Senator Janet Nguyen Joins Lawmakers to Demand Department of Defense Immediately Halt Collection of Enlistment Bonuses Given to California Guardsmen and Veterans

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Governor’s Military Council, Senator Janet Nguyen is relaying the sentiments of servicemembers and residents throughout California by condemning the Department of Defense’s (DoD) retrieval of bonuses paid to nearly 10,000 California National Guard Soldiers.

This strong reaction was prompted by an October 22, 2016 story in the Los Angeles Times, which reported that nearly 10,000 soldiers had been ordered to repay enlistment bonuses initially granted to them for enlisting or reenlisting in the National Guard during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, due to the gross mismanagement and fraudulent behavior of staff from the California National Guard, the bonuses in question were erroneously granted and the DoD is now seeking to recoup them.

In an effort to remedy this injustice, Senator Nguyen and four California lawmakers sent a joint letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, calling upon him to immediately halt all recovery efforts and to work with the State of California to find a favorable resolution.

“The recent decision by the Department of Defense demanding that almost 10,000 California Guardsmen and Veterans repay enlistment bonuses of $15,000 or more, earned during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is absolutely shameful and unacceptable,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “Our Veterans have sacrificed and given far too much for our nation, to now be asked to bear a cost brought about through no fault of their own.”

Looking to expedite communication between the State of California and the DoD, Senator Nguyen participated in a conference call briefing with Senator Jim Nielsen, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and the Military Department’s Director of Government Affairs, Colonel Darrin Bender. During the call they discussed future steps to be taken to find immediate relief for the soldiers impacted by this forced repayment of bonuses.  

To read Senator Nguyen’s letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, please CLICK HERE.