Veterans for America (VFA) strongly applauds Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) for introducing H.R. 6205, the Stop-loss Compensation Act, which requires that U.S. servicemembers whose tours of duty are involuntarily extended, commonly known as "stop-loss," receive special pay for the duration of their extension.
More than 70,000 Soldiers have been stop-lossed since 2002. During the recent Iraq troop "surge," the number of troops stop-lossed reached 12,235. Such orders harm the morale of our fighting men and women and are nothing more than a short-term crutch for maintaining force levels. As Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said "we need to move away from [stop-loss] as rapidly as we can."
Of all the abuses borne by our servicemembers since the beginning of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, excessive reliance on stop-loss is one of the most egregious. Involuntary service negates the promise of our all-volunteer military. By forcing tens of thousands of troops to stay in the military, we have broken the contract that our servicemembers willingly entered into with their country.
VFA applauds Rep. Sutton's efforts to mitigate the burdens placed on our troops and their families by stop-loss orders. We encourage her colleagues in Congress to support this legislation.