You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Editorial: End the budget voodoo

May. 29, 2013 - 04:50PM   |  
  • Filed Under

No one begrudges troops the best possible pay and benefits, which is why a bipartisan House panel felt emboldened to raise the White Houseís proposed 2014 pay raise from 1 percent to 1.8 percent.

That would keep pace with private-sector pay growth, at a cost of about $536 million.

As in past years, lawmakers are reluctant to crimp military benefits, especially in time of war.

But in truth, they rarely are willing to make hard budget decisions, and thatís starting to pose a threat to readiness. Along with driving up personnel costs, they shamelessly fight attempts to close excess installations and demand the services continue to buy vehicles, aircraft and ships they neither want nor need.

Meanwhile, under the absurd sequester, they force the Pentagon to absorb $500 billion in across-the-board cuts over the next decade.

Clearly, America canít sustain an all-volunteer force without appropriate compensation. It also canít maintain readiness without setting priorities and letting military leaders make prudent long-term decisions.

Absent reform, the cost of the all-volunteer force will break the military. The $46 billion-a-year (and growing) retirement system, for example, simply was not conceived for increasingly common lifespans of 80-plus years.

Unless cost growth is checked, the choice facing future leaders wonít be the size of the pay raise, but how many more troops, ships and squadrons must be cut.

Congress canít keep jacking up the price the Pentagon pays for people, weapons, bases and everything else while also squeezing the overall budget top line. The result will inevitably turn the worldís finest military into the definition of a hollow force.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook