Posted on 27 Oct, 2016
United States Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter said today that he has directed the Pentagon to halt its collection of payments from California Army National Guard soldiers who were instructed to repay their enlistment bonuses.
Carter revealed steps to settle the instances of soldiers who together received millions of dollars in bonuses during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but were informed during the following years that the bonuses had to be repaid.
In an announcement, Carter stated he had directed the Pentagon’s financial department to discontinue the money collection until procedures can be introduced to offer the involved soldiers with the help they require to appeal the process.
While the Pentagon has stated that up to 10,000 soldiers in the California National Guard might have been impacted, many additional National Guard soldiers throughout the US collected payments as well. The occurrences involving the California National Guard were initially reported by the Los Angeles Times on October 22.
Carter’s statement comes following days of officials in Congress requesting that he take action. On Monday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform initiated an examination. The panel also requested senior officers with the California Army National Guard and the National Guard Bureau to update committee members by mid-November.
According to officials, the Defense Department’s objective is to speed up the review process. The Pentagon will rush additional staff members to examine cases, but does not plan to make long-lasting changes in how it evaluates collection situations.
Impacted service members can obtain refunds, but the Defense Department has no capacity to assist them with other occurrences, such as the loss of credit. An official said the Pentagon is determining how to locate Guard members who are no longer on duty and have changed their addresses.