President Obama’s State of the Union speech is Tuesday night, but don’t expect him to address any significant military issues like the war in Afghanistan, the VA backlog or military retirement cuts.
Star and Stripes reported, “For President Barack Obama, the annual address has primarily focused on the economy and the federal budget, with the wars and veterans policy getting second billing.”
“Obama has spent less than one-fourth of his five State of the Union speeches discussing national security, military affairs and veterans policy. His predecessor, George W. Bush, spent almost half his remarks on those topics during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, spending only slightly more time on domestic priorities.”
“Earlier this month, in response to criticism from congressional leaders that the president has ignored the Afghanistan War in his public remarks, National Security Staff spokeswoman Laura Lucas said Obama will discuss his foreign policy priorities in the State of the Union, but she would not provide specifics.”
“On Thursday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the speech will cover “a range of issues” including job creation and economic opportunity, but did not mention any military topics.”
Many veterans groups are unhappy with the probable exclusion of significant military issues from Obama’s speech that military members and veterans alike have to deal with.
Stars and Stripes continued, “Veterans groups said they want more than just a mention. At the top of their list is the recent budget deal that included a 1 percent reduction in annual military retirement cost-of-living adjustments for working-age veterans, a move that will cost some career servicemembers tens of thousands of dollars in future income.”
“But the White House has been mum on the issue, offering only support for the overall budget deal and the fiscal stability it provides to all military programs.”
“This would be a great opportunity for their perspective on the issue,” said Alexander Nicholson, legislative director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “It’s the perfect platform to draw attention to the problem.”
Tuesday evening we’ll see what President Obama makes a priority during his speech.