In a flurry of legislation being tacked on to the Senate version of the 2006 defense authorization bill is one that will provide relief to surviving military spouses. An amendment sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson (R-Fla.) that passed 93-5 would eliminate the DOD Survivor Benefit Plan-VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset. It would also accelerate the “paid-up” SBP coverage date from 2008 to Oct. 1, 2005. This is not the end of the story, though, because the House, which passed its authorization measure in May, takes a different view. All will have to be worked out in conference.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.