11 July, 2005

ADM Donald L. Pilling, USN (Ret.)
Defense Advisory Commission on Military Compensation
2521 South Clark St.
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Mr. Chairman:

The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), representing 115,000 dues paying members, all active duty, reserve or retired uniformed service personnel of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, submits the attached statement to the Commission during its quest to review and make recommendations related to the military compensation system. For more than 80 years, FRA has devoted itself to representing its membership before Congress and other Federal entities on compensation and other quality of life programs. Its success has been exceptional when comparing the Association’s legislative endeavors to those of other enlisted organizations.

Among its major victories are; the first appearance by enlisted representatives before the Congress of the United States leading to a pay increase for enlisted personnel, the introduction of an all-service medical plan that became the Civilian Health and Medical Program for the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS), a "Widows’ Equity" proposal enacted by Congress as the Uniformed Services Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), targeted pay increases for mid-grade enlisted personnel, and a proposal to repeal the 1986 military retirement system known as REDUX.

FRA continues to appear before Congress as an invited witness or to submit statements concerning military personnel issues, veterans’ programs, and Coast Guard matters. Recent efforts have resulted in increased uniformed personnel for the Coast Guard and the authorization for the Commandant of the Coast Guard to offer his personal views before Congressional committees as authorized for the current chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

Members of the FRA headquarters staff have been instrumental in guiding The Military Coalition (TMC) since its founding in 1985. The below signatory is the elected co-chairman of the Coalition and its Military Personnel, Compensation and Commissary Committee. Its Director for Membership Development co-chairs the Health Care Committee. The Acting Director for Legislative Programs was recently elected as co-chairman Military Construction, MWR and Exchange Committee. Additionally, FRA’s Legislative Counsel, one of the two founders of TMC, is the Coalition’s elected Administrator and was the first Coalition co-chairmen elected to that position of responsibility.

FRA believes its comments contained in the attached statement may assist the Commission in making its recommendations beneficial to the men and women serving in the uniformed services. If the Commission has questions concerning the comments therein, please contact Matt Schafer, Acting Director for Legislative Programs, at the above telephone number.

With appreciation,
National Executive Secretary