America's shrinking "all volunteer" force.
(PRWEB) January 13, 2005 -- The welfare of this country's active duty and
retired military personnel are at stake. Military veterans have now been blocked
twice in their efforts to present their case in federal court to overturn the
Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA). DOD lawyers again
filed a "motion to dismiss" on December 21 which stated that veterans' have no
right to challenge a federal law they contend unfairly penalizes divorced
military retirees, and which adversely affects the nations ability to maintain
an "all volunteer" military force. The DOD's arguments are tantamount to
disenfranchising the entire military from basic rights guaranteed to all
citizens under the U.S. Constitution.
A large group of active duty and retired divorced veterans, from all branches of the armed forces, spearheaded by the ULSG LLC, filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Virginia on April 30, 2004, seeking to overturn a public law (USFSPA) which permits state courts to award up to 50 per cent of a veteran's military retainer pay (referred as retirement pay by the state courts) to an ex-spouse for the remainder of the veteran's life, even if the ex-spouse remarries.
Congress enacted the USFSPA in 1982. An earlier US Supreme Court decision ruled that military retainer pay was not civilian community property to be divided by state courts. Now, two decades later, state divorce courts are still designating a veteranís military retainer pay as civilian community property to be divided between the veteran and the ex-spouse. Only the military, no other agency or branch of the government has their retainer/retirement pay designated as civilian community property, which can be divided, by a state court.
Application of this outdated and poorly written law by state divorce courts has been highly inconsistent and is subjecting veterans to substantial injustices and financial injury. Some veterans who retired before, and/or were divorced before the USFSPA became law had their cases reopened and lost half of his, or her retirement pay. In some instances state courts have cited the USFSPA as justification for distributing a veteran's disability pay to the ex-spouse; an act clearly not permitted under federal law. The government has looked the other way on these illegal enforcements for years. Now, DOD lawyers are using frivolous legal technicalities to disqualify all veterans from even challenging the USFSPA in federal court in their effort to repeal this law that wreaks unfair and grievous financial harm on many retired veterans.
Veterans affected by this law participated in hazardous duties, combat operations, and some are partially or 100% disabled. They continue to fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and are all subject to recall to active duty in the time of war or national emergency declared by the President of the United States, many affected by this law have been recalled to active duty.
Even though military ex-spouses have not completed the requirements to receive military retainer pay, the USFSPA passed by the 1982 congress, qualified and assigned ex-spouses a method to receive a backdoor payment of military retainer pay, paid directly to them by the Department of Defense, Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) with taxpayers money, for life.
The active duty force, male and female alike, are contesting the government's policy in this matter in the continuation of a law that permits them to be stripped of up to half their military retainer pay after completing 20 to 30 years of honorable service. They are questioning the rationale for their conducting hazardous work for 20 to 30 years and getting paid for 10 to 15. The increasing reluctance of members to extend on active duty or make the military a career is increasingly being reflected in the shrinking "all volunteer" force numbers. Citizens may wish to review the complete lawsuit proceedings at www.usfspa-lawsuit.info
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Source : http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/1/prweb196438.htm