US defense chief: Don’t seek repayment of enlistment bonuses

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, California Army National Guard soldiers watch the arrival of the body of soldier Sean Walsh, who died on Nov. 16 during a combat operation in Afghanistan, at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, California Army National Guard soldiers watch the arrival of the body of soldier Sean Walsh, who died on Nov. 16 during a combat operation in Afghanistan, at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)


BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has ordered the Pentagon to stop seeking repayments of enlistment bonuses given to California National Guard members who served overseas.

His decision comes in the wake of angry reaction from members of Congress who demanded he relieve the burden on the Guard members. And the White House said President Barack Obama has warned the Defense Department not to “nickel and dime” service members who were victims of fraud by overzealous recruiters.

In a statement issued during a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels, Carter said effort to collect reimbursement should stop “as soon as is practical.”

He said he has ordered the department to set up a streamlined process by Jan. 1, 2017, to help the troops get relief from the repayment obligation, because the current program has moved too slowly.

“This process has dragged on too long, for too many service members,” Carter said. “Too many cases have languished without action. That’s unfair to service members and to taxpayers.”

He said the new process will put “as little burden as possible on any soldier who received an improper payment through no fault of his or her own. At the same time, it will respect our important obligation to the taxpayer.”

The plan, Carter said, is to complete all cases by next July 1. He said about 2,000 members of the California Guard have been asked to repay the erroneous payments.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s