Gates Puts Military Pay Cuts on the Table

03 Economy, Budgets & Funding, Cultural Intelligence, Military
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Why are we not surprised?

Gates Puts Pay Cuts on the Table, May 26, 2011

Terry Howell

Under pres­sure to reduce the DoD bud­get, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert Gates has – until recently – avoided ask­ing for a reduc­tion in mil­i­tary pay and ben­e­fits. How­ever, the Wall Street Jour­nal has reported that increas­ing pres­sure on law­mak­ers to make big­ger cuts in the fed­eral deficit has con­vinced defense bud­get plan­ners that Con­gress is will­ing to look at cut­ting mil­i­tary com­pen­sa­tion.

Since the begin­ning of his term as Sec Def, Gates has avoided ask­ing for mil­i­tary pay freezes or reduc­tions. He has instead sought to reduce the cost of TRICARE by increas­ing annual pre­mi­ums and fees for mil­i­tary retirees and tax­ing their employ­ers if retirees opt-out of employer pro­vided health care. So far his repeated attempts to make major changes to TRICARE have been thwarted by Con­gress – mainly due to pres­sure from groups like the Mil­i­tary Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica.

How­ever, pres­sure from the White House to make $400B in cuts may have forced Gates’ hand. In fact, Sec. Gates reently floated the idea that reduc­ing mil­i­tary com­pen­sa­tion may not be a bad idea. Gates told a group that reduc­ing mil­i­tary pay wouldn’t neg­a­tively impact recruit­ing; point­ing out that even dur­ing the worst of the Iraq war the Army was the only ser­vice that didn’t exceed their recruit­ing and reten­tion goals.

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