Hearing of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee - Opening Statement by Rep. Heck, Hearing on California National Guard Bonus Repayment Issue


Date: Dec. 7, 2016
Location: Washington, DC

"We are here today to hear from the California National Guard, the National Guard Bureau and the Office of the Secretary of Defense on an issue that we must get right, in fairness to not only the California Guardsmen that this affected but for all service members going forward.

Compensation, whether it is a bonus for a service agreement or regular pay, is an obligation to our service members and their families that they should not have to worry about. I find it unacceptable that we would place the additional burden of years of concern about the legitimacy of a bonus payment or a student loan repayment on those who volunteer to serve.

The Armed Services Committee has taken action in the 2017 NDAA to address this issue and this subcommittee is taking every opportunity to thoroughly review and discuss the way forward so that we can prevent such a widespread problem or abuse in the future.

Our purpose today is to gain an understanding from those involved on why this happened and what we can do to prevent it going forward.

We are joined today by two panels. The first from the National Guard and the second from OSD and the Army.

We will give each witness the opportunity to make opening comments, and each sub-committee member an opportunity to question the witnesses. I respectfully ask the witnesses to summarize, to the greatest extent possible, the high points of your written testimony in no more than 5 minutes -- your complete written statements will be entered into the hearing record.