Last month, during his speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Defense Secretary Robert Gates rightly warned that the costs of military pay, military benefits, the military’s retirement scheme (i.e. pensions), and the DOD’s HC programs are growing on autopilot, incessantly, and that they are eating up an ever larger share of the core defense budget (6% this FY, and will eat up 10% in FY2015 unless their growth is stopped).
To stop, if not reverse, the cost of these programs – the DOD’s version of entitlement programs – he has proposed general outlines for serious reforms which, if implemented, will make these programs fairer, financially stable, affordable, and tiered, while justly compensating every Servicemember.
Under his (and my) proposals, not a single servicemember would see any pay cut, and no retiree would see any cut of his military pension. What would happen would be that the current one-size-fits-all systems of pay, benefits, and pensions would be abolished and replaced by tiered, graduated systems that would benefit people proportionately to their speciality. Desk officers, people doing make-work jobs, and grass mowers would be worst paid; those Servicemembers who do the most dangerous jobs (e.g. SOCOM personnel, nuclear deterrent operators (who are not allowed to make even the slightest margin of error), and CSAR aircraft crews) would be paid and benefitted best (and far better than now), because they risk their heads everyday. The length of service required for military pensions would probably be extended, and the system would be changed to encourage people to stay with the military. TRICARE program premiums, which have not increased since the program was created in 1995, would be modestly incrased. This would be fair and financially sustainable, and also allow the DOD to retain high-quality personnel.
These reforms are absolutely necessary. But this doesn’t matter to misleading groups like the misnamed “Move America Forward” organization headed by armchair general Melanie Morgan, which has vehemently protested against these reform proposals and used insulting language (uncalled for) against Secretary Gates. It has called him “despicable” and other such stuff.
They’ve also claimed that the troops who are serving right now in Iraq and Afghanistan, in temperatures over 100F, will see pay cuts, benefit cuts, and huge out-of-pocket costs of drugs for their kids when they come back home. Those are blatant lies. The truly despicable people are those who, like MAF, lie about these reforms, protest against them, and try to prevent them from being implemented – thus imperiling both American servicemembers and American taxpayers by defending obsolete, unaffordable one-size-fits-all schemes whose costs are skyrocketing. If these reforms are not implemented within the next few years, or are watered down, these programs will be eating up an ever larger share of the DOD budget and will eventually bankrupt the DOD and American taxpayers – at a time when America’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 97%.
MAF does not defend the troops or advocate for them. It is instead fighting a purely political war against the current President, his Secretary of Defense, and whatever policies they propose, right or wrong.
MAF has also shown that it doesn’t know what it’s talking about and is totally ignorant about defense issues. It claimed that Gates “should be able to find another place in the defense budget to cut $500 mn USD.” That claim is totally false. It shows that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Obama has demanded that Gates cut not $500 mn, but $400 BILLION over 12 years from the defense budget, i.e. a whopping $33 bn per year! And he has said he wants this to be used for “deficit reduction”, not to be reinvested in the DOD. Regardless of what it’s going to be reinvested in, though, and it will not be defense, he has ordered the DOD to cut its budget by $33 bn per year. The DOD cannot find such huge savings by implementing efficiencies alone. It will need to reduce the costs of its existing programs, including HC programs, pay, benefits, and the retirement system.
Speaking of “other places in the defense budget”, what “other places in the defense budget” was MAF talking about? The equipment expenditures? Does MAF want American troopers to fight using obsolete, decrepit, worn out equipment? Or maybe does it want them to fight using spitballs? Or maybe it was talking about the DOD’s infrastructure? Does it want American servicemembers to live and train at decrepit bases? Or maybe it meant training spending? Does it want to send undertrained or untrained personnel to war zones?
MAF’s claims and protestations are ridiculous. No intelligent person treats that organization seriously.
Here’s MAF’s entire email (newsletter):
“OBAMA ADMIN WANTS TO CUT TROOP PAY!THEY’RE FIGHTING FOR OUR SAFETY AND
FREEDOM – OBAMA WANTS TO TAKE THEIR PAY!
In the latest and most outrageous move, the Obama administration wants to cut pay and/or benefits for our troops and their families, even those deployed overseas fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, in order to reign in budgetary spending.
It’s the classic game that the liberals play whenever they are in power – they are always quick to claim they support the troops, but the military is always first on the chopping block. Yesterday Secretary of Defense Robert Gates revealed that the Obama Administration was considering cutting military paychecks when he said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.
“The defense secretary said the strategic review could require politicians to look at other uncomfortable choices, including pay levels for service members, new approaches for retirement and pensions, or higher healthcare costs for working-age retirees.”
– David Alexander, Reuters 24 MAY 2011
Thanks to the Obama Administration, the gilded age where America supported it’s troops in times of war may be coming to an end, and this commander-in-chief may be asking our troops to fight two wars while at the same time GIVING UP pay, and benefits both for themselves, their spouses and their children!DON’T LET OBAMA CUT OUR TROOPS PAYCHECKS!
MAKE A DONATION TO MAF TO HELP US PROTECT
OUR TROOPS AND STOP THIS INSANE IDEA!
At Move America Forward we advocate on behalf of our troops and their missions in the war on terror, and that goes beyond sending care packages to the troops on the front lines. We will stand and fight the Administration on this because it’s unconscionable to ask our troops to take a pay cut while there are a million other places in the budget to cut. Our troops deserve fair and decent compensation, and they deserve for their families to be taken care of after what they sacrifice for us every day!
If you ever wonder about what our troops go through for our sake, just remember where they are serving – it’s almost June now, and these troops are out in the middle of the desert in Baghdad where temperatures reach blazing triple digits on a daily basis.
Afghanistan also reaches extreme temperatures, even worse because it has extreme highs in the summer and extreme cold snaps in the winter.
With Memorial Day coming up this Monday, we must show that we support our troops, and in high temperatures like these, our troops are going to need these care packages! Each care package comes with Gatorade to help cool off our troops and keep them hydrated in the hot desert sun!
MEMORIAL DAY IS ALMOST HERE! SEND A CARE PACKAGE WITH SOME GATORADE FOR OUR THIRSTY TROOPS NOW!
Can you imagine what it would feel like to be serving overseas, fighting the war on terror in Iraq or Afghanistan, far away from your family, and then you receive a letter in from your own Government, saying that your paycheck is going to get cut and the prescription medicine for your kid’s ear infection that used to get covered by your military healthcare plan is now going to have to be paid out of pocket and there’s nothing you can do about it because you’re 6,700 miles away from home dodging bullets and trying to shoot back and kill these crazy radical Islamic terrorists!
It’s a slap in the face to our military for the Obama administration to be pushing for this, and it is despicable that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is doing the dirty work for President Obama and breaking the news to the troops who have served under him. What a horrid legacy to leave. He will retire next month on this weak note of failure to find a more suitable place to cut the $500 million that Obama has demanded the Pentagon cut.