First off apologies for my lack of posts. It’s been a busy few weeks and now that we are in garrison life – life seems pretty normal with not a lot worthy of blogging about happening. Let me know if you’re interested in guest blogging or if you have something you’re dying to know!
Now onto the post. Last week a whole heck of a lot of excitement happened in the political and policy worlds. The biggest being that the Army announced a HUGE reorganization plan and the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, and that a lower court ruling stood that California’s Prop 8 was done-zo. Let’s break down what this all means for us Army families:
First the Army’s reorganization/downsizing. We knew that it was all bound to downsize. I’d already seen the signs: promotions are slowing down, they are asking people to retire or get out early, there have been changes to benefits like the GI Bill, the list goes on. But the latest announcement was pretty big: 10 brigades will be cut by 2017. One of those is at JBLM.
While it is HUGE, it is a gradual change, and some of the battalions will be moving into existing brigades. I found this article on Army.mil that was INCREDIBLY helpful. Yes it is from the Army newswire basically but it’s really straightforward. The 2nd photo has a map of the reorganization which is also cool to see. My biggest takeaways as I’ve touched on are:
- These brigades won’t go away until 2017 – that is 4 years away. A lot happens in 4 years. Basically: this isn’t happening overnight.
- Current brigades will grow. They are adding assets to the current brigades and reorganizing the ones going away into the ones sticking around.
- These plans have been in motion. There were plans to cut the size of the Army now that the decade plus of war is ending and this is the solution.
I encourage you to read the full article for all the details. I found it helpful and it definitely put my mind at ease as far as how they are going about it and what it means.
Second big piece of news: DOMA is unconstitutional. This means that married couples of the same-sex are eligible for the same rights as straight couples. This is great news for all couples, but especially those in the military. This means that spouses will be entitled to health benefits, housing, base access, etc. More is to come but the Secretary of Defense released a statement the day of the ruling.
I’ve heard that the ruling means that the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages from states that allow it, like Washington, New York, and now California and those couples will be entitled to federal benefits. The rulings don’t mean that any states banning same-sex marriages must start conducting them, in fact that will take a whole other court case I’m sure to address that, but if states allow them, the government will treat their marriage certificate like heterosexual couples. That piece of paper is the least romantic part of the wedding but it makes your marriage legit – in the eyes of the law.
I’m excited for same-sex couples to have the same benefits – it is too late for some, but for the future spouses: it is a great ruling for them.
So that’s what’s happening in the crazy world of the Army and what I’m making of it all. What did you make of the news? What were your gut reactions? Are you happy, nervous?