Two articles of note came on my radar this week. First this one in which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen says that pay cuts and benefit cuts are "on the table":
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen warned against taking the "relatively easy" choice of cutting hardware while maintaining the increasing costs of paying and providing ongoing health care to troops and retirees.
"Two of the big places the money is, is in pay and benefits," Mullen told defense reporters at a June 2 breakfast meeting in Washington. "And so when I say all things are on the table, all things are on the table."
DoD. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that nearly 10% of their budget goes to health benefits for active and reserve members.
In a May 24 speech, Gates said:
"Sustaining … the weapons and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who use them is increasingly difficult given the massive growth of other components of the defense budget, the 'tail' if you will -- operations, maintenance, pay and benefits, and other forms of overhead...America's defense enterprise has consumed ever higher level of resources as a matter of routine just to maintain, staff and administer itself."Mullen confirms, saying that pay and benefits should be cut before programs and personnel.
This dilemma is a result of Obama's proposed $400 billion in DoD budget cuts proposesd in April over the next 12 years.
The second article that caught my eye explains how Gates is looking specifically at cuts in the military retirement system:
“A more tiered and targeted system, one that weights compensation toward the most high-demand and dangerous specialties, could bring down costs while attracting and retaining the high-quality personnel we need,”
One proposal still floating around is this one:
The main proposal on the shelf at the Pentagon comes from the 10th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation, released in 2008. It suggests lowering the years-of-service requirement from 20 to 10 while eliminating pension payments immediately upon retirement, which for some troops comes as early as age 37. Under that plan, troops with 10 to 20 years of service would receive retirement pay starting at age 60, and those with more than 20 years would receive checks starting at age 57.
This is still very much in flux and discussion; how it would be grandfathered in, how each branch of service would adapt these proposals to their own specificbranch, etc. But now is the time to let your legislator know how you feel about $400 billion in cuts to the military while we continue to expand entitlement programs. We can pay health care and education costs for illegals but we can't fund our own military? What's wrong with this picture?