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House, Senate pass National Defense Authorization Act

Bill could affect number of chief dental officers

December 06, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The U.S. House and Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for a 10 percent reduction in the number of general officers and could potentially affect the number of chief dental officers.

Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act assists lawmakers in setting policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense, military construction and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. The $618.7 billion bill, which passed the House on Dec. 1 and Senate Dec. 8, also calls for an overhaul of Tricare, the military health care system, and a 2.1 percent pay increase for all service members.

For more than 10 years, the Association has worked to maintain current law, which requires the Army and Air Force Dental Corps chiefs to hold the rank of a two-star major general (in current law, the Navy Dental Corps chief serves as a one-star rear admiral). Despite ADA advocacy efforts, the 2017 NDAA bill permits each branch to determine the rank of the dental corps chiefs (instead of an absolute reduction in rank as sought in previous years). This would give the branches the flexibility to meet the report's goal of an across-the-board reduction in the number of flag officers overall by 10 percent.

"The Association is disappointed at the decision to limit the number of officers in our armed forces," said ADA President Gary L. Roberts. "As the oldest and largest dental professional organization in the world, the ADA is committed to the oral health of all Americans, and is particularly concerned with the oral health of the citizens who serve in our armed services."
 
For more information about the ADA's advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/advocacy.