Skip to comments.Pentagon budget slashes benefits
Posted on 02/24/2014 3:43:55 PM PST by Libloather
Benefits for active duty personnel and their families would be slashed under a budget proposal released Monday by the Pentagon.
The budget would dramatically reduce the Armys size and trigger a new round of controversial base closures, while cutting healthcare co-pays and deductibles and reducing the subsidies military families get for housing and low-cost goods.
Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel acknowledged the cuts would be controversial, but argued they were unavoidable in a belt-tightening era following the end of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Congress has taken some important steps in recent years to control the growth in compensation spending, but we must do more, he said.
Lawmakers and groups that represent veterans and the military charged the Pentagon with balancing its pocketbook on the backs of soldiers and their families.
We know the Defense Department must make difficult budget decisions, but these cuts would hit service members, making it harder for them and their families to make ends meet, said Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and CEO or Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
Coupled with a 1 percent ceiling on pay hikes and assuming a 5 percent annual hike in housing costs, the Military Officers Association of America estimated an army sergeant with a family of four would see an annual loss of $1,400. An Army captain would lose $2,100, it said.
The group said that doesnt calculate other costs that would hit military families, such as increased prices at military commissaries because of another budget proposal, and an increase in healthcare fees for military family members.
Hagel cast the cuts as unavoidable, and necessary to avoid steeper cuts to military personnel.
He said payroll costs have risen 40 percent more than growth in the private sector.
While he said those hikes were the right thing to do during war, today DoD faces a vastly different fiscal situation We must now consider fair and responsible adjustments to our overall military compensation package.
This is the first time in 13 years we will be presenting a budget to the Congress of the United States that's not a war-footing budget, Hagel said.
The budget includes proposals to cut the growth of housing allowances for troops and their families, and to stop reimbursing renters insurance entirely. Subsidies at domestic military commissaries that provide military families with low-cost goods would be reduced.
Only the medically retired would escape proposed cuts to healthcare co-pays and increases to deductibles.
While basic pay raises will be held to 1 percent in 2015 under the budget, general and flag officers would see a pay freeze.
The budget also calls for a new round of military base closings in 2017, which lawmakers have fiercely resisted during the past two budget requests.
Over the next five years, the Pentagon plans to reduce the size of the active duty Army from 520,000 to between 440,000 and 450,000. The Army National Guard would also be reduced from 355,000 to about 335,000, and the Army Reserve would be cut from 205,000 to 195,000. The Marine Corps would also shrink, from about 190,000 to 182,000.
The call for a smaller military represents a turn from a decade of ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when Army troop levels peaked at 570,000 active troops.
Hagel acknowledged some added risk in having a small ground force, but said ground troops would still be able to defeat in enemy in one theater, and defend the homeland and support air and naval forces in another.
The Pentagon also proposed cuts to programs not geared toward future wars.
It would eliminate the Air Forces A-10 Warthog attack jets, which provide ground troops with close air support. That would save $3.5 billion over five years, Hagel said.
It would retire the Air Forces entire fleet of U2 manned spy planes, and replace them with unmanned Global Hawk aircraft.
The budget cuts the number of Navy littoral combat ships from 52 to 32.
The elimination of the A-10 will be particularly controversial with lawmakers.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) called it a serious mistake that would cost lives, and warned she should fight it.
By making the cuts, the Pentagon is protecting investments in special operations, cyber resources, and the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
It will also invest $26 billion in what officials are calling an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative that would be used for modernization.
Officials said more details about the fund would be released by the White House on March 4, when the administration releases the 2015 budget request.
Although the 2015 budget falls within the $496 billion budget cap imposed by Congress, the Pentagons budget plan for the next five years would exceed those ceilings by $115 billion.
Unless those ceilings are raised, Pentagon officials said deeper cuts will be made, including reducing the Armys active duty size to 420,000 troops.
Sequestration requires cuts so deep, so quickly, that we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough, Hagel said.
Liberalism and anti-Americanism continues. The Congress ignores while America burns.
The rat bastards. I hate these guys.
time to start arresting the traitors in DC
Translation: Dominance of US military "will no longer be tolerated" (by the Obama regime)
It's time ALL Americans understand that IS what they're saying
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This ba$tard is a so called republican, may he burn in hell.
The plans have the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Whoa! That makes me feel so much better. What more could you ask for than the endorsement of five political hacks and sycophants? I mean, is that not the best recommendation one could ask for - five guys who have demonstrated their ability to put advancement over country?
-- Barack Hussein Obama
"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the
national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian
national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as
-- Barack Hussein Obama
“It would eliminate the Air Forces A-10 Warthog attack jets, which provide ground troops with close air support. That would save $3.5 billion over five years, Hagel said.”
I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have to think that a rugged, low-cost to operate and maintain attack craft that can carry a lot of goodies under its wings still has some uses. If anything, I’d modernize ‘em (glass cockpit, all-weather capability) not retire them.
“It will also invest $26 billion in what officials are calling an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative that would be used for modernization.”
What would that be more “Muslim Outreach” like with the space program?
These people don’t vote for Democrats. You can’t expect them to be treated like illegal immigrants or Obamaphone holders.
"But it is still possible
So let us weaken it, cut it down in size and reduce its capability.
That way we can be sure."
Are you freakin' kidding me?? Even with those raises the avarage military guy still earns way less than any civilian counterpart.
Cut somewhere else, Knucklehead. These people are too valuable to US interests. Cut the EPA, Dept. of Agriculture, Energy, and/or Education.
Close air support is the game changer in a ground war.
Obama wants to eliminate close air support for US ground forces to reduce our ability to project power on the ground.
That's because Obama has done his best to kill growth in the private sector in the last 5 years.
Let's compare it to growth in welfare, food stamps, etc.
Active duty Army will be 420,000?
That’s a round off error in the People’s Liberation Army.
If they decide to pick a fight, means we go nuclear on Day 1.
Might have something with driving Fairchild Republic out of business.
And having to give Boeing billions to do the wing update.
Republic would have been able to do it on a sustaining engineering contract...but no, they hadda be dumped.
Costs you know. Gotta pay more billons for the children of illegals.
You nailed it, the JCS are simply yes men and will do whatever Dear Leader tells them to do.
> Even with those raises the avarage military guy still earns way less than any civilian counterpart.
Toss in clothing allowance, hazard pay, housing allowance, reup bonuses, etc. They don’t do all that bad.
But hey! Gotta feed the "GimmeDatFreeStuff" Army!
Seems to me the republic would be better served left to the Marines once again. My squadron Vmfat-201 in the early 70’s had 33 phantoms, the largest Phantom squadron ever in existence. Give me 4000 F4j’s or F16’s and Marine pilots will rule the day once again. We might even see some Generals flying again, make it personal. The air force Gay brigade isn’t cutting it, prove me wrong af personnel, take back your reputation.
Is that a good idea?
The Obamatrons wouldn’t be slashing veterans benefits and military pay to actually discourage enrollments.... would they?
Active Duty ping.
To Hagel and the POS in the WH: There, fixed it for you, you piece of human detritus...
as far as the Joint chiefs, if we stopped giving pensions to military we would not have these arrogant perfumed princes in there....the pension is the dangling carrot and it keeps many unqualified people in the service when they should have gotten out long ago.....
I do not trust the military one iota...not with leaders like these...
there's lots of reasons to hate the bammey boy and his ring of traitors, and these devastating cuts to our military...but the military along with all of govt service has gotten pretty bloated with excess....
I'm sure the plan will be to ultimately have a draft...you know, go after the solid citizens to be fodder for the dictators whims...
Didn't we JUST go through almost the exact same thing and then the pols fell all over themselves trying to undo the damage?
Do they realize that after THAT experience, Congress isn't going to touch this with a ten foot pole?
I remember living hand to mouth until E-4 and my wife was working too.
If you include full medical coverage compensation, poll a few other freepers about the quality of military medicine especially for their dependents. BTW, I personally have no gripes in that area but I have heard plenty.
If you include on-base quarters remember that many Wherry units were declared "substandard" and were open to lower enlisted grades (usually E-4 and up) for less than full BAQ.
And yes, that $25 monthly clothing allowance always made up for the stained and damaged fatigues I got from hydraulic leaks and battery acid splashes. Fortunately my wife could sew up the punctures and rips that safety wires and other pesky object could cause.
The commissary was an asset for sure, the BX was laughable.
I was fortunate to be in an AFSC that had a re-enlistment bonus. Most don't. The Bonuses were designed to keep top skills and to compensate for inordinately dangerous duty. Some have civilian equivalent like EOD, running into fires and guarding malls against suicide bombers.
And finally, that four weeks of vacation. Given the accounting system for leave, the first day and last day of a leave were counted as whole days and weekends/holidays were also counted as leave days. So, that 4 weeks (implied 30 days) you so thoughtfully cited really amounted to something more like 22 days. Still not a bad deal except you actually had to get authorization to take it from you commander. Our commander had a generous policy (because of our mission) and granted 5 day increments based on mission needs.
Oh yes, you forgot another leave benefit: 30 days convalescent leave if wounded and 30 days survivor leave if repatriated after being a POW. What is the civilian equivalent of that huge benefit??