Senator Calls for Cutting DoD Support Programs

November 15, 2012 | Terry Howell

Sen. Tom Coburn recently released a report, titled ‘Department of Everything,’ in which he claims that eliminating DoD activities like commissaries and grammar schools could save $68 billion over 10 years.

Coburn’s report details several “duplicative and wasteful” programs that the report argues have nothing to do with the nation’s security that are wasting money and resources. However, many servicemembers and military retirees will not be pleased to see that commissaries are once again in the budget cutting crosshairs.

Coburn argues that the following DOD programs duplicate other resources and programs:

  • Non-Military Research and Development ($6 billion)
  • Stateside DoD Elementary Schools and STEM programs ($15.2 billion)
  • Alternative Energy ($700 million)
  • Commissaries ($9 billion)
  • Overhead, Support, and Supply Services ($37 billion)

The report has some interesting findings including more than $1 million spent on the 100-year Starship Project, and $100,000 for a workshop titled “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?”

The report highlights the following list of obscure DoD expenditures:

  • Pentagon-branded beef jerky.
  • A reality cooking show called Grill it Safe featuring two “Grill Sergeants” who performed a 46-minute cooking video.
  • Pentagon-run microbreweries.
  • A smart phone app to alert users when to take a coffee break.
  • Research examining the social interaction between robots and babies.

Coburn’s press release states that the $67.9 billion in savings in the “Department of Everything” report could pay for a third of the cost of the planned fleet of new strategic bombers for the Air Force. It could, likewise, pay a third of the cost of the fleet of Ohio-class replacement nuclear submarines for the Navy. For the Army, $16 billion over ten years – about 25 percent of the savings in the report – could mean robust funding for modernization or purchase of new rifles and light machine guns for every soldier.

Click here to download the full ‘Department of Everything’ report.

Let your elected officials know how you feel about the efforts to end commissary benefits.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

Comments

  1. Wow very interesting report!!!!!!!

  2. Check out CBO's history regarding predictions and accuracy. Type on your search engine and check out their record especially by Forbes. Of course this is the "gold standard" lmao.

    • Mr. Warmth says:

      Hummmm! Is Senator Coburn in the pocket of major Grocery Retail chains? Inquiring minds want to know. I do agree with a lot of the cuts he has suggested on this list though. What's the DOD doing in the Micro brewery business? He also listed Overhead – Supply and Support. Does this mean employees from Lockheed are going to get deployment notices. What does he mean by that? Now if members of the House and Senate would only cut their pay and benefits, I might be a little more understanding; however, I don't foresee that happening with our current crop of fearless leaders.

  3. I have to agree with a lot of things in this report. Really and truly when you factor in the "surcharge" and the tip for your bagger you really don't save that much over a civilian grocery. And I don't see the point in having DOD schools within the US…every child should have access to a quality education. The focus and a funding shouldn't be split between DOD and the rest of the US.

    • SGM Herman Clemens says:

      If you watch prices you safe a lot,just one example there is always one brand of canned vegetable for anywhere from 50 cents to 75 cents verses 1.45 in the grocery store. Also meats are much cheaper. We buy large orders so it definitely is a savings. My husband gave 42 years of his life to the military now they want to start taking all of his benefits away one at a time.

    • ServingUSA says:

      The time and effort to take your children to a public school makes it worth having the DOD schools and to know your children are safe while your on duty from unknown Domestic threats.

    • When kids move as frequently as military kids do, they need schools that are prepared to address the special needs that arise due to their situation. I have been very pleased at how the DoD schools implement programs to keep kids on target despite PCS schedules. And they are more in tune with complications involving a child or family dealing with deployments, etc. Specifically on the education front, students, especially those with 504 plans and IEPs, need swift review and implementation of measures meant to ensure these kids don’t fall between the cracks. DoD schools, at least in my experience, are excellent in all of this. School systems are failing our kids most everywhere. DoD kids would be at an even greater disadvantage without DoD schools to assist.

    • We must have commissaries overseas and at more remote stateside locations. If we eliminate stateside elementary schools get ready for the local school districts to demand base housing pay property taxes…..I would.

      • Blayman usa ret says:

        "If we eliminate stateside elementary schools get ready for the local school districts to demand base housing pay property taxes."

        Scottret –
        In areas where there are no stateside DOD schools, the military pays a pre-designated amount to the school district for students to attend. That applies to all levels, K-12. In fact, if you are overseas and elect to send your child to a local school, the military also covers that. You only pay property taxes if you OWN property. If you live in base housing, you are a 'renter/tenant.'

    • It's important for large installations to have schools or parents will need to bus or drive their children long distances to school twice a day and let's not forget the after school events.

      • Blayman usa ret says:

        Ricardo,
        If your child goes to a public school offbase, the school district sends buses to get them to and from school. Besides, what's the big deal? Families who are not military drive their kids to school and pick them up every day. Depending on the area, some drive as much as 10 miles to get kids to school. Surely a well-trained military family can accomplish that.

    • Voix Velour says:

      Ljsidmt. MANY YEARS BACK, before the UNION DEMOLITION DERBY TOOK OUT OUR QUALITY CONTROL OF SYTEMS OF EDUCATION, I attended a "teacher conference" when our son was in first grade, and I obviously anticipating a spectacular "review," which it WAS NOT! Turned out "they," a "few" teachers had come up with some kind of OPEN SCHOOL, where students would not be constrained by "grade level;" and she literally beamed to inform my son was "The Teatherball Champion;" first thing he did on arrival was go out to PLAY!@ It has only gotten worse! So in terms of guarantee that children of personnel of our Armed Forces are not handicapped in place by UNION SECURED ineptitude and incompetence, this particular protection is critical.

      • Blayman usa ret says:

        Voix Velour

        Don't know where your experience took place, but I can personally speak for the schools OUTSIDE large metro areas. My children received excellent educations in public schools with my very capable oversight. My grandchildren are receiving an excellent education in our public school systems. They are not in large metropolitan districts either. AND their parents are involved in their education.
        I recall that there were some locales where experimentation with new ideas was taking place however my children were never involved. Please, don't paint the entire country with the same brush. It hasn't fallen completely into the toilet.

  4. The Commissary is a poorly run organization. A product can be one price one week and a dollar more the next week and then go down to the first price. You can never count on a product being there when you go shopping. Or they move the entire store around , making no sense at all. I have never had decent responses at Customer Service either. Quite frankly, the same can be said about the liquor store on base. The price of abottle of wine I purchase is now more than the off base liquor stores. When I complained about this the manager told me that the off base establishments complained that the base store shouldn't discount so much because this affected their off base business! I am sorry, but I thought the service member was the one to benefit from a few good prices in both the commissary and the liquor store. I did not think that the base was there to serve off base establishments and make them happy! All of this takes place at the Newport Naval Base in Newport,RI. I believe the military and their families should have the convenience of an on base commissary, liquor store, and gas station. They are on this base and cost the same or more than off base.

    • Blayman usa ret says:

      "
      The Commissary is a poorly run organization. A product can be one price one week and a dollar more the next week and then go down to the first price."

      Anita,
      This also happens in stores 'on the economy.' It's all based on the cost of doing business at any point in the chain. Rearranging stores is a marketing strategy. There is a presumption that we humans must satisfy an innate (pre-civilization) need to hunt for our food. So, they rearrange the store layout to accommodate that 'need.' It is also a strategy to keep you in the store longer because an undisciplined shopper will see and purchase items they did not come in for. Ever go for a loaf of bread and come home with 3 bags full? It works.

    • Blayman usa ret says:

      Since liquor is not an important or frequent purchase for me, I pay the price and go on my way. Personally, I don't believe that military installations need a liquor store so they can go bye bye. If you're in need of booze, get it off base.
      Not sure about the on-base gas station. Have been enough places that the difference was negligible. One thing for sure, no long lines an the off base sites.
      Overall, military folks do all of their shopping on the first and 15th which means ridiculous crowds. I have never liked those long lines so I stay away.

  5. W.M.Teslik says:

    Retired CMSGT. I served my country with honor for 42 years.I appreciate the so called perks that I now use.The years from entering during WW2 until now were not always pleasant.There must be a reason why many retirees live near a military base.One thing that you find is how helpful and overly friendly every one is to those of us who have aged and you do not always find this in your civilian atmosphere.You always have the sense of security that is hard to find now in your civilian shopping centers. When have you ever heard of a mugging in a shopping area on a military base.Please no not take these things that we have right fully earned from us.

  6. Terry miller says:

    Did Ed funds are impact funds to account for those living on post/base and the school distict gets no tax revenue. Dos also supports overseas schools. Senator c needs to give full disclosure on all aspects of his cuts. Commissary cuts are iffy. Savings are real. Deals on market are real. Take advantage of them. Cut. Others.

  7. If you want to cut duplicates, start in the Federal Buracracy in Washington!

    • Amen!, C. Smith. They should look at cutting out all of their wasteful programs that they have. Getting rid of all the Czars that Obama has, etc. Quite sending money to all of thoses countries that hate America. The Commissaries are a benefit that was promised to us who are and have been in the Military. Clinton took away our free medical benefit just because he was a dreaft dogger, etc. Now this!! We have to fight for our benefits that are left folks or they "WILL" take away everything!! God bless America and our troops!!

  8. We need the commisary as well as other things, we have already been robbed once when you so called political jerks cut our retirement pay and dental benefits. You increased Tricare what are we doing here going back to slavery or what. What else do you want take from us after we have gave up our lives to protect you all.

    Gunny B
    Field Artillery

  9. Please stop comparing us to civilians! Where are the civilians when we put our lives on the line. It's amazing what happens after the elections.

  10. shirley blevins says:

    As the widow of a navy Med.CPO whose life was taken as direct consequence of agent orange I am horrified that benefits our servicemen earned are slowly but surely being taken from the &families.

    What kind of count hsbe

  11. Keep the commissaries overseas, please! Stuff is SO much cheaper there than at the local grocers in Guam! And there are things you can't get in the local stores too!

    • Absolutely but they should limit their use to Military only. CS serving overseas already receive LOQ and that offsets the cost of food and lodging

  12. Swab Jockey says:

    I don't know how everyone calculates things, but as a retiree I find that the savings of the Commissary mean a great deal. Prices average at least a third
    off on a large majority of items. It obviously must mean at least that for Active Duty personnel also. To say that Commissaries are duplicated off base is a crude joke at best, and those saying it either shop at CostCo preferring to buy in large volume or else haven't a clue regards pricing.
    I drive once every 5 weeks or so to the Commissary closest to me, a distance of 130 miles one way. Factoring in the cost of gasoline, surcharge, baggers tip and I still save over 25% compared to Kroegers, Food Lion or Stop & Shop. Try pricing vitamins, cheese, ground beef, detergents.
    But what the hey…just more of our retiree benefits being taken away so that retirees, and most likely even Active Duty types will end up as part of the permanent Welfare State.

    • FakeBritishLT says:

      You say 'Welfare State' disparagingly while at the same time lauding the welfare-esque benefits that maintain your standard of living…which is it?

      • Komplikaor says:

        Fake

        Welfare is getting something for nothing

        Retiree Benefits are earned. Every last penny of them

        • FakeBritishLT says:

          No, welfare is a catch all term for social entitlements (a legal term mind you) that guarantees access to benefits by law. I'm prepaying for my Social Security and Medicare welfare access every month, and so is every other working American…that's hardly nothing.

          I'm not If you haven't noticed, private sector retiree benefits have already painted a lot of domestic employers into a corner (hint: pension trust defaults). Given the exponential healthcare costs in this country maintaining current benefit levels, least of all Commissary access, is akin to expecting the moon because some recruiter made a promise.

          Good luck getting it.

      • FakeBritishLT Do you have even a remote understanding of "Welfare"? From your comment, apparently NOT! The benefits that "Swab Jockey" articulates were the guarantees that were extended for commitment to a military career. These benefits are similar to benefits for federal employees, politicians and members of federal unions. These benefits are far from welfare, but were EARNED, in exchange for low wages, long deployments and major sacrifices. I suggest that you visit your public library and do a research project on what "welfare" is. Welfare is a gift; retiree benefits were EARNED with "Blood, Sweat and Tears!"

        • It used to be that way, but no longer. Military pay is commensurate with their civilian peers, plus they receives loads of extra bonuses such as BHA, Housing, uniform, medical, education, tax free shopping, and others that civilians have to pay straight out of their salary. There are a lot of civilians who put their lives on the line and work in dangerous jobs too (cops, firemen, coal miners, loggers, etc., so as a veteran myself, I feel we need to stop being so greedy by placing such a major burden on taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet. We simply can't keep borrowing to pay for it all, whereas we all need to sacrifice together.

        • FakeBritishLT says:

          First off, Welfare is a catch all term that applies to everything from school lunches to your Medicare (or so I presume from the quaint library comment).

          I'm not doubting that the pension and other miscellaneous benefits were 'earned,' but in this decade of civvy sector benefit cuts, wage halts, and pension trust bankruptcy, the original author's disparaging mention of a 'welfare state' is disingenuous: If his former employer was anyone besides the Federal Government, there's a decent chance he'd be in the boat he apparently loathes.

    • So true!!I use to live 60 miles from the closest commissary. I would plan my commissary shopping around my medical appointments or just go and make a day of it. I go into a regular grocery store, just if I need to pick up an item. I wouldn't ever consider doing my regular shopping there. They are all so high!! I don't know how the private sector feeds their families, but I guess that is where welfare comes in. I will continue to shop at commissaries and encourage anyone that has the privilege to use it.

  13. swab jockey says:

    One other point to make re: Commissaries. No Taxes. That's what the Pols are
    after, taxes, taxes, taxes! For the person complaining about liquor & beer prices remember, no taxes there either. Tote it up. Lots of articles in CivLant grocery stores get charged taxes.

  14. I think they should have made and effort to point out that Senator Coburn is a REPUBLICAN from Virginia. They seem to think everyone is a lazy freeloader unless you're a CEO or a republican senator.

    • He's a Republican from Oklahoma. He keeps up with stupid ideas like closing the Commissaries and maybe his buddy Obama may make a Democrat out of him yet.

    • cheap political shot Jordan.

    • He's not from Virginia. Virginia's Senators are Webb and Warner. Soon Webb will retire and Tim Kaine will take over.

    • Blayman usa ret says:

      Tom A. Coburn, M.D. was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 2, 2004 by citizens of the State of OKLAHOMA.

      Dr. Coburn's priorities in the Senate include reducing wasteful spending, protecting your liberty, balancing the budget, improving health care access and affordability, protecting the sanctity of all human life – including the unborn – and representing traditional, OKLAHOMA values. As a citizen legislator, Dr. Coburn has pledged to serve no more than two terms in the Senate and to continue to care for patients. He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Committee on Finance.

    • Blayman usa ret says:

      As a senator, Dr. Coburn has offered more amendments than any of his colleagues. He has offered amendments to eliminate funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere," the "Woodstock Museum" in New York and countless other special interests earmarks sponsored by members of both parties. Dr. Coburn has also worked to make government more accountable and transparent. In 2006, he teamed up with then-Senator Barack Obama to create http://www.usaspending.gov/, an online database of all federal spending.

      He is just beginning his second term.

    • Uh, SEN Coburn is from Oklahoma.

  15. Commissary and Exchange privileges are the reason a lot of us stick it out to retirement. Take the Commissary away, what’s the point? They have self checkouts now, so we don’t have to tip the baggers. We save quite a bit, even when California doesn’t tax foods and the Commissary has the 5% surcharge on everything. Taking it away would devastate many people.

    • Blayman usa ret says:

      So, you plan your career based on Comm/Exch privileges. Actually, the commissary purchases based on long term contracts. Meat is a perfect example – they do a contract purchase for a period of 3 months at x/lb. The meat is frozen when it arrives. I can get much better deals 'on the economy' at local stores for FRESH (read not frozen) meats. As for the exchange, I spent some time on the advisory committee at an overseas assignment. Female soldiers could NEVER find fitting clothing b/c the survey done every year based exchange stock on sizes for family members who were much larger than female soldiers. Those female soldiers did most of their shopping on the local economy. I learned that stateside exchanges used the same practice. Kids clothes were not usually a problem, finding adult clothing was all but impossible. Shop on the economy. By the way, you can use coupons there too.

  16. How is it that the commissary is costing money? We pay a surcharge that is supposed to cover everything. If the surcharge isn't enough, raise it.

  17. FakeBritishLT says:

    These exact cuts to healthcare, pension, and fringe benefits have been happening across the country for over a decade now…sucks when the bubble bursts and it hits your doorstep eh?

    • Retiredguy says:

      I've got a better idea. When a politician is out of office. We should give them the same amount that they would get if they were on Social Security. Not keep paying them a salary for the rest of their lives. Oh by the way, give them Obamacare also. How much money would "We The People" save then

  18. Another Senator with no military experience. I'm curious how he was able to stay out of the draft during those peak years of Vietnam. Not surprised it's another Republican who wants to cut spending.

    I think he forgets that it takes people to run those weapons systems he wants to buy. So is cutting back the benefits going to help get people to operate those weapons systems?

  19. The years I was active duty already pointed to the duplication
    I could buy whatever I needed often cheaper on the outside……..and same
    was true about post exchange.

  20. One of the hallmarks of a military career is moving, every two to three years to a new base, in a different state, or even abroad. The DOD schools are the only possible way to keep kids on the same track with so many moves. With each state having it's own curriculum, the ability of the DOD schools to maintain a consistent curriculum, in which all DOD schools teach on a similar schedule for each grade, is not only the best way to get them through each transition, but to help ensure their success as well. Now that the war is winding down, and the public appears tired of it, it's not time to attack the military, it's active duty and their children. The fact that there are stateside public schools does not negate the fact that these children are transitioning every two to three years, and the ONLY continuity they have is in a system designed for their needs.

    • Education is high priority as far as I'm concerned. A must have. Get rid of Beef Jerky and that Beer Plant.

    • Both of my kids never once attended a DOD school and my eldest graduated with honors after attending 3 elementary, 2 JR high and 2 HS. A couple years ago Congress passed a law that schools must accept the credits of the last school for kids who's parent(s) are on active duty. Although my eldest son ended up having to take extra classes as he graduated HS a year prior to this law, my youngest son's credits transferred without any problems when he attended his third HS during his Senior Year.

    • As a side note…my eldest son also received an ROTC scholarship through his HS, graduated college, and is now an Officer.

    • Stateside DoD schools are obsolete. When stationed abroad DoD schools are valuable to our children. Stateside commisaries are also obsolete, I spend less money at the local grocery or super walmart than I do at the commisary. Again though, in foreign countries the commisaries are valuable.

  21. Colburn is right and very wrong, the commissary system is lean and supports the troops, can it cut waste? yes, should it be deleted? no, unless he also advocates a voucher to make up the differnce between on-base and off base cost differences. I use the commissary every week and I know some things can be improved but when you lose a benefit you never get anything thing back so say good-by to your money.

  22. I remember when the prices in the BX were very cheap, before they decided to make us fund MWR out of the profits. The package store as well, until they decided they needed to cut drinking. The commissary prices aren't as cheap as they once were, but still are cheaper in general.

    The civilianization of the military will be it's death.
    If you are going to cut anything that may be considered off mission, then just cut it all now. Get it over with and quit with this death by a 1000 cuts.

  23. I think all you voters, from Va., Retirees and active duty , should let Senator Colburn here from you now and next election. retired SeaBee

  24. Regarding commissaries, I have all but stopped using the closest one to me which is a 45 minute drive. There are a few items like canned goods that are almost always lower in price, but my current experience is that there is almost as many items that are always higher priced. In fact, I’ve had some long talks with the commissary manager about the fact that there is no longer an overall savings if you do ALL your shopping there and then wrote a letter to controlling agency about it. What I learned from this is that the only thing they will admit to now is no tax and that’s your benefit.

    The exchange is a separate organization and they many times are more expensive than civilian stores. I talked to the manager of the one I used to shop at and got the same story about no tax.

    I’m sorry folks, but I do remember when no matter which commissary or exchange you went to, it was always about 30% lower than off base. Not so today.

    I know personally that it differs from one base to the next in different regions. I strongly believe that most of the savings have eroded over time to the point where it usually comes down to the tax savings.

    The old boys networks running these are a complete waste of tax payer dollars, why the heck do we need Admirals & Generals involved “running grocery” stores when most of them have never seen the inside of one? That’s what wives are for, they’ll tell you.

    Seadog

    • I do agree with you on this. But then they do have surcharge. In the state that we live in, there is no tax on certain category of food, but the surcharge is about the same as the state tax. Unless you buy in bulk and like you mentioned, do all the shopping there.

    • Voix Velour says:

      WOW. So true. Not long ago, my ID photo looked worse than could be "mocked up" for a "serial killer;" the Airman flatly told me there would be no "retake;" the chaming Lt Col in charge of "Security" informed that photos were not for "magazine covers;" and when I went to the CO, the photo was its own testimony and there was a "retake." A senior staff member accompanied me on this journey and to my absolute shock, inquired, "why do you shop at the Commissary; none of us do!" Neither do they do any "oversight" as to the AAFES Exchange. Costco etc. 75 Mi Round Trip? Used to be the "culture" and so much superior service was its own reward. UNIONS EVERYWHERE. These "entitlements" are for UNION EMPLOYEES!

    • Voix Velour says:

      What a joke it is!!! DECA. It took years before DECA got around to oversight and found it so deficient they closed the place; just before "new construction" of a splendid facility that closed soon thereafter; now they have exported those people throughout the system. What a bunch; they look more like "truck drivers" than any professionals in delivery of product, inclusive of the banal and ordinary and the upscale gourmet items particularly at the holiday season; Nada!

    • Earl Handy says:

      They need to just close the commisarys and alow us to use regular supermarkets which will give military 30% off. The goverment will reemburse the supermarket and thus save a great deal by not having to maintain on base food stores. This would allow vetrans to live and shop any where while still getting thier well earned benifits!

    • I'm a retiree, 20 years U.S. Army and I totally disagree with Seadog. I brought three flat screen TVs at the Exchange and saved hundreds of dollars over what Bust Buy, Wal-Mart and others offered. My wife shops at the commissary near where we live and can list the items by memory that are less expensive then what she could get a Giant or Wal-Mart Super Store or any other grocery store need us. Yes she does pick up some things at other stores that the commissary doesn't carry.

    • Gerry Soucheray says:

      Seadog,
      You hit it right on the head. Todays Commissaries and Exchanges are more of a "conveience" than a place to save actual money.

    • That 5% paid each time my wife goes to DeCA sure feels like a tax to me. As far as the cost, don't know. Takes an act of congress to get me to go food shopping.

  25. RFernandez says:

    That would truly be shame if commissary privileges are taken away. Instead of punishing everybody, why not take a look at the problem and try to fix things. It is true that some prices are close to those of Walmart, but the staples of our diet (fresh foods such as veggies, meat, eggs) are way under the prices of stores such as Safeway and Food Lion. I shop at the Commissary about once a month and do save money just by shopping there, and when coupons are added into that, I save about 30%.

    As for taking the school away, why should we continue to make the kids suffer? It is hard enough for military kids having to move and start a new school every 2-4 years. The education system is hurting enough, why hurt it more?

  26. 72 yrs old. A PROUD retired First Class Petty Officer. It seems to me there are a lot of people in DC just waiting to pull the plug on everything except their own machine.

  27. Greeting all. I believe the government can save money by eliminating some commissaries within a certain distance to a Walmart, Kroger, etc if they are able to negotiate discounts for CAC holders. This will save money on pensions, energy and more. Remote installations will still require service to include overseas locations. I am not sure about the other programs, but everything should be looked at to save money from excessive spending or mismanagement and that is a common occurence at the end of the year with the military. If we do not do this, China will definately outperform us in the next decade.

  28. Well the politicians are out to make it look like their doing their job. As one writer said, some of stayed career because it was a good job and we counted on things like the lifetime healthcare and the pension. When has a politician ever offered to go to some war zone or hole and do the job the GI does. As one stated, "where was Coburn during Vietnam"? Where were a lot of them during the various shooting actions we've be involved in the past 30 years? Those people are the ones who sent the GI's there and set home on fat dead asses while we served. Then there's the takeaway of the lifetime healthcare, and now there fixing to ding on Comstores and exchanges. I'd guess sooner or later TFL will also disappear. I've always believed that the original intent is to get everyone on obamacare in one manner or other..

  29. Senator Coburn and his fellow senators need to look in their own back yard. Let them cut out the perks they receive and put them on the same level with the average American. Let us start with their retirement program, their medical insurance and free mailings for a start.
    retired Colonel

    • Voix Velour says:

      So much "confetti." Of course we just went thru a political arena marked by hostility to create a convenient bag over issues; Benghazi? Now POTUS is off circuit and Israel is a mega issue but he has strained relations with the Israel leadership; Pakistan jailed one of the primary internal supporters because Obama & Co had to brag about the "operation" to take out Bin Laden. The physician is still incarcerated. And then there is Iran ready to break.

      So .. US Senators and Congressmen, now that you have been AT THE HELM, busying yourselves with your PRIVATE AND SPECIAL INTERESTS, and preserving especially those PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS, consider deploying those "assets," or going to DRAFT, or do you really think our personnel of THE ARMED FORCES are willing to bleed and die as "endentured servants?"

  30. We should first close the congressional commissaries and cafeterias, and take away all congressional commissary and BX perks from Senators and other well-paid gov personnel who live in metropolitan ares where supermarkets and department stores are plentiful. I agree that the military / naval commissaries should be closed, wherever there is a supermarket within 10 miles of the base. The same is true of AAFES, etc. The biggest commissaries and BX's (etc.) are always where they aren't needed, and remote mil sites get tiny stores anyway.

    • Voix Velour says:

      Absolutely. Here in CA, the "Entitlements" are few and far between, and NOTHING when you get there; reference AAFES Exchanges where the inventory is sub-standard or non-existent; and Commissaries where they do not seem to ever "open for business." The inventory is sub-Walmart; and by contrast with the private sector, a disgrace. Instead of inventory management, it is a kind of "helter skelter" operation and just infuriating at the level of "value" as "inventory." Not surprisingly, the culprit throughout ALL GOVERNMENT is UNION SECURED TWITS. It is just infuriating to find the sub par options throughout .. ineptitude reigns .. no comparison whatever with the private sector .. but providing JOB SLOTS for UNION secured.

      • You said it better! Commissaries and Exchanges worked at a time when military pay was not comparable to civilian, but pay has been improved — and the union bureaucracy has become unbearable. Neither AAFES nor the commissary goes to the war zone anymore — I saw only Pakistanis at the cash registers in Iraq. The only non-union people in the U.S. are the bagger retirees, whom the GI's disdain and avoid.
        The usual partisan political blather I see in these comments here is not helpful . . . discuss the facts of the issue. Politicians are merely politicians! Virtue is not to be sought among them, but the issues they support or oppose are important.

      • Slamin' Bee says:

        What bases are you shopping at? AFFES has pretty much all but left CA becasue the Army and AF have also mostly left. All the Navy bases in CA are well stocked with pretty good mechendise. they're not menat to be a replacement shopping mall. Try not shopping on a payday like the rest o the knuckle heads. I grocery shop at the commisary twice a month and spend about 200 bucks each time with plenty of food left over.

    • TSclassified says:

      Here on my Army base at the local AAFES everything is way overpriced. They say well you don't have to pay taxes however, try buying a 60" HDTV for the same price at Walmart plus taxes and you will still pay more. The only deal at the commissary anymore is "meats".

      (cont)

      • TSclassified says:

        (cont)

        Yeah, I didn't see any mention in Coburns report about his own perks as a Senator being cut. That's usually the problem with the government. They have all these money making cut suggestions yet, none of them are for the programs they use or the benefits they receive after just one term.

        It really turns my stomach knowing about all the soldiers, marines, sailors and AF personnel that die/are wounded in our wars or skirmishes receiving "welfare level" services while the Senators and Representatives get top-notch serivces. Cut those down to the level every normal citizen gets. That'll save billions. Also, I didn't see anything about cutting funding to countries who want to harm the U.S.. Foreign Aide should be put on Hiatus for a 10 year period or cut completely to fix ourselves. Let all those countries fend for themselves while we re-grow ourselves with thise billions of dollars we throw at other countries.

        How much did it cost for this colorful 74 page report to say that the government is spending on programs that are not worthy? Hell, they've been doing it for 50+ years.

        • I have written to Senator Coburn asking if he will also try to close congressional commissaries and end congressional privileges. No reply as yet. DeCA is a creation of the Congress (including the Senate and House) and designed to benefit themselves first of all. The Joint Base Andrews commissary is legendary — and guess who shops there?

    • Slammin' Bee says:

      Where are you shopping at? In 18 years I've never found any better deal than the Comisarry. If you're letting them rip yuou off with bagger tips then bag your own stuff and take it to the car.

      • The baggers are all retirees . . . so you are conducting your own program of austerity cuts for the retired. The commissary workers are all "Civil Service" government union types with retirement packages that can't be touched.

  31. Chief C., ETCM(SS) says:

    DOD schools should be kept, assuming the curriculum is high quality.
    My kids were "military kids" and only used to keep the impact funds coming, so I kept them in church/private schools, as much as possible.
    The son of a Chief who had been moved every two to three years couldn't pass the basic induction written test at 17.
    Some of the kumbiya items listed should be dumped, but not the comms or xchanges.
    Coburn is not a Congressional Senator from VA. We have two of Obama's butt boys, Warner and Webb, who will be replaced by another Kaine, in January.
    Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
    Respectfully,

  32. Mike Skysoldier says:

    Just like the Republicans to first send us to war, then protect the wealthy, at all costs, including all of our lives, then like your beloved Reagan (Who said the PX and commissary should be money making propositions, THE MILITARY GETS ENOUGH GOOD BENEFITS) thus causing the retirement of many good men and women. They are the 1st to send us to fight, and the last to defend our benefits. Wise up, and throw these bastards out! Vote to change the statutes of limitations on wealthy criminals, unlike the regular guy, a rich guy crates havoc in the economy, by time we find out what they did, and how, it's too late to prosecute them. Anyone ever wonder y no one went to jail for the debacle done to our economy, and all the money they stole they get to keep. That's right, by the time we figured it all out, the mostly 2 year statutes of limitations expired. Sucks, we are all fighters, lets get on the band wagon and fight for just for all!

    • barbara Layman says:

      "Wise up, and throw these *******s out! Vote to change the statutes of limitations on wealthy criminals"

      Mike, If you have ever voted in an election and your vote was to retain an incumbent (the guy already in the seat, for those who don't know) you have contributed to the 'wealthy criminal.' IF you REALLY want to change the way we do business, NEVER elect an incumbent. The US Constitution establishes terms as 4 yrs POTUS, 6 yrs Senate, 2 yrs House. At the end of their term, send them packing. This small effort will make a HUGE difference. A cycle of about 20 years should take care of it.

  33. I personally would like to know if Jesus did die for Klingons.

    • Lmao……the real question is how in the hell that was funded. My thought, lobbyist and earmarks that get more "contributions" and kickbacks to serve a congressional district. Power and influence pays for a re-election.

    • You would not have learned it from the lecture. That bit of sophomoric blasphemy was only a stupid attempt at humor by an Ops type trying to fill a few chairs and justify his presentation for OPR purposes. If you really want to know the answer, haul your sorry butt over to the chapel and ask a chaplain!

  34. The schools, I say leave them alone. Someone else on here pointed out that they offer better transitions for the kids. I accept that.

    But, take the commissaries and the base exchanges. 9 times out of 10, you don't save any money.

  35. Vietnam era Veteran says:

    as a retired miliatry/ government worker 40+ years, I would like to comment on where? the government needs to start looking to cut drastic spending in DOD, VA and other government agencies. first thing is get rid of who ever is not mission essential in all branches of the military service, second review the need for contracts to private companies that are ripping off the federal government. third review all overseas bases and close down the ones not needed. fourth revamp the prison systems in america. there are a lot of things the federal government can review and cut and save tax payers money in the future. just concentrating on military and veterans Pay& benefits is not wise.

  36. save money ?? stop this administration investing in wind solar companys that go backrupt right after the government gives them millions of dollars. payback goes to investers and the white house. the tax payers get nothing back, nothing. read and save money…………

  37. Charles Bryant, does this article say CUTS?? Seems everything I read says CUTS to benefits. Mmmmm.

  38. shelleychez says:

    Correct me if I am wrong… but I thought, the military "perks" medical, no tax Exchange/Commissaries and retirment were to make up for the disparity of military "wages" verses civilian. Seems to me as if the military is quietly being taken out through the back door.

  39. SDickenson says:

    There’s so much more to the story. Has he lived through 2 years of living on a US base as a single or dual spouse parent? Has he any clue of the logistics involved if our children had to be bussed off base? Child care? Stores? Safe environment? Recalls at 0400? 18+ hour shifts for weeks straight? Exactly HOW is a parent going to be able to keep connected with the teacher of a young child that must be sent off base to school? Has he driven on and off base and been through congested lines? There is a reason for duplication of services. Our lives are lived on base and we can’t be stressed with trying to get on and off base. We have no civilian hours to meet standard schedules. I suppose if there was no on base family housing or if only non parenting adults were allowed to serve then his ideas may work. Yes, bases are a duplication of the outside services and there’s very good reason for it.
    Yes, let’s cut out where we can. But he is making some general assumptions without a working knowledge of the situation. Sounds like he is prepping for votes from the TEA party to get re-elected.

    • You were doing just fine with your comment, been there done that (24 yrs), until you went on the rant about the TEA party.

    • So very true! What the Congressman isn't admitting is the many pay raises they have given themselves both Democrat & Republican over the last 20 years. It tally's alot more than they have given the soldiers! I say if we need to save we cut THEIR pay! Think of the millions in saving there! And limit ALL their terms and take away there retirement benefits too. They can serve one or two terms and then get back to the civilian life they had before and work for their retirement!

    • They also show they don't understand the system. At many stateside bases, the elementary schools are the only ones left on base. Junior & high school students go to civilian schools, but the military has to subsidize them because of the additional cost for more teachers and supplies because those living in base housing are not paying the property taxes that fund the local schools. I see no savings here. Having the younger students on base is much safer.

    • Sen Coburn is retiring after this session of Congress, so he is not prepping for votesa from the TEA party.

  40. Our schools are great for transition but the excess is so overboard, the expenses that are going on in our pre-school programs alone are out of hand, and pre-school is not even a requirement. We have to hire new people to teach new programs that are mostly useless and require the purchase of new equipment ( like Ipads for all workers), give teachers more days without children just to record data. Its a great system gone wild.

  41. Do away with Home land security! Have military police at posts and bases, do away with renta cops! Have military work the mess halls, not civilian! Have military run base housing, not civilian!

    • I remember (a million years ago) the military had heavey equipment operators that fixed roads on post, removed the snow, mowed grass, had military ambulance workers to take one to a post hospital, repaired barracks. Hell we might as well give the whole military to blackwater.

      • Yep, I retired from that position then the Gov hired me back a year later to do the same thing as a civilian. Guess they rightly figured out that they couldn't do it without me!

    • Agreed

    • I agree with some of those but I'd rather NOT have military chow if I don't have to, and I don't see how having the military run housing would be any less expensive. Would you really want to devote a whole command structure to that?

    • All,

      As I recall, it is less expensive to contract much of the work out, because DOD in the long run doesn't have to pay all the various benefits to the Vet, the wife or kids for the rest of their lifes.

      • As I recall, congress get's a check every month from????? Ohhh yes the taxpayer. How much you think we could save without the retirement benefits for millionaires? We subsidize how much for a millionaires salary? Means testing anyone? CON-gress has quite the system. Of course Charles would love for you to believe they have it much worse than a military retiree. Lmao!!!

    • The 50 year contracts proved to companies like Piscerne and others have actually reduced the amount of money spent by the military for on-base housing.

  42. It is evident that Sen Coburn has not idea the sacrifices the military and family members endure in service for this country. It is really remarkable how Republican are first to call Democrats unpatriotic because they believe as war as a last result, but continue pull back on benefits for the active duty military, veterans and dependents. This is crazy. The service member is always the sacrifice. We have been at war for 11 years now, and the way the repay the sacrifices that we put in is to cut our benefits. I have an idea, let's cut the benefits of Congress…They get healhcare for life even if they serve one term. They also get a pension for life. Let's say they pay for their own healthcare..they get paid enough. And let there pension start at 65 like they are suggesting military pension start. Let's cut there staffs and make them do more with less like the continue to do with the military. Finally, let's put them out if they have lapses in judgment and make mistakes like the do to the service member.

  43. Does this includes the post exchanges in the field, or when deployed? Local shools should be used whenever possible. Our military pay is one of the worst among the indusrialized nation, with respect to expection. Look at the British, French,Germany just to point out a few. Too much pork, and contract coruption. Like, having the service uniform being change 2-3 times in a four year contract, forceing men and women to come up with so much money that the meager allowance doen't cover. How much percent of the defence budget actually goes to pay and benefits?

  44. Frank Bowers says:

    This Coburn fellow is an idiot. In one sentence he said the cost in the next 10 years would be 67 BILLION and a sentence or so later he said if we cut them as they were duplicated services we could save 24 BILLION over the next 10 years. What happened to the other43 BILLION? O! I forgot, he is going to pocket that for his retirement package.

    Frank Bowers, FIC; 100% DAV; Class of 1937; Austin, TX

  45. Smells like the early 90's all over again.

  46. At a time in our history when the United States is FALLING BEHIND the rest of the industrialized world this person (I am using that term loosely) wants to cut Elementary Education programs on our bases, AND do away with STEM programs as well. When countries such as China graduate in excess of 300,000 engineers in any given year and the United States only graduates a number that is far below 100,000 I would think that he should push for MORE STEM programs, not cut what we have.

    • Elementary education programs on the bases could be arranged as private schools, run by parents, supplemented by hired professionals. They could then get as much STEM training as the parents desired to pay for, with the government bureaucracy not getting a cut.

  47. The military should close all stateside commissaries, PX's and gas stations on all installations. They are being run as just another "rip off" of the GI's. After adding the surcharge and bagger tips at the commissaries I find I'm paying more for my food than if I shopped off post.

    • Some of the stateside BX/PX operations are in remote areas. Edwards AFB housing area is a long was from the nearest off base school or supermarket. It would be smart to forbid politicians from using the commisary, medical care, golf courses, with the possible exception of emergency medical care.

    • Not sure where the heck you shop at as far as commissary goes but here in AZ the Commissary at Luke AFB is much less expensive then the civilian community even adding the surcharge. As far as the tip to the bagger it is not like $3 to $5 is going to break me. If I do the exact item at the local community they are a minimum of 15 to 20 % higher and then add a sales tax that is about 11% to that. I did a exact match on shopping at the base and at Ghetto Mart (Walmart) and my bill was $50 cheaper on the base and that was not a major shopping run for me and my family.

    • I live close to our commissary and exchange services. I use them because they are significantly less expensive for groceries, gas, etc. Despite the commissary surcharge most prices are much cheaper than our local Walmart. As to the baggers…We can use the self-check out machines if you begrudge some high school student or senior some extra income.

    • The PXs are self sufficient. They survive on there own profitability or not. Their advantage is that soldiers do not have to pay sales taxes.

    • I don't know where you live or care, but in Pensacola , FL , the commissary is a great benefit. The gas station is in line with outside stations ( sometimes higher). You can't judge them all by yours.

    • F.Cheech and som,

      I've heard this for over 20 years from various people that the Commissaries and PX's/BX's were more expensive. I've yet to see anyone actually prove it. Overall in 2012 the Commissaries on average were a 31% savings over buying on the outside, and the PX's/BX's will match the price of the same item and not charge the tax, so it is virtually imposible for the PX's/BX's to charge more. Only exception, is that like most brick and mortar stores they will not match online prices unless it is there own store.

  48. Half of the claims of wasteful spending programs identified by Senator Coburn in his document are actually pork barrel projects that his own fellow congressional leaders force our Dept. of Defense to fund! The other are entitlements for which there are valid reasons for their existence. He and his partners in Congresss should be looking themselves at the mirror if they want to point fingers.

    • I hope the pork list contains the barber shops and food courts for the most wasteful people in the country, the politicians in wash.d.c.

  49. From the Senator's own report: "DOD recently committed $180 million as part of a congressional mandate to a project to widen part of a highway outside a nearby military base.1511"
    Key word: Congressional mandate! In other words some congressmen forced DOD to spend that money!

    • Here is an Idea. This Clown is from Oklahoma so Lets Close every base in his state. Tinker, Vance and Altus AFB, Ft. Sill and please tell me why you would have the Coast Guard Institute and the Coast Guard Dun Container Inspection Training facility in a land locked place like Oklahoma. We can take thos planes etc and move them to other base's that do the same thing

  50. The only thing they don't cut is their paychecks and benifits, if you ask me that is where they should start!

    • You have heard what? He was talking about Congress. You miss something? Your response to his post doesn't make any sense, as usual. You deny that ANY cuts are happening to the military and never address the issue of CONGRESS taking any hits. We are all going to have to sacrifice huh? Guess your watching our kings and queens on the court less than your watching veterans that post wrong facts or misguided views. Perhaps you should invest in RESEARCHING the very ones who are increasing their portfolio at the expense of the nation without any personal sacrifice. Last I checked, a pay freeze for Congress is a sacrifice? Lmao

  51. If we want to same real money we will convert the federal legislature to a unicameral system like Nebraska. Nottext right here! Not only did yjey save a lot of money that actually got a legislature that does their job.

  52. Glenn Robinson says:

    OK, let's take the cuts, only if they give up thier perks, pork barrell projects, the lobbying and speaking monies they get, and revise thier pension plans to look more like ours!

    • Glenn Robinson,

      You know you can make that happen and have the best of both, just run for Congress, win, and you will have what you have and what they have.

      LMAO, as far as their pension plan, it is evident to me, that you feel they have it better than we do. Congress like all Federal workers not only pay into their pension plan, but also pays into their Insurance unlike the active duty soldiers. Let me just say, be carefull what you wish for.

  53. Close the Bxs,commissaries and gas stations—all are unnecessary!

    • Do you have a clue what you are talking about? Those entities actually make money!!!

      • NAVYCPO,

        I vote to keep them all, but one thing I can guarantee everyone, just pointing fingers and saying not in my back yard isn't going to work.

        PX's

        Exchanges or base department stores would not be impacted because they are self-sustaining, with staff salaries and other operating costs paid for through store-generated profits.

        Commissaries

        Commissaries, however, rely on annual taxpayer subsidy of $1.4 billion. In return, military patrons see savings of about 30 percent on their groceries, a popular benefit worth about $2.8 billion annually. Goods are sold at cost plus a five percent surcharge. The surcharge money is used to modernize old stores and build new ones.

    • I'll bet you got kicked out of the military because you couldn't cut the mustard. Thats why you feel this way, or your a Democrat!!!

      • You're a bit mixed up here, it is a Republican Senator who's suggesting these cuts. Next time try to read the article 1'st.

  54. If you want to save money in the DOD get rid of all the wastefull programs. Get rid of the LCS ship, stop the DDX and CGX programs, dump the Joint strike fighter, instead teach the Air Force to fly the F/A 18. There are plenty of places to cut before you hit the troops, their family and their pay. Cut out the non-essential deployments of navy ships and there are plenty of those.

    • I agree totally with this person's statement, there is a lot of fat that can be cut out of the DoD before you get to the real meat, the real reason for the military.

    • NAVYCPO,

      I agree with everything you have posted, but there is more to the what you can do right now. Overall, what is killing America, is the long term benefits for DOD, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. As changes came after the Viet Nam Conflict, they are now coming after the Iraq Conflict and the ending of the Afghanistan Conflict.

  55. Tom Mohnkern, Sr. says:

    A new requirement for any congressman or senator (women) should be a 4 year hitch with the armed forces. Maybe they would think with their heads when they write about cutting military spending. Wal Mart probably competes with the Commissary/BX because of all these sir charges, tips, etc., which have been added since I left the Air Force. How about just doing away with all the extras and leave the BX/Commissary as it was in 1960s – 1980s. They worked until the local and federal officials got their hands on them! Also, can you put a price on a life every day? How many of these special interest officials, congressmen, senators, etc., have got out of bed and decided to put their life on the line, just to hear that our leaders in DC want to lower our pay and benefits. We really do need to get rid of the trash in 2 years! Don't worry. The military community will do their job helping to vote these people out of office! Believe me! Investing in the strongest military on the face of the Earth will be your future and a dam good investment! For those who support the military in America I thank you and may God bless you..

    • I think you are correct that elected officials should have served in the military. I have had the experience with the former military in a civil service position. Some were excellent and some should have never been considered for the position.

  56. We should eliminate double dipping in disability claims. There are military retirees getting two checks for the same disability from social security and thewn the VA. That needs tio stop.

  57. CSM (R) Barton says:

    Let's see….those wanting to eliminate or drastically cut benefits from veterans and military retirees are basically Republican Politicians. Yet we as a voting group continue to support them during elections. Coburn and McCain have never supported us and have always advocated dramatic cuts in benefit programs for Retirees and Veterans. It's time we stop supporting them AND it's time to take benefits out of the DOD and put them in an agency that cares and understands those that have served.

  58. This will cause more harm than good. Yes money would be saved, but you would also be causing more stress to all military members and dependents. If they cut these programs and will save 68 billion in funds, then I expect a pay increase at least on the enlisted side of all military branches.

  59. Congress, if you want to go back to the draft, keep doing what you are doing. Then you can cut military pay back to say $200/month and require all members to eat in the dining facility (mess hall) and live in open bay barracks again. For those on already active duty you can start cutting pay each year until they all leave service. What you will do for officers, I have no idea since they are not drafted and I doubt they will want to work for what you want to pay and for lack of services (medical, dental, schools for children, …).

    You can reduce the services on base to just a post office, cleaners, barber shop, base store (only carry basic toiletries) and your clinics without emergency rooms. Disallow members to marry will eliminate a lot of the clinics like Pediatrics and OB/GYN (since marriage prohibited, that means getting pregnant is act of adultery so can give bad conduct discharge from Courts Martial).

    You can then stop most construction on the bases. No need to maintain the roads as most vehicles will be military vehicles well suited to driving mud/dirt roads. No need for housing, heck you can go back to 2 story wooden barracks with a big kerosene stove, and make them extra long to hold a couple of platoons in each barracks. That way you saving on plumbing and electrical.

    Since there is no way the people can afford a vehicle, and nothing really to spend money on, on the installation except toiletries, hair cuts, and cleaning, the $200 might even be enough. At worst you make laundry a military specialty and have the military do their own uniforms and make barbers a specialty so the hair cuts are reduced price (you want to charge the cost of electricity, heating, training, …).

    When all is said and done the military member should just be able to live after social security tax (income taxes requires at least $779.16666) and state taxes. And that is another thing. Pass a federal sales tax for money spent in the base shop that sells the toiletries.

    I guarantee you will have a military that is a lean mean fighting machine, just watch out who they might want to fight.

    Really look at the demographics of your military. Most of the lower enlisted do not own a vehicle. Pulling services off bases means they are not available or they must have a friend give them a ride, use taxis or public transportation. Eliminate regulations about things like hair cuts and a few other dress/appearance regulations. In some place it might be easy to maintain standards even without a vehicle and all services off installation. Others it would be very difficult or impossible especially in the northern US where there can be extreme weather.

    If housing is so expensive stop complaining about BAQ and give enough to rent good housing off the installations.

    If running a school on the installation is so expensive, stop all together. Require much higher standards for the public schools you bus the children too. I am sure the schools would appreciate the influx of money.

    If you really want to save money on the military, start cutting its size again. Pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq completely. Tell the world that if the US is attacked, any country that is found supporting in any way terrorists (not just the ones that attacked the US) will have every major city reduced to ashes and the members of the ruling party all hunted and killed including their families. We will not even go after the terrorists, but if they are killed in the rain of fire, so much the better. We have a big nuclear arsenal, we need to reduce its size anyway.

    • You write an excellent article. my father joined the army in 1940 at the age of 17. He said that the pay was for a Pvt. was $30.00 a month. I joined the Marines in July of 1966, and a Pvt. made $89.50 a month. Every time there was a pay raise, the item in the PX were raised that day. Remember ever time when Congress and Senate voted themselves a pay raise.
      All Senator "Snort"(Al Cap's comic strip Lit'l Abner) is doing is appeasing his voters.

  60. Michael Burnett says:

    Here's an alternative idea, Senator: How about we eliminate ALL benefits for FAT CAT senators like yourself and slice your OVER GENEROUS retirement pensions to nothing—– But that would never do. How would the country survive if you couldn't use the Senate pool or gym? After all, you do SO MUCH for the United States ———– while we LOWLY GIs can only FIGHT AND DIE for it!!!! Michael D. Burnett, SMSgt, USAF (Ret.) —————————— With over 35 years service and participitation on more than one war!!!!

    • Idmtmedic says:

      Micheal, THANK YOU!!!! And just for reference click on Charles Bryant's name and check out his sacrifice which correlates to backing increased fees for Tricare and CON-gress pay and retirement. Not the military but CON-gress.

  61. I believe commissaries and base exchanges in the states could be eliminated. Active duty families get paid enough to buy groceries at the local supermarket, however, for servicemen and their families stationed OCONUS, these facilities should be available. Living in a foreign country poses some difficulty when it comes to shopping off base such as the language barrier.

  62. It seems the older population vote Republican. While all look what your republicans are doing for you now. Got to save that money for their lunches and bottled water.

  63. The comment about the items of war, that is the repubs saving money for those they are in the back pockets of.

  64. I served for 20 years and never considered myself well payed but I didn't signup for the money. I knew what the life was and that the pay was just enough to raise a family while doing my service for my country. I had every expectation of doing a 30 year stint but was forced out do to reasons I shall not go into. I reaped the benefits of and still do but must admit that our country seems to have a skewed perception or priority list. I believe that the military has made good progress over the last few decades in compensating military members and their familiy but have also noted all of the waste, fraud and abuse. I mirror the opinions of many and probably cannot say what needs to be said to sway anyone but it does appear that the scales aren't balanced. I have always admired and stay in the fight to give the teachers, firefighters, police officers, military and the workers what would balance those scales. Entertainers, Professional atheletes, Doctors, Lawyers and Politicians seem to be on the good side of things and it is of our own doing. We can set things right but I doubt I will ever see the justice during my life. One can hope though and I will continue the fight until it is over.