Arctic pay, car sharing, free flights home included in bill addressing military suicides | Local News

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Arctic pay back bonuses and no cost flights household are section of the provisions that Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan have included in laws to bolster the morale of Alaska troops.

Identified as the Don Youthful Warrior Act, the actions are intended to handle hardships knowledgeable by support associates at Alaska bases, the place the amount of suicides has spiked.

The bill also phone calls for a armed forces-huge audit to far better comprehend foreseeable future workforce demands for mental overall health counselors and social employees.

A scarcity of counselors has been identified at Alaska’s Army bases, in which providers members could wait months to entry services.

The Don Youthful Warrior Act was involved as an modification Thursday to the Protection Department’s fiscal 2023 expending monthly bill, which will be heard upcoming week in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sullivan, who sits on the Armed Providers Committee, is predicted to discuss the modification at the hearings.

“Since coming to the Senate, making certain Alaska’s company users and their families are properly cared for has remained one of my best priorities,” Sullivan claimed.

Sullivan, a colonel in the Maritime Reserves, claimed he has observed firsthand the rigor demanded of armed forces members serving in Alaska’s harsh setting.

“It’s no solution that instruction and living in the Arctic can at situations existing problems relative to other duty stations,” Sullivan said.

“Our legislation acknowledges the critical position that Arctic warriors enjoy in the protection of our nation and alleviates some of the hardships that are affiliated with dwelling in these types of a remote and austere area,” Murkowski explained.

The Don Youthful Arctic Warrior Act presents the following provisions for qualifying services members:

• Arctic pay out: Troops assigned to cold weather functions or required to “maintain proficiency” in cold temperature functions receive an excess $300 in pay back for every month.

• Internet allowance: The allowance will offset the bigger costs for every month world wide web provider that navy customers spend in Alaska compared to the Lessen 48 states. The allowance will be for navy users by rank who have better money hardship.

• Free flights home: Army users with ranks of E-5 and beneath will have entry to one particular cost-free flight house for the duration of a a few-calendar year tour.

• Motor vehicle sharing: A two-12 months pilot program establishes motor vehicle sharing to make it less difficult for navy associates to travel off base during cost-free time.

• Counseling: Psychological and behavioral overall health counselors will be granted license reciprocity to raise the amount of industry experts and boost access to care.

• Schooling: Graduate-level counseling and social operate education programs will be established at the Uniformed Companies College of the Wellness Sciences. Scholarships also will be provided.

• Retention bonuses: Medical psychologists, social employees and counselors will be suitable for retention bonuses.

• Workforce audit: An assessment of the behavioral well being workforce will be performed to have an understanding of the numbers essential to fulfill demand across the armed forces.

• Safe storage of weapons: A voluntary pilot software to encourage safe and sound storage of personal firearms will be introduced and include no cost lock containers for individuals.

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