DoD Budget Cuts Draw Fire from Veterans Groups

February 25, 2014 | Terry Howell

The proposed 2015 defense budget has been released, and it is not pretty. To summarize, the DoD is proposing limiting troop pay raises to below the civilian rate of growth and increasing servicemembers out-of-pocket expenses for housing, food, and medical.

The proposal calls for capping future military pay raises at 1 percent, reducing the basic housing allowance by 5 percent, cutting funding for commissary stores by $1B, and increasing co-pays, deductibles and premiums for TRICARE beneficiaries.

As to be expected, the DoD’s proposal has drawn fire from many of the veterans’ service organizations. Whether their argument is about the unfairness of cutting earned benefits or the long-lasting impact on force readiness, most agree that sequestration related budget cuts should not target the troops.

Highlighting the fact that TRICARE and Commissaries are an earned benefit, Dan Dellinger, National Commander of the American Legion, wrote “Whether it’s cutting commissary subsidies or increasing TRICARE deductibles and co-pays, these benefits are well deserved and available to anyone willing to serve. The American Legion will continue to call for an end to sequestration and insufficient defense budgets.”

Military Officers Association of America President Norb Ryan wrote, “Past experience capping military raises below private sector pay growth shows once pay raise caps begin, they continue until they undermine retention and readiness. When extended pay raise caps hurt retention in the 1970s, Congress had to enact two double-digit raises to correct that.”

It is interesting to note that the tone was less focused on blaming the DoD and more focused on blaming sequestration.

“There are consequences to forcing the Department of Defense to first reduce its budget by $487 billion over 10 years, then to double that amount due to sequestration,” said VFW National Commander William A. Thien. “And no matter how some might perceive these lower troop numbers, weapons systems retirements and benefits reductions, the truth is these cuts will continue to grow deeper  the longer Congress is unable to end the sequester.”

Stay tuned!

Read more about the proposed cuts in pay and benefits on Military.com.

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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. Leave us retires alone. We served our county
    Now they are trying to take everything we were promised

    • Do you really think they care?

    • Don't blame the president!!! Blame your congressmen. They're the people making all these drastic decisions about cutting the military ad retirees pay scales just so they can continue giving BIG money to the oil companies. They don't even want to talk about that.

  2. Whenever the government needs military engagement, service members step up to the challenge and answer the call of their leaders. Families gear up to prepare for the sacrifices needed. But, if our military is always taking the hits to correct budet issues, in effect, all our government leaders are doing is hurting our military as a whole, undermining pride of serving and military strength. It all comes down to our leaders. They always hurt this countries own citizens – this time our military. We send billions to countries and those countries end up using our billions to fight us later down the road. But, it's ok to take billions from those who served their country. Before long, I wouldn't be surprised if military members and families will consider all their service done in vain. Now, what kind of military will we have by then? Don't be surprised when later our government leaders need the military again in some urgent world crises and nobody wants to step up because they'll be stepped on later.

  3. This is a slap in the face to everyone that is or has served this country.

    How about we stop giving Billions to other countries, giving illegals a free ride first.
    Instead of attacking the very people that we need to keep this country safe.

    • This is just the tip of an ever-growing iceberg. If they squeeze this one through, it won't be a slap in the face, there will be a kick in the ass.

  4. billy smith says:

    billy
    let members of congress get there feet and hands cold and not getting them warm up also let eat c-rations and no sleep while being shot at knowing the
    next one may have your name on it. so they can notify your wife or mother
    you are dead are missing in action. no no that's not for me I am to good for that
    type of life.
    thanks

  5. hobieone says:

    First thing first, Why don't you ask How many of the people that are our reps in DC served in the military, how many have deployed to combat, how many of their families have died for this country, how many times have they left their love ones to protect our way of lives, how many of them have been denied permission to come back home because a death in the family due to the Mission first BS, We are an easy target. And yes We(retirees) pay this reps their paycheck with our hard earned pay thru taxes and still get the sh#tty end of the stick. Go figure.

  6. I agree, cut the money to the countries that don't care about the us, except for this one reason. I believe there is a lot of cutting that can happen but I don' t agree that it should be on the backs of our military and veterans. ( of which I'm a vietnam vet)

    Maybe the congress will wise up and come to there senses.