Somehow troop benefits are considered the least important priority for “readiness.”
Almost a year ago (January 15, 2014) I posted the headline, “Paul Ryan Justifies Cutting Veteran Pensions: ‘We Just Freed Up $6 Billion For Readiness.’”
It turns out the 2014 bipartisan budget (!) was not just a fluke. It was a precedent. The situation is summarized at BenSwann.com: “Pentagon Cuts Benefits for Troops in 2016 Budget.”
The Hill reported that the Pentagon is “planning another push to whittle down benefits for troops when it submits its 2016 budget to the White House in February,” despite the fact that this decision has been met with “fierce opposition” from military groups.
According to the Daily Caller, the Pentagon’s budget, which will span from 2016 to 2020, has left many Military members feeling “betrayed and frustrated,” as they conclude the “longest war in the nation’s history.”
The President of the Military Officers Association of America, retired Navy Adm. Norb Ryan, told The Hill that while the rate of growth of compensation did increase greatly between 2000 and 2010, due to the surge of forces to Iraq and Afghanistan, it has decreased drastically since 2011.
“Not only has the rate of growth for personnel compensation growth slowed,” said Ryan. “It has gone negative for the last three years, from 2011 on.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned of the upcoming benefit cuts on December 7, when he said that spending too much money on benefits and pay would take it away from being prepared for combat.
“Adjustments are going to have to be made because if they’re not made down into the future then we will essentially end up with a hollow force,” said Hagel. “We will have a lot of benefits and pay, but there’ll be no money for readiness.”
I am not a military expert, but I don’t understand this reasoning. Who do you want to defend the country? People who are provided for or people who are financially struggling? Another question: Do you want to be forced to accept whoever will take your job or do you want to be able to afford to pick the best applicants?
Is this the mindset that allowed the scandal of the VA secret waiting list?