Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:32pm EDT
WASHINGTON–(Business Wire)– The leader of The American Legion, the nation`s largest veterans service organization, says he feels a mixture of pleasure and disappointment at the contents of the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization Act. The measure was signed into law today by President Obama and witnessed by Peter S. Gaytan, Executive Director of the Legion`s Washington, D.C. headquarters. “One of the four pillars upon which The American Legion was founded is national security,” said the organization`s national commander, Clarence E. Hill. “So, among our major concerns are the maintenance of a strong national defense and the provision of a favorable quality of life for military families. “With regard to national defense — from The American Legion`s point of view — the new Defense Authorization Act contains some good news in that it authorizes an extra 30-thousand troops for the U.S. Army,” continued Hill. “Though the increase is not as much as we would like, it does, in fact, double the number in the administration`s original budget request. We thank Congress for that. The new act also contains a 3.4-percent pay raise for active duty, National Guard and Reserve members. This exceeds the President`s budget request by half a percent. We thank members of Congress for that, as well. The new act also prevents, at least for the coming year, any increase in TRICARE military health insurance co-payments for inpatient care and mandates a long list of initiatives to protect absentee voting rights for military personnel and their families. These are all good things.