As Andrew Tilghman at Military Times reports, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, is telling the troops that, while they may not be getting much in the way of pay raises, they will be better off for it and that:
... the historic reductions in military compensation he proposing is, in part, an effort to keep them safe.
More money for readiness and equipment that will pay off on the battlefield even if it means less for the home front where:
compensation changes — if they become law — would reduce many troops annual compensation by more than $1,000. The pay raise that is less than the annual consumer price index increase will shave several hundred dollars from most paychecks. Reducing BAH [Basic Allowance for Housing] payments by 5 percent will likely shave several hundred more from household cash flows. The rising commissary prices could result in increases of several hundred dollars in annual costs for some military families.
These things, Hagel says, are important but the troops need:
… to keep in mind why they made an initial decision to join the military.
“Why’d you do that?” Hagel asked a group of soldiers. “I doubt it was for the pay and compensation or even the glory,” Hagel told soldiers at Fort Eustis
“You are doing something for your county. You are doing something for other people. It is as noble of a profession as there is in the world.”
News broke this week that under a plan released by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the United States Army will be reduced to its smallest force since before World War II. Though not directly related to that plan, another announcement this week by the Defense Department gives, perhaps, a taste of what those cuts may look like. Plans are underway for massive cuts to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the organization that has led military's efforts to combat a weapon of choice among insurgents and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. JIEDDO's current staff of 3,000 will be reduced to 1,000 by the end of this fiscal year, and further plans could see the number fall as low as 400 down the road.
It's been almost a year since THE WEEKLY STANDARD quoted Philip Larkin’s great 1969 poem, “Homage to a Government." Yesterday the Obama administration released its 2015 defense budget, shrinking the Army to its lowest size since 1940 and reducing base defense spending to less than 3 percent of GDP. It's time once again for Larkin.
The Republican chairman of the House Budget committee criticized the Obama administration's plans to shrink the defense budget in a statement.
“The House Republican budgets have consistently met the needs of our military leadership," said Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican. "It’s disappointing that the President continues to use these vital funds as bargaining chips for higher taxes and more domestic spending."
Andrew Marshall, the longtime director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, has had a number of titles conferred on him over the years. A 1999 profile in Washingtonian magazine dubbed him “the most influential policy maker you have never heard of.” Others of us who have known him over the years have christened him “the Jedi Master” because, like the enigmatic Yoda from the George Lucas Star Wars saga, he has an uncanny ability to see ahead and to grasp the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s adversaries.
Showing the good sense for which it is famous, the federal government—specifically the Obama Department of Defense—has announced its plans to cancel the nationally televised Air Force-Navy football game on Saturday, thereby jeopardizing millions of dollars (and inconveniencing a great many veterans) to save thousands in travel costs. The Baltimore Sun reports:
In a statement, the Pentagon says, "the United States military is prepared for any contingency involving Syria." The statement comes from this announcement of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's phone call with his British and French counterparts:
The British launched the opening attack of the 3rd battle of Ypres on July 31, 1917. The objective was to destroy a rail junction on which the German army depended for Western Front supplies. The plan included British naval as well as amphibious assaults on the nearby Belgian coast. The naval action was to have loosened Germany’s grip on continental ports whose danger to England—in the hands of an enemy—hearkened back to Napoleon and foreshadowed Hitler’s Operation Sea Lion both of which British dominance at sea decisively turned back.
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel whether he recommended the president veto a defense spending bill. Hagel answered by saying he hasn't been consulted on the legislation: