From MOAA’s President: Your Voice Is Needed Now to Address Critical Issues

From MOAA’s President: Your Voice Is Needed Now to Address Critical Issues
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As I mark my seventh and final year in my role as president and CEO of this amazing association, I continue to be grateful for the grassroots support our 350,000 members and their families have provided in our successful advocacy efforts.


These next few months will put this strength to the test, as MOAA works to drive important change during a season of budgetary and authorization deadlines, the midterm elections, and an ever-growing recruitment and retention crisis that threatens the all-volunteer force.


These issues move fast on the Hill, and while our in-person advocacy events remain critical to keeping a strong voice with legislators, MOAA’s Legislative Action Center can make an even bigger difference.


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This system, powered by a MOAA partner whose cybersecurity protocols have been fully vetted by our CIO, not only allows members to communicate with their legislators on key issues, it also lets MOAA rally immediate support from members when issues reach tipping points in Congress, and target that support toward important committee members, swing votes, or representatives of affected states and/or districts. The more members we can muster, the more impactful our voice becomes.


Your participation means more now than ever before. If you’ve already engaged with the Legislative Action Center, thank you for doing so; if not, here are three reasons why it’s time to take part:


Midterm Elections

We already know only 17.7% of Congress are veterans. This in itself is not an indictment on our legislators; many of those who have never served are faithful supporters of our uniformed servicemembers and their families.


Among the many issues you deem a priority in casting your vote, MOAA members should assess a candidate’s track record of support for the uniformed services community. Our Legislative Action Center can help with that research, providing links to House and Senate members’ websites and social media platforms, along with a brief background on their voting history.


Funding the Government

Congress failed to fully fund the government before Oct. 1. In place, they enacted a continuing resolution (CR), which keeps the government open at last year’s funding levels.


Given the inflation and fiscal challenges before us, that stopgap measure falls short, again. As MOAA has reported, CRs waste precious resources by stalling contracts, delaying training, and sidelining new projects.


This approach to annual appropriations is not a surprise – Congress has been on time only four times since FY 1977, with 10 of those missed deadlines resulting in government closure. If this track record was the result of any one individual, party, or chamber, it would be easier to focus on changes at the polls. However, the fault of all these delinquencies is the result of the whole of Congress.


[LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER: Learn More About MOAA's Key Advocacy Issues]


The 117th Congress will be in session only 23 more days, 17 of which will see the House and Senate both in session. There is little time for us to engage Congress before the funding expires Dec. 16. Reliance on any further CRs will leave the government woefully short, at FY 2022 funding levels, as the new year starts with inflation on top of other increases in programs.


Visit our Legislative Action Center now and let your legislators know you are concerned with the annual appropriations, which must be concluded by the Dec. 16 deadline.


Recruiting and Retention Challenges 

Along with its budgetary duties, the Constitution also gives Congress the task “to raise and support Armies.” Recruiting challenges are well documented, and the Secretary of Defense has made some adjustments to better support the troops; however, congressional action is required for the resources needed to motivate qualified prospects to consider serving in uniform.


Visit our Legislative Action Center now to let your legislators know you are concerned about the ongoing recruiting challenges and seek their intervention to ensure our nation maintains a professional all-volunteer force.


Make Your Voice Heard

We need to elevate MOAA’s voice in these matters, and others. Please join me in voting this November and in sending our two messages to the Hill. And thank you for making sure you are registered as a MOAA advocate through our Legislative Action Center.


Your service to MOAA’s advocacy priorities in this fashion, and through other methods, continues to make a difference. As I exchange the MOAA banner with my relief early next year, I too will “Never Stop Serving” -- as a Life Member of MOAA and a concerned citizen.


More Members Mean More Influence Over Retirement Pay, Health Care, and Family Programs

Get involved and make sure your interests are addressed. Because the larger our voice is, the greater our impact will be.

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About the Author

Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)
Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)

Atkins served as the ninth president of MOAA, leaving office in January 2023.