Cook Calls Department of Defense
Do Its Job & Find Solutions
Congressman Paul Cook on….
California National Guard Bonus Repayment
worked on this issue of improper bonuses since my days in the state
legislature – which until recently the Department of Defense (DoD) claimed was much smaller in
scale – and I’ve long maintained that the DoD already has the legal authority
necessary to stop recollection. The Secretary’s recent action confirmed my
belief. The DoD needs to own up to its mistakes, fix this problem
permanently, and get back to protecting our soldiers instead of harassing
them. If Congress acts to waive these so-called debts, it will be because the
DoD didn’t fix this problem itself. Yet, based on the anemic response so far,
it appears Congress may have to step in and do the DoD’s job for them.
more troubled by what this scandal will do to our efforts to recruit and
retain the next generation of Guardsmen. We can’t expect young men and women
to sign up to serve when they can’t trust the enlistment contract they’re
signing. We have a generation of battle tested and experienced leaders in our
current force. This kind of experience and skill is invaluable and impossible
to reproduce quickly. We’ll need these combat-experienced troops in future
conflicts. How can we expect them to stay in uniform while they watch their
fellow soldiers driven into financial ruin through no fault of their own?
This situation isn’t just about fairness. Scandals like these hurt our
military’s readiness to fight and its ability to attract and retain the very
best troops possible.
bedrock of any fighting unit is trust. From their first day in a pair of
boots, every service member learns to trust in one another and believe that,
no matter what, we leave no one behind. This scandal over improper bonuses and
the unsatisfactory response of the DoD is a betrayal of trust. It eats away
at the very fabric of our military and destroys the faith our service members
and veterans have placed in their government.
National Guardsmen are losing their houses to pay back bonuses, we’re clearly
not earning their trust. The Department of Defense must stop playing the blame
game and focus their energies on finding a real solution amid a tough
budgetary situation. At stake is the reputation of the Guard, the national
security of our country, and the personal financial solvency of individual
Guardsmen. I stand ready to work with the Department of Defense or, if necessary, work independent of them
to find that solution.
Published November 3, 2016 American