Reforming military pay and benefits and improving housing conditions are the top two quality-of-life issues for service members that lawmakers should address immediately, the senior enlisted leaders for all the military services told Congress on Wednesday.
“A couple of these problems are so big that if we don't start taking immediate action on them now, we're going to miss the curve in the future,” Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea said Wednesday at a House hearing.
Honea was testifying at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's military quality-of-life panel alongside his fellow senior enlisted leaders from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force and Joint Chiefs of Staff. The leaders were called to Capitol Hill following months of news stories and watchdog reports documenting foul living conditions, limited food options and subpar health care — problems that come as most of the military services struggle to meet their recruiting goals.
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“Military pay and compensation reform is going to be one of those big problems that we need to start taking a bite at today,” Honea said. “I would also offer unaccompanied housing for our service members. That's also going to be a very big problem, and it's not going to be solved by Saturday. It's not going to be solved by this one year or in the next…