A new GI Bill for veterans who have served since the terrorist attacks in the US on Sept. 11, 2001, sponsored by Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), awaits Senate action after the House on May 15 passed related legislation. The bipartisan measure, introduced last year, would provide “improved educational benefits similar to those provided to World War II veterans,” says Webb. The Senate version (S.22), as of May 20, had 57 cosponsors, including former Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). On May 19, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said infloor remarks that he attended college under the original GI Bill, which was “one of the reasons why I am here today in the US Senate.” He called the new bill a “powerful recruitment tool for our military” and one that includes “a number of tools” to aid retention. (S.22 fact sheet) Other lawmakers are pursuing changes to the current Montgomery GI Bill.
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.