Hagel Vows to Protect Post 9/11 GI Bill

NGAUS Washington Report

(Aug. 27, 2013) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel vowed last week to protect the GI Bill for post-9/11 veterans, which he helped write when he was a U.S. senator.

He was answering a question from a Marine during a visit to Hawaii about a specific part of the law, but chose to address it broadly, according to Navy Times.

“We will continue to do everything we can to protect every element and fund every part of that bill,” Hagel said.

The Marine asked about a part of the bill that allows a service member who has served six years to transfer the benefit to a family member in exchange for an agreement to serve four more years. That was not part of the bill Hagel helped write that was passed in 2008. It was added later.

The publication said several veterans organizations are concerned that the Post 9/11 GI Bill will be targeted by budget cutters. The program has helped 1 million people attend colleges or vocational schools, according to Navy Times. But the cost has been $30 billion, which prompts the fears of veterans groups.

The right to transfer the law’s benefits to family members was added later when the Pentagon feared the program was too generous and would cause people to leave the military and go to school. Since the transfer benefit was approved, about 352,000 service members have taken advantage of it.