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Obama Proposes Free Community College

Last week President Obama unveiled an incredibly ambitious education plan - provide 2 years of community college to any American - for free.

Based on a similar program in Tennessee, the White House estimates that this plan would cost about $60 billion over the next 10 years. The plan is intended to help the US keep pace with other countries in the 21st-century global workforce.

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BAH Rates Go Up - But Only Slightly

The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a slight drop in benefits for recipients of Basic Allowance of Housing (BAH) - dropping from 100% to 99% coverage of average rental costs for stateside service members. In addition, coverage for renters insurance will no longer be added to BAH.

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NDAA 2015 Not Expected to Slow Army Aviation Refresh

The fiscal-year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which also put the Air Force's plans to ground the A-10 on hold for at least a year, is now doing something similar to Army aviation.

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Troops on the Ground to Assist in Iraq

Although they are not directly fighting Islamic militants, the US has about 1,500 troops in Iraq - helping the Iraqi military to repel attacks by ISIS and other militant groups. That number will soon grow, though, as funding was provided in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act for 1,500 troops to deploy in the coming months.

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Sgt. Maj. of the Army Speaks About Training

The top enlisted member of the Army, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler, said that the Army needs to get back to training for a major conventional war and start moving away from the counterinsurgency training of the past 10+ years.

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Congress Insists on Joint Camo Pattern

It looks like uniforms are back on Congress' budget-cutting radar - language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2015 looks to get rid of service-specific camo patterns, according to an article over at Military.com.

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Defense Secretary Hagel Resigns

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has officially announced his resignation on Monday, the first Cabinet official to leave following midterm elections that left Democrats the minority in both the House and the Senate. Defense Secretary Hagel, who served as an enlisted soldier during Vietnam, faced numerous challenges during his almost 2-year term.

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Afghanistan IG: Nation Building "Abysmal Failure"

The man in charge of holding government agencies responsible for their work (or lack thereof) in Afghanistan, John Sopko, has described America's 13-year mission building attempt there as "an abysmal failure".

According to this article on Stripes.com Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Sopko spoke to reporters on Tuesday, and pulled no punches in describing the waste and mismanagement he has seen.

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Proposed Change to Military Retirement Could Be Popular

A 200+ page study performed by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit policy think tank, shows that a sweeping overhaul of the military retirement system could be quite popular to many soldiers.

The plan most popular to soldiers, according to the RAND report, would give soldiers retiring with 20 or more years of service a one-time "transition pay" lump sum immediately upon separation. This payout would be around two to three years' basic pay, and in return the monthly "working-age retirement" (under 65) would be capped at a maximum of 25% of basic pay.

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VA Secretary McDonald: More than 1,000 Employees Facing Discipline

The new Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald is making good on his promise to hold employees and supervisors accountable, and in an interview on 60 Minutes mentioned that the VA is considering disciplinary action against more than 1,000 employees.

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