Is the Department of Defense dissing the Veterans?


Bob Balick

Let it be known that the DoD seems to place a higher financial value on the marriage partners of the military members than on the military members themselves, who the DoD sends in harms way to “protect and defend” our freedoms. 

This is not absurd, and here’s why.  Currently, the DoD is staunchly fighting in the federal court system against a declaratory lawsuit filed last year by a group of about 3,000 military retirees to have the 20-plus year old statute that allows (not mandates) state divorce courts unconstitutionally divide military retired pay as marital property. 

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), P.L. 97-252, codified at 10 USC 1408 et seq, was quietly attached to the 1983 NDAA signed into law by then-Pres. Ron Reagan on 8 Sep 82, and was planned to take effect on 1 Feb 83……


It carried a Constitutional law-breaking provision (c) (1) to retroactively backdate the effectivity to 25 June 81, one day before the USSC’s McCarty decision (453 U.S. 210), in which Justice Blackmun wrote for the majority, “Moreover, the application of community property principles to military retired pay threatens grave harm to “clear and substantial” [453 U.S. 210, 211]   federal interests.

Thus, the community property division of retired pay, by reducing the amounts that Congress has determined are necessary for the retired member, has the potential to frustrate the congressional objective of providing for the retired service member. In addition, such a division has the potential to interfere with the congressional goals of having the military retirement system serve as an inducement for enlistment and re-enlistment and as an encouragement to orderly promotion and a youthful military. Pp. 232-235″. 

Article 1, Sections 9 and 10 of the US Constitution in part state, “Congress WILL NOT pass any Bill of Attainder or Ex Post Facto Law or Law impairing the obligation of Contracts”(emphasis added).  If Congress wanted to fully “break the Law”, then why didn’t they go a century farther back in time to “one day before” the 1881 USSC decision, U.S. vs. Tyler (105 U.S. 244) ?   If one also applies the statute requirements of the Oath of Presidential Office to every Chief Executive since 1980, does a blatant “failure to repair” exist?  Is any CinC above the UCMJ ?  

Now another surreptitious act by the DoD is underway – the DACMC is proposing to turn the current military retirement program from the late 1940’s into a civilian member contributory “pension” to back-fix the USFSPA!    Add the USFSPA to the DoD’s reasons for recruiting and retention figures which are less than “target” quotas !

Bob Balick, TSgt, USAF (Ret) can be reached at [email protected]

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