits Open Season. Active duty family members will be eligible to enroll in FEDVIP vision insurance. Read more…

DoD and VA Release Online Tool to Assist Veterans with Discharge Upgrade Process

Jan. 25, 2018
Release No: NR-022-18

The Department of Defense, through a joint initiative with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is pleased to announce the launch of a web-based tool that will provide customized guidance to veterans who desire to upgrade or change the conditions of their military discharge. “We are thrilled to have partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs in developing this wonderful and easily-accessible tool,” said Mr. Robert Wilkie, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “We support our veterans, whether they served recently or long ago, and we are excited to introduce a tool that will individualize the guidance for those who desire an upgrade or change in their military discharge,” he said. Read more…

Federal Collaboration Raises Awareness of Zero Percent Interest Student Loan Benefit for Military Service

Jan. 31, 2018
Release No: NR-028-18

The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Departments of Education (ED) and Veterans Affairs to educate service members and veterans about a significant student loan benefit based on their military service. Federal law exempts members of the military from paying interest for up to 60 months on certain student loans while serving or having served in an area that qualifies them to receive hostile fire or imminent danger pay. Service members and veterans can also apply retroactively based on previous qualifying military service. This benefit applies to direct loans or a portion of a direct consolidation loan made on or after Oct. 1, 2008. Read more…

Defense Department Releases 2018 Continental United States Cost of Living Allowance (CONUS COLA) Rates

Dec. 20, 2017
Release No: NR-428-17

The Defense Department released today its 2018 Continental United States (CONUS) Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) rates, which will take effect on January 1, 2018.  Approximately $28 million will be paid to 28,000 service members stationed in CONUS in 2018; $13 million less than last year.  Approximately 50 members will now receive CONUS COLA, 1,100 will see an increase in their CONUS COLA payments, 8,200 members will see a decrease, 7,200 members will no longer receive CONUS COLA and 17,800 will see no change. Read more…

New Military Retirement System Effective Jan. 1, 2018: Opt-in Period for Eligible Service members Opens

Dec. 19, 2017
Release No: NR-427-17

One of the most wide-reaching and significant changes to military pay and benefits of the last 70 years goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, with the implementation of the Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System (BRS). The new system blends aspects of the traditional defined benefit retirement pension system, with a defined contribution system of automatic and matching government contributions through the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).  All new entrants into the Uniformed Services on or after Jan. 1, 2018, will be enrolled in this new retirement system. Read more…

DoD Releases 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing Rates

Dec. 15, 2017
Release No: NR-425-17

The Department of Defense released today the 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing rates.  Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 0.7 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2018.  An estimated $21 billion will be paid to approximately one million Service members.  Read more…

DoD Issues Interpretive Rule Amendment Under the Military Lending Act, Limitations on Terms of Consumer Credit Extended to Service Members and Dependents

Dec. 14, 2017
Release No: NR-422-17

The Department of Defense announced today that an Interpretive Rule Amendment under the Military Lending Act (MLA) Limitations on Terms of Consumer Credit Extended to service members and dependents, was published today in the Federal Register. The interpretive rule amendment provides additional guidance on questions the Department received regarding compliance with the July 2015 Final Rule. Read more…