WASHINGTON-House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) has launched an effort to maintain America's integrated, all-volunteer military in order to fight and win the global War on Terror. Along with Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL), Blunt introduced the Americans in Uniform Act, legislation designed to improve U.S. military readiness and address the growing demands of the War on Terror.
"Brave Americans join the Guard and Reserves to make their skills available to our nation during times of crisis or particular need---not to serve in the permanent forces," Blunt said. "In January I laid out my principles for maintaining an all-volunteer military. This legislation is the result of my firm belief that we have to maintain our commitment to a fully integrated force by ensuring that all components of the military are adequately resourced, trained, prepared, and ready to accomplish their mission."
The Americans in Uniform Act (HR 2484) would:
- Retain service members, such as Military Police, who are increasingly called up to active duty by increasing special pay and allowances for reserve component personnel. Hardship duty pay would be increased from $300 to $750, and the maximum reenlistment bonus for Guard and Reserve personnel would be increased.
- Improve retirement benefits by allowing military retirees under 60, who would otherwise be eligible for retired pay, to receive both their burial benefits in Arlington National Cemetery and Space-Available Travel benefits immediately upon retirement.
- Protect the jobs of Guard and Reservists by requiring the Defense Department to consider their employment in the defense industry as one factor when awarding federal government contracts.
- Investigate personnel matters pertaining to Guard and Reservists by requiring the GAO to report to Congress on the types of jobs service members hold and their difficulties in gaining reemployment after active duty.
Blunt has long been a proponent of an increase in active duty military personnel.