President Obama Operates on Two Fronts

Military friendly collegesThe President ultimately holds the cards when it comes to the extent of the promises made to recruits and whether or not the administration keeps them. He must balance his obligation to the general population and his obligation to those who serve under him as Commander-in-Chief. The good news for those who choose to serve is that the majority of American citizens are in their corner and want to see them well treated. The bad news may be that in election time, Democrats like to see reductions in defense spending.
Military families depend on the benefits they receive as added perks in exchange for their service. The pay for enlisting in a military career is adequate for most, but could definitely be better. This places a higher importance on the benefits to make up the difference in what might be earned working in the private sector as opposed to what is earned working in the US service setting.
Military friendly colleges are one example of significant benefits offered. When being recruited, whether for a limited stint or longer term career, free or reduced cost higher education is one of the most attractive promises that could be made. College, university, and trade school educations are increasingly expensive, putting them out of reach for many. This means a degree or certificate paid for by the US government in trade for service is particularly enticing.
Keeping that promise is increasingly difficult for the Obama administration. The cuts being made to not only the education benefit, but to nearly all of the military benefits, are a heartbreaking reality to military families. Those who serve faithfully in return for a small income and a few perks deserve to be cared for by the rest of the American population. The Commander-in-Chief is the last place these cuts should originate from. As reported in Stars and Stripes, www.stripes.com, one of the President’s 2012 campaign platforms included nearly $500 billion in cuts to military spending. In addition, another $500 billion in defense spending cuts was slated to occur in January of 2013.

Sacrifices are the norm for those who have chosen to serve their country. It is of utmost importance that America keeps our promises to them while they are in process of serving as well as when they have completed their tours of duty. Those deployed have a reasonable expectation of returning to their country and being cared for appropriately. An education is certainly something to look forward to.

The other side of the coin for presidential influence on military higher education tuition involves the direct correlation between what the President must work with as far as the military budget, and the loyalty he shows for his own troops. Apply to a college providing scholarship for veterans now and you might just find out that your tuition benefit has been reinstated after all. While earlier pre-election sequester cuts were made that removed tuition, or at least a portion of it, from the list of veteran benefits, subsequent legislation restored those benefits in March of 2013, according to www.chronicle.com.

This yo-yo legislation makes it very difficult for military families to create a plan for their future after they have served their time defending our country. It seems that the least our President could do is to ensure that those who sacrifice to defend us are not subject to political pressure and election strategies.