(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E152-E153]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                            HON. ADAM SMITH

                             of washington

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor Michael 
Higgins, a professional staff member for the House Armed Services 
Committee, on his retirement after over 40 years of public service.
  Mike's dedication to the personnel and families of the U.S. Armed 
Services began in 1970, when he joined the U.S. Air Force as a career 
personnel officer. His assignments in the Air Force included the 
Military Personnel Center, the Office of the Secretary of the Air 
Force, and a variety of unit personnel positions. After retiring as a 
lieutenant colonel in 1990, Mike joined the staff of the Committee on 
Armed Services, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, where he served for 
most of his 23 years on Capitol Hill. His work has affected the lives 
of millions of active, reservist, retired, and civilian Department of 
Defense men and women and their families. His expertise on all policy 
and fiscal matters related to the sustainment of the morale, welfare, 
and recreation programs of the military services, including the 
commissary system and military exchanges, helped ensure a high quality 
of life for all who have served in the military.
  Mike's tireless efforts to protect and enhance the quality of life 
for service members resulted in many notable achievements. His early 
advocacy and shaping of statutes that required the military services to 
consider and address individual service members' deployment time helped 
lead the Services to recognize that frequent back-to-back deployments, 
combined with extensive training even when not deployed, were a 
detriment to readiness. His recognition of the special challenges and 
needs of service members also led to the drafting of the critical 
skills retention bonus--a very flexible tool that allowed military 
leaders to target bonuses and bonus amounts at retaining people with 
crucial military skills, such as senior special operations non-
commissioned officers and intelligence analysts.
  Mike also helped transform the environment supporting our service 
members. His oversight of the initial implementation of the Military 
Child Care Act of 1989 resulted in the world-class military child care 
system that exists today. He helped make subsistence and housing 
payments more consistent with the real-world conditions faced by 
service members and their families, and eased compensation penalties 
for military widows and disabled retirees. More importantly, Mike 
established himself as an honest broker and listener to all parties, 
including advocacy groups, particularly in managing the committee's 
response to the ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy from its inception 
until its repeal in 2011.
  Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I recognize Michael 
Higgins. Mike personifies

[[Page E153]]

the ideal of public service to his fellow citizens. I wish him the best 
in his retirement.