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Military Quality of Life Panel Recommends Fewer PCS Moves, Child Care GI Bill

In June 2023, the House Armed Services Committee issued a press release announcing the committee’s then-brand-new military Quality of Life Panel, designed to address “issues that impact U.S. service members and their families, including compensation, child care, housing, support programs for spouses of service members, and health care.”

The panel began its work in 2023 with the goal of submitting a written report and proposal to the Military Personnel Subcommittee. A Ranking Member of that subcommittee, Andy Kim, was quoted in the press release noting that pay increases and added childcare support are just two of the major areas under review.

“I believe you can tell a lot about a country based on how they treat those who serve to defend it. We in Congress have a duty to do everything we can to give our service members and their families the support and care they deserve,” said Kim, who adds “Raising pay, improving TRICARE, addressing mental health, increasing access to childcare, expanding workforce development, and other efforts are needed.”

Now, that panel’s work and early recommendations are being released to the public.

Related: Active Duty Military Benefits Guide

Military Quality of Life Panel Recommendations

In late November 2023, after many open-door and closed-door hearings, the panel made some observations on how military quality of life may be improved. They include:

  • Fewer PCS moves
  • Longer military assignments to provide family stability
  • Tax-exempt Basic Pay
  • Higher annual pay raises for junior enlisted troops
  • Extended parental leave-of-absence policy
  • A GI Bill for childcare

These are all proposals and are not currently under development though that may change in the future.

The above recommendations are tantalizing, especially the GI Bill for childcare. But no details are forthcoming (at press time) on these concepts, they appear to be in the idea phase rather than having specific numbers and regulations to consider for future legislation. That work is still to come.

But it’s important to remember that every single year, such lofty goals are floated in the House and Senate, often making it no further than having a bill introduced for consideration.

The items in that list above should not be considered anything more than good ideas floated for future consideration; they all await further development.

Related: Army To Address Recruiting Problems But Not With New Benefits

Military Quality of Life Changes In 2024?

Is any of the above coming in 2024? Don’t count on it.

According to the original press release about the military Quality of Life Panel, lawmakers don’t expect to start working on any of these issues (in terms of becoming law) until it comes time to draft the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act.

Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Jim Banks said on the record, “I look forward to considering the recommendations from this panel in the FY25 NDAA to best serve our force and their families.”

And making such sweeping changes isn’t done overnight. Military.com notes one proposal that’s been on the books for some time: changing the Basic Allowance for Housing to cover 100% instead of 95% of housing expenses would cost more than $200 million for each percentage point increase in the allowance. Paying for that in the current political environment may be more difficult than usual.

Given the most recent partisan bickering in Washington, it feels to some like a major accomplishment to get any defense budget agreement passed, never mind revising and improving the programs funded through the National Defense Authorization Act. At press time, the fate of any of the Quality of life Panel’s suggestions is unclear.

Related: Active Duty Military Benefits Guide

About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.