Pentagon to Congress: Stop giving troops pay increases!

posted at 3:30 pm on May 8, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

That isn’t something one hears every day, but it comes at the end of a long string of years where Congress engaged in one-upsmanship on fidelity to the American fighting man and woman through pay raises.  Both Democrats and Republicans laid claim to the “support the troops” mantra by offering bigger and bigger raises.  It’s  as politically safe as, say, waving the flag — as long as you’re not in Morgan Hill, California.  Now the Pentagon has told Congress to stop issuing the pay raises and start working on the high costs of health insurance for the military:

The Pentagon, not usually known for its frugality, is pleading with Congress to stop spending so much money on the troops.

Through nine years of war, service members have seen a healthy rise in pay and benefits, with most of them now better compensated than workers in the private sector with similar experience and education levels.

Congress has been so determined to take care of troops and their families that for several years running it has overruled the Pentagon and mandated more-generous pay raises than requested by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. It has also rejected attempts by the Pentagon to slow soaring health-care costs — which Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said are “eating us alive” — by raising co-pays or premiums.

Now, Pentagon officials see fiscal calamity.

In the midst of two long-running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials are increasingly worried that the government’s generosity is unsustainable and that it will leave them with less money to buy weapons and take care of equipment.

To some extent, we’re still paying for the sense of national guilt over the way returning Vietnam veterans were treated, and in this sense, paying literally.  The undeserved scorn and shunning they received still weighs on the national conscience, so much so that the Vietnam-era service of the man who spotted the Times Square bomb has gotten repeated and significant play in media reports.  In order to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, we have arguably gone overboard in an attempt to assuage the regrets of more than a generation.

I say arguably because we haven’t really asked the right question: what exactly is the correct relationship between military and private-sector compensation?  Should it achieve parity?  More?  Less?  Most private-sector companies don’t ask their employees to be prepared to die to defend their profit-and-loss statements, the dark fantasies of the anti-corporate Left notwithstanding.  Private-sector relationships are usually at-will, meaning either party can end the relationship at any time.  Men and women in the military don’t have that option, being locked into Uncle Sam’s employ until their enlistment expires.  As an issue, having better compensation in the military than in the private sector in and of itself seems rather minor, and perhaps more of a feature than a bug.

The issue of fiscal responsibility, though, is obvious and critical.  The Pentagon needs to innovate in weapons design and production while at the same time maintaining appropriate levels of forces to support the defense and foreign policies of the United States.  If those policies are critical and necessary, then Congress needs to allocate appropriate levels of funding to support them.  If not, then we need to rethink those policies to better fit our budget.  The Pentagon itself needs to police its own procurement practices to ensure that we aren’t wasting money on abuse and fraud.  Congress is responsible for most, if not all, of these issues and needs to focus its efforts on achieving the best results while applying fiscal restraint and accountability.

However, since Congress refuses to apply those to itself, let alone the Pentagon, I’d assume that they will comply with the Pentagon’s request and roll back some of the pay increases in the short term.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

You get increased BAH (housing), but there is no set pay amount for being married.

pookysgirl on May 8, 2010 at 3:46 PM

That is true. But as a single service member who owns a home, my BAH is lower than the married service member who lives next door. Why is that? Does my house cost less than the married member? I understand why my BAS is lower, I feed less mouths but my BAH? Clearly unfair.

Big John on May 8, 2010 at 10:54 PM

Good God and Good Grief,increase the pay,
members of the US Military have paid in BLOOD!!!!!

canopfor on May 8, 2010 at 10:56 PM

I’d give up any pay raise next year and the next, so long as the E1-E6, W1-W2 and O1-O2s got one.

The VP I work for in my civilian job (I am Guard) supervises 45 people. He makes the same as the CENTCOM CDR. I wouldn’t call him overpaid, so I doubt GEN Petreaus is overpiad either.

LTC John on May 8, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Good God and Good Grief,increase the pay,
members of the US Military have paid in BLOOD!!!!!

canopfor on May 8, 2010 at 10:56 PM

Thanks!You’ve been so good about sending “tunes” . “Recrurting Sergeant”, and “Farewell to Nova Scotia”. come to mind. I’ll try to pull my good ones from the old ‘puter. Will send themon.

katy the mean old lady on May 8, 2010 at 11:10 PM

I doubt GEN Petreaus is overpiad either.

LTC John on May 8, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Benjamin Netanyahu might disagree.

MB4 on May 8, 2010 at 11:13 PM

The medical needs of active duty, family members and retirees must be addressed. Of course, it would require the equivalent of NOT purchasing 2-4 aircraft per year or a week of carrier operations at sea – we certainly can’t have that, can we?

MCPO Airdale on May 8, 2010 at 11:13 PM

Let me propose a question. Who makes you feel safer? San Fran Nan? Your averge”over-paid” guy with boots on the ground? Do get back to me.

katy the mean old lady on May 8, 2010 at 11:19 PM

Anna on May 8, 2010 at 10:54 PM

The whole DC & surrounding areas are a nightmare. We haven’t been stationed there and I really hope we never do. We’re in the Norfolk area now.

What do you mean on-base housing is expensive? If it’s military housing then you don’t pay BAH unless it’s privatized and they deduct your BAH automatically.

Everyone does what’s best for them. Two of our neighbors in Chicago lived off base, but grew tired of the commute so they moved on base. Instead of 30+ mns one-way, they walked to work. :-)

The other challenge is buying a house not knowing how long you’ll be in a location, let alone when you leave sooner than your original orders. Always fun. Some areas facilitate long stays, so the AD member is the one that moves to a different job. We’ve never been able to do that though.

We’ve been in the military, then out, then back in. This life is not for the faint of heart. There are pros and cons, and we make the best of it.

conservative pilgrim on May 8, 2010 at 11:19 PM

That is true. But as a single service member who owns a home, my BAH is lower than the married service member who lives next door. Why is that? Does my house cost less than the married member? I understand why my BAS is lower, I feed less mouths but my BAH? Clearly unfair.

Big John on May 8, 2010 at 10:54 PM

More people=more room needed. Did you need to buy that house? Married people tend to take up more space than a single person, especially if they start acquiring little ones. As someone else pointed out, in the military, it all evens out in the end.

Also, my husband stated, “I’d take the 1% pay cut if it meant that I had 1% more of a chance to come home to my family.”

pookysgirl on May 8, 2010 at 11:22 PM

canopfor on May 8, 2010 at 10:56 PM
=====================================
Thanks!You’ve been so good about sending “tunes” . “Recrurting Sergeant”, and “Farewell to Nova Scotia”. come to mind. I’ll try to pull my good ones from the old ‘puter. Will send themon.

katy the mean old lady on May 8, 2010 at 11:10 PM

katy the mean old lady:I haven’t heard the Irish Rovers in
years.I`m not sure what band you
wanted it in,memories,eh!!!!!:)
========================================================
The Irish Rovers – Farewell To Nova Scotia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v3MAaQLSSI
——————————-

The Irish Rovers Recruiting Sergeant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_FS4zbUw-g&feature=related

canopfor on May 8, 2010 at 11:24 PM

Love them both. Get the Stan Rogers versisons.Awesome!

katy the mean old lady on May 8, 2010 at 11:36 PM

Can you imagine the media if Rummy had made that statement?

hawkdriver on May 8, 2010 at 11:43 PM

BTW, compare what we compensated the 9-11 familes at and what your average military gets if the spouse gets killed.

hawkdriver on May 8, 2010 at 11:47 PM

Asking a soldier if he makes enough money depends on what day of the month it is. I get paid a fortune if you ask me on the 1st or second. By about the 12th, it doesn’t seem like so much.

That being said, to the average single soldier, the vast majority of their pay goes toward non-essentials (I swear the pay raise that comes with being an NCO goes toward my cell phone bill.) Also, time spent deployed allows a soldier to save a lot of money. You can talk about them buying nice cars, but I know guys who bought cars in cash after not spending a dime while spending a year or more in Iraq or Afghanistan.

One other point: The Pentagon is responding to the rising cost of health care that it should have anticipated once truly bulletproof vests became standard issue. Soldiers are surviving wounds that would have been fatal 20 years ago through advances in technology and technique. But instead the Pentagon has been fiddling around with spectacularly expensive toys, oblivious to the notion that America would get involved in actual shooting wars.

As for the problem of pay, split the difference: Make pay raises equal to inflation and not a tenth more for the next five years. Make the pay scale be something planned more than annually, taking the flag-waving, always campaigning politicians out of the equation.

Sgt Steve on May 8, 2010 at 11:50 PM

I wish we could pay them professional baseball level salaries.

Holger on May 8, 2010 at 11:59 PM

And also Ed, the higher pay wasn’t to compensate for our feeling of having treated the Viet Nam era serviceperson poorly.

“In order to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, we have arguably gone overboard in an attempt to assuage the regrets of more than a generation.”

Did you consider that it required more incentive when we transitioned to an all volunteer military? I really don’t believe I’m hearing this from Hot Air leaders. It has taken me 34 year to get to the pay I receive. I am broken and beaten after nine long years of deployments and hard fighting. Now, even you guys want us to feel bad because we’ve finally caught up with our civilian counterparts.

Here’s a news flash America. This last year under the Obama Administration with the “took a half a year to decide” promise of more troops that is already looking like more than a year to fully implement and the ridiculously restrictive ROE and our freaking kids getting blown completely off the roads there because of it has a lot of folks about completely worn out and ready to quit. We have a theater commander that didn’t want us to wear body armor, took away the ability to fire warning shots and necessitates taking to a dang JAG before any trigger is pulled and now the SECDEF wants freeze/reduce our pay and up our health care premium.

So freaking sorry that we’re competetive with the private sector for once in our careers.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:05 AM

So freaking sorry that we’re competetive with the private sector for once in our careers.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:05 AM

hawkdriver:)

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WELCOME HOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 12:12 AM

So freaking sorry that we’re competetive with the private sector for once in our careers.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:05 AM

hawkdriver: I heard a scuttlebutt,rumour that is,that out
of the 30,000 that were to be deployed in Afgh
istan,so far,only half have been sent,while the
rest are pulling double-duty!:)

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 12:22 AM

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Thanks canopfor. I feel like I’ve returned to the Twilight Zone.

This is the last element you’ll need to completely demoralize your military and their families. You’re really going to look to your military for budget savings before you cut sending illegal aliens to college or some other assinine government giveaway?

Every camel has a tensile strength rating.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:23 AM

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 12:22 AM

True!

Gates himself admitted in an article last month there are only 6000 sent since the president agreed to send “half” of what McChystal asked for. And my personal observation is that with the increase of civilians and Kandahar Fobbits, that part of those numbers are the 7000 agreed to at least three years ago for the RC South bridging force.

http://blogs.stripes.com/blogs/stripes-central/gates-repeat-dont-get-too-excited-much-left-do-in-afghanistan

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:27 AM

The media wanted this to be called the forgotten war! Well, it is now!

Bala Murghab

How do you think these guys will take the news that they’re being paid too much?

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:38 AM

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 12:22 AM
=============

True!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:27 AM

hawkdriver: Unfreagginbelievable,and yes your right,you
came home to Liberals THEIR AMERICA,its 1984
and Animal Farm!:)

Adding insult to injury,have you heard that at
the base,or within the shadow of the World Trade
Centre,

there building a Mosque!!!!!!
==========================================

Great News: Huge Mosque Going Up Near WTC Site
———————————————-

A proposal to build a mosque steps from Ground Zero received the support of a downtown committee despite some loved ones of 9/11 victims finding it offensive.

The 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center was unanimously endorsed by the 12-member Community Board 1′s financial district committee.
======================================

http://jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com/2010/05/great-news-huge-mosque-going-up-near.html

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 12:45 AM

The media wanted this to be called the forgotten war! Well, it is now!

Bala Murghab

How do you think these guys will take the news that they’re being paid too much?

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:38 AM

hawkdriver:
===========
But the mission here is hamstrung by a shortage of forces. And except for these show-of-presence patrols, that security bubble is as far as they can go until Afghan reinforcements arrive.

Insurgents sit to their north and to their south, ready at the trigger.
=========================

I also am gonna bet,that air cover has been denied!

And,Obama wants the Afghanistan Mission to collapse on
its own,by him doing nothing!:)

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 12:57 AM

I can’t disagree with the Pentagon’s decision more. I understand fiscal responsibility. I Absolutely think that we should not being spending money that we don’t have.

However, military paychecks are most definitely not a “pork”. When my husband was in the Navy 10 years ago we qualified for food-stamps. Yes, since he’s been out, his rank’s pay has gone up- though not significantly. I know this because he is a disabled veteran and we still receive a portion of his check every month.

While in the Navy, we saw the smartest and most talented in the military plucked out by private sector jobs that were willing to pay more with excellent benefits… and without the ridiculous red-tape government drama. If we are going to keep a qualified and intelligent national defense, we absolutely need to be paying them more.

Jewels on May 9, 2010 at 1:55 AM

Hot Air management is losing touch, period.

usarmyretired on May 9, 2010 at 2:06 AM

A new recruit (E1) still makes less than $1500 a month (granted he is given rations and quarters).

Being forced to live in the barracks is not my idea of pay compensation.

V-rod on May 9, 2010 at 2:17 AM

It is still a volunteer military. We know what we are getting into when we join. There are risks if compensation is pushed too high.

ray on May 9, 2010 at 6:30 AM

It is still a volunteer military. We know what we are getting into when we join. There are risks if compensation is pushed too high.

ray on May 9, 2010 at 6:30 AM

The fact that you volunteered is my point.You put your life on the line defending me? I want to see you get rewarded.

katy the mean old lady on May 9, 2010 at 7:32 AM

There are risks if compensation is pushed too high.

ray on May 9, 2010 at 6:30 AM

What? That we might actually be able to put some coin away for our retirements?

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 7:44 AM

There are plenty of places the Dept. of Defense can cut costs but troop pay isn’t on the list.

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 7:51 AM

What? That we might actually be able to put some coin away for our retirements?

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 7:44 AM

Gawd forbid you should get a pay raise. There are actually people out there who think you should do this for free.
Welcome home! BTW I am on FB and the bat cave thread has my info. If you don’t mind a messy dog haired house, you have a place to visit in S. Florida.

katy the mean old lady on May 9, 2010 at 8:04 AM

There are plenty of places the Dept. of Defense can cut costs but troop pay isn’t on the list.

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Cindy Munford: Correction,there are plenty of areas,that
Hopey/Changey could cut back on,or for that
matter,the government could take a pay cut!!

But,that will happen when pigs fly!!:)

Here’s a website for ya,tracking the money!:)
===========================================================

http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/home.aspx

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 8:16 AM

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Thanks for the link, I am going to bookmark it. Governments, at all levels, are weird. They set a budget for a job and if they haven’t spent the entire amount of that allocated by the end of the fiscal year they go on huge spending sprees. Most private companies would bank that money and use to for a cushion for harder times. They would be considered well managed. Not the government, they have to spend that money or they won’t get more the next fiscal budget. My husband saw this at the federal level and I saw it in the public school system.

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 8:26 AM

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Curious.. is the “take the Queen’s shilling” still in the swearing in?

katy the mean old lady on May 9, 2010 at 8:26 AM

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Cindy Munford won’t let them cut our pay! :-)

I think the bottom line is that Gates is no different than any other liberal bureaucrat. He sees that the poor economy has boosted enlistments/retentions and the carrot of comparable pay is just not necessary. Funny, the liberals loved to question the Bush Administrations dedication to the troops. I suppose rather than being the bad guys by having the presidents office actually start talking about cuts to the military, who already doesn’t have enough operation funds to conduct the tasks assigned different commands, (See story link above about Bala Murghab) you prod the SECDEF into getting the ball rolling.

Obama: Rahm, for do we siphon money out of the military to pay for health care and our immigration reform proposals?

Rahm: By doing what Bill Ayers and George Soros wanted us to do to our military. Make cuts and cripple them.

Obama: But won’t that be bad press. Remember Rummy is Kuwait with the “You go to war with what you have.”

Rahm: But we own the press.

Obama: But won’t guys like Limbaugh and Beck run soundbites of me saying I need to cut their funding?

Rahm: Hmm, poor point. I’ll make Gates break the news.

Obama: Ohhhhhh yeahhhh! He’s mah bitch!!!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:26 AM

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Cindy Munford won’t let them cut our pay!

I think the bottom line is that Gates is no different than any other liberal bureaucrat. He sees that the poor economy has boosted enlistments/retentions and the carrot of comparable pay is just not necessary. Funny, the liberals loved to question the Bush Administrations dedication to the troops. I suppose rather than being the bad guys by having the presidents office actually start talking about cuts to the military, who already doesn’t have enough operation funds to conduct the tasks assigned different commands, (See story link above about Bala Murghab) you prod the SECDEF into getting the ball rolling.

Obama: Rahm, for do we siphon money out of the military to pay for health care and our immigration reform proposals?

Rahm: By doing what Bill Ayers and George Soros wanted us to do to our military. Make cuts and cripple them.

Obama: But won’t that be bad press. Remember Rummy is Kuwait with the “You go to war with what you have.”

Rahm: But we own the press.

Obama: But won’t guys like Limbaugh and Beck run soundbites of me saying I need to cut their funding?

Rahm: Hmm, poor point. I’ll make Gates break the news.

Obama: Ohhhhhh yeahhhh! He’s mah b!tch!!!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:27 AM

The media wanted this to be called the forgotten war! Well, it is now!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Until a Republican is elected President in 2012. Then the screeching will resume.

Kevin71 on May 9, 2010 at 8:33 AM

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:27 AM

I think we all know that I don’t seem to get much say in any of these matters. I am dumbfounded at the things I know that they do, if I knew the whole truth I would probably be catatonic.

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Okay, no coffee in me yet, so it’s”Rummy “in” Kuwait and “good” point…

And hey, I know one easy way to save some bucks. Rather than allowing the liberal media to cow the command into buying bigger, heavier, ever-increasing in size troop carriers, please oh please just let us start killing the men who are burying the bombs in the roads again. We see them doing it. We know where they are. You have just made it nearly impossible to engage him President Obama.

And then less of our guys get killed. It’s a twofer. See how that war thingy works President Obama. We kill more of them, there’s less of them hurt us. If you don’t make the ROE insanely impossible to get around, it’s cheaper to do the killing. Now, I know you liberals don’t like the killing, (unless it’s mock killing of conservative figures at “peace” rallies), but believe me, it just works out better for our side if we kill the bad guys before they kill us. And it’s cheaper!!!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:37 AM

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 8:16 AM
=============================
Curious.. is the “take the Queen’s shilling” still in the swearing in?

katy the mean old lady on May 9, 2010 at 8:26 AM

katy the mean old lady: Ya got me!!!:)

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Context is a wonderful thing…

catmman on May 8, 2010 at 5:42 PM

My son doesn’t have a car.

ladyingray on May 9, 2010 at 8:41 AM

katy the mean old lady on May 9, 2010 at 8:04 AM

Thanks Katy!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:41 AM

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:37 AM

But then you wouldn’t have one of these to display next to your DFC, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/world/Medal-for-_courageous-restraint_-plan-get-mixed-review-from-troops-93007014.html

I have a suggestion for the design. The husband found it in Vietnam back in the 60′s it’s a Peace Symbol but instead of a circle it’s in a teardrop. These people are so stupid they make me cry.

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 8:46 AM

Okay, no coffee in me yet, so it’s”Rummy “in” Kuwait and “good” point…

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:37 AM

hawkdriver: Heres a Salute to you for your service as well
as your medal,and (OTP) One term president vid!
—————————-:)
==========================================================

The Warrior Song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTs6a0ORdQU
==========================
————
=========================

O.T.P. ( One Term President ) by WOLVERINES!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MddREczVeL4

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 8:46 AM

“for” do we…???

Man, my post this morning bite. I should go to running and then find a church service to attend.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM

Geez oh crow, my “posts”…

Canopfer, thanks for the vidoes.

Ladies, good day.

LadyinGray, your son (and all those still out there), our prayers.

Now I’m really leaving before I get accused of BUI. Blogging under the Influence.

Laters!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Now I’m really leaving before I get accused of BUI. Blogging under the Influence.

Laters!

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM

hawkdriver:U-Betcha,have a great day hawk,enjoy yourself!:)

canopfor on May 9, 2010 at 8:59 AM

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Tell the family we say “Hey!”

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 9:01 AM

1. Several things here don’t make ‘sense’; ‘Copay’ increase should impact the insured, not the insurer.
2. A highly paid soldier is usually one of the best soldiers, since the recruiters can be choosy about the candidates.
3. Soldiers, their families, and vets, have access to VA Medical facilities run by THE GOVERNMENT.
4. VA Medical facilities have insurance plans bases on a sliding scale, for civilians with military service backgrounds.
5. The U.S. Government is THE LARGEST consumer of group medical insurance; Someone is not doing their job when it comes to bargaining for premiums.
But, in reality, the U.S. Government is the biggest SUCKER as THE CONSUMER.

Cybergeezer on May 9, 2010 at 9:06 AM

The whole DC & surrounding areas are a nightmare. We haven’t been stationed there and I really hope we never do. We’re in the Norfolk area now.

What do you mean on-base housing is expensive? If it’s military housing then you don’t pay BAH unless it’s privatized and they deduct your BAH automatically.

Everyone does what’s best for them. Two of our neighbors in Chicago lived off base, but grew tired of the commute so they moved on base. Instead of 30+ mns one-way, they walked to work. :-)

The other challenge is buying a house not knowing how long you’ll be in a location, let alone when you leave sooner than your original orders. Always fun. Some areas facilitate long stays, so the AD member is the one that moves to a different job. We’ve never been able to do that though.

We’ve been in the military, then out, then back in. This life is not for the faint of heart. There are pros and cons, and we make the best of it.

conservative pilgrim on May 8, 2010 at 11:19 PM

Because the housing is privatized (at Ft. Meade), the rules have changed. Utilities are no longer covered completely, and the houses weren’t built with heating costs in mind (high, useless ceilings for one thing). I’m not paying 2 grand (roughly, E-6 with dependants) for a 3 bedroom townhouse, plus $250 or more for electric and water, when I can pay $1400 for a 4 bedroom house on land, with the same utilities. We lived off-base in VB, and didn’t pay our full BAH either – the extra money is useful to cover other expenses, like groceries, utilities, gas, stuff like that.

We made the mistake of buying the last time, since we were supposed to be homesteading, but things changed. So we’re renting this time – the nice thing is, my husband was born and raised up here, so it’s more comfortable than living closer to base (besides being cheaper).

Anna on May 9, 2010 at 9:27 AM

As a retired G.I. (25 years USAF), I can support the call to provide another pay raise until a reorganization of the force structure is realized.

First, we have to understand why we are having a hard time with returnees and break down in command structure(s). This is becoming more pronounced and problematic when trying to integrate regular Forces with Reservists, and Guard. Regulars working side by side with Guard members who rotate sooner (and in many cases return more often).

Second, Reservists who have not kept up with their required training requirements (because there are easy to miss and be excused).

As an Operations Plans a Tactics type, The solution is really simple. First, seriously reevaluate the actual size of the Regular forces and equip them accordingly with the latest and greatest technology. Second, evaluate how our Reservist forces is sized to maintain more than enough personnel levels in the critical specialties to insure there are enough personnel to replenish the regular forces projected loss rate and ensure Reservists make their meetings and train on the newest technologies that the regulars are using or use the Reservists as the training ground for these technologies during their planned deployments to insure proper replenishment of the regulars that can quickly transition replace the regular losses without much in field training. Third, evaluate the National Guard mission and consider it as the fifth or sixth (depending on how you categorize the Coast Guard-looking logistically the USCG could be the naval arm of a State Guard with a water boarder. This arm is a States means to protect it from a different enemy (natural disaster), or the enemy that breaks free of the front lines with the intention to infiltrate any State to generate terror in the mind of U.s. citizens. where control of the residents is necessary to maintain order.

After reviewing current force levels, deployment schedules etc. These changes will lead to a more effective use of our forces to fight an enemy on their homeland, with sufficient levels of trained and equipped replacements until those reservists can be replaced by regulars trained in the latest combat techniques and equipment. While maintaining the proper level of forces to combat different enemies on the Homeland.

MSGTAS on May 9, 2010 at 10:05 AM

I love how people who have never served in the military become experts on what is fair or appropriate in terms of pay, allowances, or benefits paid to our nations military.

First off, most Privates (PV1 and PV2) are unskilled labor – plain simple fact. Junior NCOs (CPL and SGT) are new to the job of leading troops. The same is true on the Officer side of the fence. That’s just the way it is and you can’t make it fair or even across the board – there’s a small difference between being a cook or infantryman and a computer tech or radioman.

Pay and Allowances, everyone always has some reason they should be paid more or get this benefit or that. BAH was designed to offset the cost of lack of government housing near the base. There is NO reason to pay someone living in the barracks BAH or rations! Being single in the military is the same as being single working a Burger King or somewhere on Wall Street. So is being married in those jobs.

If you really want to bitch about the way military pay and allowances are treated – let’s talk about combat theaters and bonuses. I never agreed with a cook or admin type sitting at a FOB or Camp just doing their job getting the same benies as the infantryman or other combat joes who were out in the sticks and streets bleeding to accomplish the mission. Yes, those folks are important to the mission. The folks at the point of the spear are the ones who should be over paid!

God Bless every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, and Marine. I thoroughly enjoyed my 23 years of service with you all, and greatly miss the camaraderie of my troops! Toujours Pret

jackal40 on May 9, 2010 at 10:11 AM

My husband said when he went in 1968 he was paid $94 a month. Of course the clothed, fed and housed him also.

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Anna on May 9, 2010 at 9:27 AM

You’re in VB? We’re at JEB LC.

That is crazy with the bills. Some companies include it, others don’t. Thankfully everything is included for our current place. The electricity would put us under. It sounds like your situation is great, minus the commute part. So far, we’ve always been on base. Other friends do the opposite. Works for us now. In the next tour or two, we’d like to buy. 20 is fast approaching.

conservative pilgrim on May 9, 2010 at 10:42 AM

As long as the US government has enough money for a group of lazy Americans to perpetually inhabit the welfare state i say give ‘em all raises. These guys/girls are the only thing separating terrorists from our back yard and giving their lives to make sure we dont have to….

The federal government spends billions paying people to do nothing, grow nothing, have babies, abort babies, etc. This issue seems a no brainer. Soldiers should make as good a living as possible and it should never be on the table when discussing government spending cuts. We have about a million things we need to cut from the federal budget and not one of them has anything to do with soldiers’ pay.

alecj on May 9, 2010 at 11:21 AM

I must disagree in part with MSGTAS. It seems he’s forgotten the amount of damage the reductions in force (RIF’s) caused when it was time to “save” money due to budget constraints. Are pay raises really needed at this juncture – especially if we’re seeing parity in some areas?

Yes, reevaluate the force structure. We need to seriously reduce the 50 (or more) to 1 ratio between support and actual operators.

From the start integrate reserve and guard components into the regular force during drills and training cycles rather than keeping them separate. Take advantage of the day-to-day expertise regular troops provide and can train in.

I believe you may be misinformed with regards to the Coast Guard and recommend a bit more research into that service. Just because they have “Guard” in their name does not mean their sole duty is in a guard role. Active duty and reserve units are currently serving in the Iraq theater where their special areas of expertise apply. They’ve been doing so since Desert Shield.

I’m sorry but I am unable to lend a sympathetic ear to those who decry how hard their life is or how unfair it is when it comes to the BENEFITS. You may too when you realize those who are doing the complaining are the ones stationed at home in the U.S. Nearly half of my 20 year career was spent where there were no bases, minimal housing and the largest city population was maybe 15,000 on a good day. Not to mention it was during the wonderful days we were called baby killers and scum.

Again, sorry, no sympathy here. You knew what you were going into when you VOLUNTEERED and I can’t recall a single phrase in the contract that guaranteed much more than the basics.

dkeppner on May 9, 2010 at 11:24 AM

If you really want to bitch about the way military pay and allowances are treated – let’s talk about combat theaters and bonuses. I never agreed with a cook or admin type sitting at a FOB or Camp just doing their job getting the same benies as the infantryman or other combat joes who were out in the sticks and streets bleeding to accomplish the mission. Yes, those folks are important to the mission. The folks at the point of the spear are the ones who should be over paid!

jackal40 on May 9, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Everyone in uniform, from the cook at the base to the Joint Chief support the infantry. The concept is a team effort. The infantry would be in trouble in a hurry with the medical staff, supply people, helicopter pilots, airplane pilots, artillery, and so on. The infantry is the tip of the sword, but it’s a very big sword.

Hog Wild on May 9, 2010 at 11:26 AM

The absurdly outdated pension system (you can retire after 20 years, as young as 37 or 38) at half pay) was supposed to make up for the low pay.

Now we have pretty damn good pay (especially during the Obama depression) along with an incredible pension system no one in the private sector receives.

Not sustainable.

But then we have complete gutless idiots running Congress, so by all means, write more rubber checks.

NoDonkey on May 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM

NoDonkey on May 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I would submit there are plenty in the private sector and many especially from unions who receive a sight bit more than half pay when they retire.

Full pay, complete medical and dental, which military retirees don’t all qualify for BTW plus full COLA allowances and adjustments every year as term of their contracts.

If someone spends twenty plus years in the military service of their nation, service which isn’t guarded by union stewards, has to pay for their military health care every year once they are retired, and who receives 40-50% of their BASE PAY as a ‘retirement’, isn’t really what I would call an “incredible pension system”.

Now I planned things out and live comfortably on my retirement pay after twenty-two years of active service (w/my wife working) and am not bitching it isn’t enough, but let’s not make it out to be something it ain’t either.

catmman on May 9, 2010 at 2:19 PM

However, since Congress refuses to apply those to itself, let alone the Pentagon, I’d assume that they will comply with the Pentagon’s request and roll back some of the pay increases in the short term.

This is an absolutely reasonable approach and should be considered. We’ve seen a steady string of pay increases over the years, a string that is longer than the service committments of most service members. A pay increase for the military is a politically easy and safe vote for a Congressman to make, but, it can be pandering. I also reject the ones who argue that “defense cuts” amount to slashing weapons systems, undermining the troops and such. It’s the analog to the weak argument that “cut the education budget and teachers and kids suffer”—it’s pandering, straight up. Look, if something is big enough to be in the budget, its big enough to be modified, either up or down or cut altogether. Defense is necessary, outside of that, all that we bitch about is the price.

ted c on May 9, 2010 at 2:31 PM

:”Not sustainable” NoDonkey on May 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Exactly, so what happens when the all volunteer model that has worked so well for nearly 40 years is made unsustainable? The new 100% draft at very low pay. The left wants to break it like it is trying to break everything else.

ray on May 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM

conservative pilgrim on May 9, 2010 at 10:42 AM

We used to be (just sold our house). My husband was at 2nd Fleet, staff job – but we’re back at Ft. Meade. It’s a great place to be stationed, career-wise (which is why Tim is looking at contracting), but it’s super-expensive for a one-income family.

We wanted to live on base, but other than the cost, there’s another reason we chose not to. The Picerne employees are allowed to live on base, in whatever neighborhoods they choose to. There are civilians that live on base too, ones that work for the gov’t agencies on Ft. Meade. They don’t always pay the same amount for the same houses either – I lived on base for a month after I got out of the military, in my same house – and paid $300 less that month. There’s something wrong with that, in my opinion.

Anna on May 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Not sure I buy the bit about military paying better than private sector.

I was in in peacetime, noncombat MOS, assigned to a hospital. 50-60 hour weeks were normal, and that’s not counting P.T. formations, barracks details or gate guard or C.Q. runner duty.

malclave on May 9, 2010 at 7:57 PM

This is the last element you’ll need to completely demoralize your military and their families. You’re really going to look to your military for budget savings before you cut sending illegal aliens to college or some other assinine government giveaway?

Every camel has a tensile strength rating.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Concur all, and WELCOME BACK!!

Khun Joe on May 9, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Here’s an idea. Stop paying professional politicians. Keep paying the young men and women. We need their expertise and they desire the cash. Name another job that yanks you out of your life repeatedly to run hi-tech equipment on the other side of the world in a desert while getting shot at and blown up! If you do find that job, I suggest you pay them too.

archer52 on May 9, 2010 at 9:43 PM

OK this is driving me crazy… On the subject of Military Pay, etc, etc, etc….. here is my personal opinion:
————————————————————
ON PAY: Those soldiers that actually take their job seriously, the one’s that “bleed green”, do their job for more than just pay, they didn’t join for the money they joined for patriotism —- when a soldier signs their name on that contract they no longer have the same rights as a civilian, they have signed their lives to be used at the discretion of “Uncle Sam.” My soldier would be making double in a similar civilian job than what he does in the military for far fewer hours. Soldiers don’t get paid “over-time.” In my soldier’s current position he puts in roughly 75+ hours per week, and is in a two year slot. Meaning he will do this for two years strait. (No, he’s not a Drill SGT, they get incentive pay for their time.) There isn’t much time to take vacation either. He makes the same amount as a soldier at the same rank as him that has an 8-5 desk job. A major difference between military and civilian life is that you can’t “quit” the military until your contract is up (you can get kicked out for various reasons, but it’s still difficult). In the civilian world you don’t normally see your sub managers getting written up because their underling got a DUI over the weekend on their free time…. yet in the military some units hold NCO’s accountable for the off duty actions of the privates in their chain of command! Also, in the civilian world you don’t see bosses telling their employees that they are restricted travel to a 50 mile radius from their place of work. Or that they are forbidden to patronize a certain establishment in their local area. The point of these examples is not for complaining, but to show that few and far between incentives (pay, housing for dependents, health care for dependents) that soldiers get for the sacrifices they make that civilians don’t have to are worth it. Without them, patriotism or not, you wouldn’t have first class army we have today. And contrary to belief, most enlisted soldiers who put in the years to retirement, come out with a college education (the military pushes the soldiers to get one and provides the ability to do so while “active duty”) and major job skills, that allow them to make double or triple their military salary in the civilian world.
————————————————————
Ok the technical side of Pay:
Officers have one pay chart. Enlisted have another (this includes NCO’s).
—————–
In the pay for every “generic” soldier you get Base pay (on which you are taxed) and a food allowance (BAS) (for the soldier only) and housing allowance (BAH).
—————–
Base pay is calculated by rank, then how much time you have in service. So, for the most part, everyone in the same rank roughly makes the same pay.
—————–
BAH varies from location to location (based on Cost of Living) for each rank. Also I need to make this clear… if you live in base housing you NEVER physically see this money. Since they privatized military housing, it shows on you pay statement (LES) for record keeping purposes only. Also, if you live on base and you keep the use of your utilities (electric/heat/air) in a reasonable range, they are covered in that BAH amount as well. If you live off base, you will receive the BAH for your rank and yes it is more if you have dependents, but not that much more.
—————
Over the years I have noticed a trend with BAH – most of the time they would like to see the lower enlisted stay in base housing. Example: if you rank is E4 or below they offer such a small BAH (to even married soldiers) that you cannot afford to live off base for what they give compared to on base. I have noticed that if they want more of a certain rank on base they will lower the BAH for certain ranks while raising others.
——————
Oh another note: A LOT of base housing is substandard, ghetto like, if I may, major mold problems, structural problems, etc. Even when they privatized the housing office, there isn’t enough money to tear down and rebuild or update housing fast enough. Currently on the base we are stationed at, there is a big push by the housing company to remodel existing housing, some has been torn down and rebuilt (too fast and again somewhat substandard). This is all for married soldiers and single upper enlisted and officers. Now, for the single enlisted (and I am speaking for the base we are at, but I am assuming this is going on else ware as well) they are creating apartment complexes that are nicer than some of the upscale apartments that are developed in college communities. E1-E4s have 2 soldiers to an apartment each getting their own separate room with a common area including kitchenette (with microwave) and each apartment has its own washer and dryer. This is SOOOOO much better than the barracks system where you either had bays or dorm like set ups.
—————-

Yes, and single military members don’t get it. That still makes it different pay for the same job. Sorry, it still isn’t “fair”.
ladyingray on May 8, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Why should my son who has no wife or child, but the same EXACT risk of dying, receive less benefit/pay than his married friend? If the friend can’t afford to support a family on equal income, like those of us in the private (not to mention, other “public”)sector have to manage to do, then perhaps the friend shouldn’t marry or have children.
ladyingray on May 8, 2010 at 4:03 PM

—-
Ok,WHEN has life ever been fair? Housing for dependants is a perk (one of the few) the military offers to the soldier for basically signing their rights and lives away to the discretion of “Uncle Sam”. First of all, if your son is single and lives off base with roommates he is most likely pocketing a large majority of his BAH, so I would say he is somewhat better off financially than his married counterpart. Secondly, if your son lives on base, all of his basic needs are covered, food, housing, electricity, heating/air, the only thing he is responsible for is his phone or cable and whatever bills he has chosen to take on himself.

HouseHold6 on May 10, 2010 at 1:03 AM

I would submit there are plenty in the private sector and many especially from unions who receive a sight bit more than half pay when they retire.

Full pay, complete medical and dental, which military retirees don’t all qualify for BTW plus full COLA allowances and adjustments every year as term of their contracts.

If someone spends twenty plus years in the military service of their nation, service which isn’t guarded by union stewards, has to pay for their military health care every year once they are retired, and who receives 40-50% of their BASE PAY as a ‘retirement’, isn’t really what I would call an “incredible pension system”.

–Almost no one in the private sector receives 50% of their base pay in the form of a joint and several annuity unless they’ve spent about twenty five years with one company that offers a pension plan (very few companies in the private sector continue to do so for new employees). Most pension formulas give an employee about 1%-1.5% of their annual base salary (or annual base salary plus benefits) for each year of service as part of the pension formula, and that is often reduced by a social security offset.

Jimbo3 on May 10, 2010 at 1:06 PM

This is the last element you’ll need to completely demoralize your military and their families. You’re really going to look to your military for budget savings before you cut sending illegal aliens to college or some other assinine government giveaway?

Every camel has a tensile strength rating.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2010 at 12:23 AM
Concur all, and WELCOME BACK!!

Khun Joe on May 9, 2010 at 9:17 PM

–Don’t count me as concurring. Why should the US pay any more than the minimum amount needed to prevent people from choosing another job over the service at the beginning or end of their enlistment? That’s what would be the case if the free market were at work.

Jimbo3 on May 10, 2010 at 1:09 PM

How does military pay compare to mercenary work? Wouldn’t that be the most applicable private sector model?

TheUnrepentantGeek on May 10, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Jimbo3 on May 10, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Here is the guy begging us to pay for his health care that he claims he can’t afford. Here is the guy that claims he can’t afford health care because of some preexisting condition yet always posts about where to eat out and what great concerts he’s been to. Here is a guy that has probably never been in the military b!tching about how they shouldn’t get more pay than is absolutely necessary to retain them. Here is probably the most selfish self-center and sorry sack of fecal material I have even seen post a comment here. You are a piece of work.

BTW, my yard still needs trimming.

hawkdriver on May 10, 2010 at 11:54 PM

Here is the guy begging us to pay for his health care that he claims he can’t afford. Here is the guy that claims he can’t afford health care because of some preexisting condition yet always posts about where to eat out and what great concerts he’s been to. Here is a guy that has probably never been in the military b!tching about how they shouldn’t get more pay than is absolutely necessary to retain them. Here is probably the most selfish self-center and sorry sack of fecal material I have even seen post a comment here. You are a piece of work.

BTW, my yard still needs trimming.

hawkdriver on May 10, 2010 at 11:54 PM

–And you’re quite a selfish sorry sack of cr*p yourself hawkdriver for thinking you “deserve” anything more than the free market pays. You seem to have a union worker mentality.

Jimbo3 on May 11, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Comment pages: 1 2