With his signing of the "2020 National Defense Authorization Act" democratically elected US President Donald Trump has enacted several structural changes to the way US military personnel are compensated (archived). Among the costlier changes:
- A "widows tax" restricting compensation for surviving family members to single program has been rescinded. Surviving family members may now claim benefits from all programs they qualify for up to the program maximum. Previously, payments under any single program reduced potential payments across across the entire space of programs on a dollar for dollar basis thereby restricting any particular widow's compensation to merely the maximum for a single program.
- Military personnel may now file administrative "medical malpractice" claims against the Pentagon though they are still barred from bringing claims against the military to court.
As a smaller concern the annual adjustment to base pay for military personnel was set at 3.1 percent. The total cost of the bill, which is not inclusive of funding for many of the USG's misadventures abroad, comes in at 738 billion USD. The misadventures are funded seperately on an ad hoc basis.
These changes in the US military's cost structure comes as they are demonstrating an increasing poverty of capability. An investigation into the USS John McCain's casualty inducing collision with a much larger and slower Liberian commercial ship that did not suffer casualties is pointing blame at Navy brass's insistence on touchscreen bridge steering controls (archived). The touchscreen controls were chosen over more traditional solutions due to cosmetic considerations.