U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says he's acted within his authority to suspend a Pentagon order that California National Guardsmen repay thousands of dollars in enlistment bonuses. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday suspended a Pentagon order that California National Guardsmen repay thousands of dollars in enlistment bonuses and tuition assistance they had received by mistake. About 10,000 California National Guard troops had been ordered to repay enlistment bonuses - some of more than $15,000 - that were improperly given to them. The Los Angeles Times, which first reported on the bonuses last week, said audits revealed the California Guard had overpaid troops in order to entice them to join and meet enlistment targets more than a decade ago. The Obama administration has been criticized by some military families and Republicans - including presidential candidate Donald Trump - for not doing enough for veterans. There also have bipartisan calls in the U.S. Congress to forgive the overpayments. Carter, speaking to reporters in Brussels as he announced the suspension, said the law required the Pentagon keep open the option of someday again seeking repayment. "But the point is that ... there won't be any more collections until we put in place a process that can expeditiously and fairly deal with these issues," he said.