Beefing up the GI Bill: 7 proposals pending Congressional action

At least seven legislative proposals are pending in Congress to improve the new GI Bill for large swaths of beneficiaries, including active-duty and reserve troops, wounded warriors and families.

The four-year-old Post-9/11 GI Bill has served 1 million students at a cost of almost $35 billion — but some lawmakers clearly think it could be doing more to serve troops, veterans and their families.

A key focus of some of the new proposals is improving and expanding the ability of troops to transfer GI Bill benefits to family members.

To find out the seven initiatives pending in Congress, and how they might benefit you, pick up the Dec. 9 issue of Army Times, on sale now.

Special pay overhaul: Cuts for drill sergeant, air traffic; Rangers a boost

Thousands of enlisted soldiers serving in certain recruiting positions, or as drill sergeants, career counselors, air traffic controllers and cadre with warrior transition units will have their Special Duty Assignment Pay reduced or eliminated under a budget-driven overhaul of the SDAP program.

While those changes are scheduled to take effect Feb. 1, the Army also has added some new categories and pay increases to the special compensation program that took effect Nov. 1.

Switching to shorthanded MOS may rescue career

With the Army getting smaller, and retention policies tightening, personnel officials say soldiers in overstrength specialties have a better shot at surviving the drawdown if they switch to jobs that have good prospects for the future.

Reclassification opportunities are dwindling, but enterprising soldiers can still improve their career prospects by moving to shortage fields, said Jim Bragg, chief of enlisted retention and reclassification at Human Resources Command.

Soldiers who reclassify from overstrength specialties can be promoted more quickly — in some cases, automatically. See our list of hot MOSs that need soldiers, and find out how to get them, in the Dec. 9 issue of Army Times.

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