Armed Forces Top Enlisted Association



Legislative Agenda

The overriding goal of AFTEA is to support a national defense that will protect the security of the United States.

AFTEA represents the interests of members of the Uniformed Services in Congress, at the White House, the Veterans Administration, and the Department of Defense. We educate the public and members of Congress about the Uniformed Services and their most important asset, its people.

We monitor proposed legislation, and we lobby and educate members of Congress and Pentagon officials on behalf of our members. We give voice to our members’ concerns about military pay, health care, pension and disability, survivor benefits, education, housing, childcare, and other quality-of-life programs.


Force Management

AFTEA supports a defense budget that will provide modern and sufficient equipment so that our military personnel can safely and effectively accomplish their mission. Further, we support increasing active duty, Guard and Reserve force sizes (end strength) to match the mission.

Active Duty, Reserve Force, and Family Issues

AFTEA supports military pay and compensation policies to attain and maintain the personnel skills that will allow the United States to meet its strategic goals. This includes compensation, benefits, quality of life, and other instruments to recruit, retain, and support high-quality people. It also includes providing service members and their dependents with high-quality, affordable health care. We support initiatives to:

  • Sustain active duty, Guard and Reserve force sizes to meet mission.
  • Overcome the lack of TRICARE coverage for the reserve component to maintain readiness.
  • Sustain military pay comparability with the private sector. Ensure pay at or above the Employment Cost Index, and ensure all allowances and programs necessary to recruit and retain a quality force.
  • Ensure pay continues for all eight uniformed services during a government shutdown.
  • Improve congressional support for uniformed services families: Enhance programs to support spouse employment, ensure implementation of an effective basic needs allowance, and provide accessible, affordable childcare options.
  • Create new incentives for employers to hire and retain drilling Guard/Reserve.
  • Provide incentives for employers, governments, and contractors to hire military spouses.
  • Improve professional licensure transferability for service members and military spouses.

Healthcare Issues

  • Avert 27% Medicare/TRICARE payment cut and fix statutory formula to improve access to care.
  • Protect against disproportional increases in TRICARE fees.
  • Oppose enrollment fee for TRICARE For Life or curtailment of TFL coverage.
  • Allow three years of active-duty-level TRICARE coverage for disability retirees and families.
  • Improve seamless transition and protect Defense and VA health benefits support systems and budgets.
  • Expand TRICARE coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for active and retired members of the uniformed services.

Veterans and Other Issues

  • Improve quality, efficiency, transparency, and timeliness of the VA claims- processing system.
  • Establish Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for surviving spouses of Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • Improve VA health services and access for women veterans.
  • Authorize pre-tax payment of health, dental and long-term care premiums.
  • Prevent disproportional Social Security and/or Medicare penalties for any population segment.

Retirement and Survivor Issues

  • Provide for concurrent receipt of military retirement pay from DoD and disability pay from the VA.
  • Oppose military benefit changes that are inconsistent with service career.
  • Preserve full-inflation cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
  • End deduction of VA disability compensation from military retired pay.
  • Implement a more equitable military disability retirement system.
  • Restore VA DIC compensation for qualifying survivors who remarry after age 55.
  • Reform the SBP calculation for a reservist who dies performing IDT as for active- duty deaths.
  • Authorize survivors to retain a deceased retiree’s full final-month retired pay.
  • Authorize SBP annuities to be paid to Special Needs Trusts for permanently disabled children.
  • Reform the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA).
  • Authorize Space-A travel for ‘gray area’ Guard and Reserve retirees and qualifying survivors.


We represent the interests of the military community (active duty, retired, guard/reserve, family members, and survivors) through testimony before Congress and personal contact with elected officials, congressional staffers, and representatives of the Department of Defense and other executive branch agencies.