THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release February 9, 1996
February 9, 1996
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS SUBJECT: Benefits for Military Personnel Involuntarily Separated from the Armed Services as a Result of HIV
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (S. 1124) contains a provision I strongly oppose, which requires the discharge of all military personnel living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), regardless of whether there is any medical necessity for such discharge. This provision is clearly discriminatory and wholly unwarranted. It is also highly punitive. Service members discharged pursuant to this provision would not receive the benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled had they continued to serve until it became medically necessary for them to retire.
Consequently, I will give my full support to legislative efforts to repeal this provision.
In the meantime, I am committed to ensuring full benefits to these service members and their families to ameliorate the unfair burden this legislation will place on them. I am therefore directing you, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget and such other agencies as may be appropriate, to take all necessary steps, consistent with applicable law, to ensure that these service members and their families receive the full benefits they are entitled to, including, among other things, disability retirement pay, health care coverage for their families, and transition benefits such as vocational education.
This memorandum is for the internal management of the executive branch and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any person.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
# # #