VFW National Security & Foreign Affairs

Washington Office Weekly Update

20 Jan 06




v      New Coast Guard Commandant Named:  President Bush has announced his intention to nominate Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen as Commandant of the Coast Guard. If confirmed, Vice Admiral Allen will succeed Admiral Thomas H. Collins, at a scheduled change of command in May.


v      TRICARE Increases Loom on the Horizon:  In recent weeks there have been scattered unofficial reports from independent sources that the Department of Defense is going to raise TRICARE premiums for military retirees under the age of 65, and pharmaceutical co-pay fees for Medicare-eligibles, and active duty, Reserve and Guard family members.  During a meeting with veterans’ and military associations, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr. would not provide specifics of the new proposal except to say the increase is needed to offset DoD’s rising healthcare costs which are stripping dollars away from military hardware and weapons programs.  We expect an official announcement soon, presumably when the President releases his FY 2007 budget proposal. Shifting the burden to retired military beneficiaries to pay for weapons programs and rising healthcare costs is unacceptable to the VFW.


v      Reserve Component Mobilization: The total number currently on active duty in support of the partial mobilization for the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 112,268; Navy Reserve – 4,350; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve – 7,662; Marine Corps Reserve – 7,121; and the Coast Guard Reserve – 415. This brings the total number of activated Guard and Reserve personnel to 131,816, an decrease of 873 from last week.


v      War Casualties:                                       Iraq (OIF)                    Afghanistan (OEF)

Killed in Action                                     1,741                           130

Non Hostile Deaths                                484                           125

Wounded in Action RTD*                    8,847                           278

Wounded in Action not RTD*              7,625                           400

                   *RTD – Returned to Duty



Michael H. Wysong, Director

National Security and Foreign Affairs

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.