Gates Pitches Military pay Cuts

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Christcorp, May 30, 2011.

  1. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304520804576343482047107402.html

    I was waiting for someone to pick up on this. Didn't see it, so I thought I would. Sorry, but I had very little respect for Gates all along. This just reinforces my opinion of him. And his replacement isn't much better when it comes to the military.

    And it probably wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't for the back door pork spending that congress does, by hiding discretionary spending inside the DOD budget. Ever heard of ""Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund"? Well, it's in the May 27th Defense Bill.

    People need to stop being naive when it comes to politics. Too many people talk about presidential elections. Well, as much as I do not approve of Obama, the presidency is not the problem. Not with Obama, or Bush, or Clinton, or Bush, or Regan, or Carter, etc.... It's with congress. We need the vast majority of representatives and senators voted out of office. And if the next batch doesn't improve, you vote their sorry butts out too. "Before they get a pension". The American voter really does have the power, and IS the solution, to our country's problems.

    The military has been lied to for decades. From pay, to healthcare, to benefits. A good portion of the defense budget isn't even directly spent on the military. The answer is; was; and will always be: "The 10th Amendment". The federal government has way too much power. They have their hands, feet and peckers in things they have no business in. Dept education, health care, dept interior, Dept transportation, etc... should all be functions taken care of at the state level. If it doesn't deal directly with INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, or directly with INTERSTATE AFFAIRS, the federal government should have absolutely no business in it. Even the department of energy is a joke. It was formed in the late 70's because of our dependency of foreign oil. We were at 30%+. It was designed to help us eliminate or reduce that dependency. Today; we are at 70%+ dependency to foreign fuel; AND the DOE budget is up to $29.5 BILLION!!!! Oh yea; that makes a lot of freakin sense. They've really helped us reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

    Come on folks, wake up.
     
  2. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I am in agreement. The American people have the ability to stop this crap. Unfortunately, the peoples collective memories seem to be too short. Decisions are made based on what is spoon fed us by the mainstream media in the last couple of months before an election. There is so much that could be cut without screwing the men and women that are willing to give there lives to preserve our country.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's just as bad inside the walls of the Pentagon, and between the services. Heck I felt it too. I hear about cuts and I say "Sure, sounds good, the U.S. XXXXXXXXX has been wasting money, less for them and more for me."


    You hear about green or blue money etc etc etc.


    Before I got out I had one last program, and I was sitting in a chief's club at the Groton Subbase in CT listening to a Marine Corps captain whine about how much money the Marine Corps gets...

    I was able to keep silent for about... 15 seconds or so before I spoke up. The U.S. Marine Corps is 4 times the size of the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Marine Corps budget is 14 times the size of the U.S. Coast Guard. I hear about how much money DOD WASTES on its bands. Or the waste of R&D in the Air Force. The Navy cries about having "Reagan era ships.". I served on a ship commissioned 20 years before the Reagan era began, and it's no where near the oldest in the fleet, or the class. The Coast Guard's fleet is failing, and it's going to get worse.



    That's a nut shell of what kind of happens in the walls Gates owns. Sure, the services will say "Don't Cut"....but what they think is "Don't cut mine....cut his".


    And all I have to say is .... cut theirs.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    There are so many areas that could be cut. Let alone the discretionary spending congress does for their own political gain. But I do have a problem when some bone-head; especially the one who is suppose to be the most knowing; says that the right answer is to cut military personnel's pay and benefits.
     
  5. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    Pay

    If your going to change our pay and benefits. Change to reflect civilian pay. Im on leave all week but still dialing into a daily telecon. My wife asks how can they make you do that. Do you get paid for that. No i said

    It would be nice if the CBO did a comparison of military salaries to civilians but at an hourly rate. Most civilians dont recognize the hours active duty folks put in now a days. With the military half the size it was 15 years ago and fighting 2+ wars this isnt a 9 to 5 job it may have been back in the day. Plus the civilianization of more functions just puts a greater burden on the remaining active force for overtime work.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Additionally, every yr they do studies re:military pay vs. civilian pay, believe it or not they come out quite close to corporate world when you take into account the bennies. I.E. BAH is not taxable, if you live in NJ for example that can tally @ 30K+ a yr non-taxable. Trust me Dental care in the corporate world runs much, much higher than the 20 bucks you pay for a family in the military. Same is true for health insurance. Add in the commissary bennies, and you are looking at a lot more than you ever realized.

    It is not how much you make, but how much you keep.

    I know I will be attacked for this, but here goes. If they are going to cut pay, it should not be pay, but bonuses. It is insane to be giving not 1, but 2 pilot bonuses in the 6 figures during this economy. These bonuses were created for retention purposes to keep experienced aviators in the military and not to go to commercial. Commercial airlines are not hiring currently, so where are they going to go? These bonuses can quickly come back on line when it is needed. Additionally, the 2nd bonus at the 15 yr marker is insane. Everyone I never knew anyone swayed to stay with that carrot. They took it, but they always knew they were sticking around before it was even offered.

    I am not saying get rid of flight pay. I believe that should stick around, mainly as any aviator knows when you buy life insurance on the outside (most do) it is very expensive because you are classified as a high risk. As an O1 flight pay is only @125 bucks, taxable, so actually it is really about 95 a month more, which is about the cost for even a small policy.

    Finally, guess what in the corporate world, the same thing would happen re:telecon and vacation. It is not just the military. Plus, jmpo, it is your choice to dial in. Believe it or not the office will survive without you. I think your work ethic is great, but for a second pretend you take leave on a cruise in Italy from the US. Ship to shore lines for daily telecons are not easy or cheap. Or how about a camping trip in Denali, poor phone service, plus time zone differences. I highly doubt they expect you to be getting up at 3 a.m. to make the phone call from AK to DC. For most people at that level the real issue is deconflicting the schedule to take leave due to the amount of "mandated" meetings or TDYs. For others it is the total fear of getting back to work with 300 emails waiting to be answered. Trust me, not one week goes by without Bullet getting a phone call at home at night due to a crisis, but he has also gotten to a point where he understands the term "burn out" and the best thing to do is when he takes a 4 day weekend to pretend he is nowhere near a phone or a computer. They can contact him if they need him, but unless they do he is not going to call in. (OBTW, he is a civilian now).
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The newest one to chime in was Mullen.
    http://www.military.com/news/article/mullen-says-pay-benefit-cuts-on-the-table.html

    Looks like we will start doling out more money for health care. Kind of funny because the D's use the affordability of the military system to prove how it won't bankrupt our country, meanwhile, the DoD is saying that it is a fiscal burden in the military, that they cannot afford to carry at this level anymore.

    As a retiree I get raising the premiums, because most do have the ability to get private insurance with their 2nd career, yet opt not to due to cost. Flip side is, that was a promise given and it is their choice whether to utilize it or not.

    I am guessing they will take the pay lead from the govt., and freeze all pay raises for the next few yrs, or they may do the old govt system where it is tied to COLA @1% below, unlike currently where it is 1% above COLA.

    The only thing that will really tick me off is if they do this and our elected officials decide to give themselves a pay raise. That is exactly what they did back in the 90's.
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Well; you've read my opinion in the past about Mullen. It's not much better than for Gates. They've gone political, and are looking at their future. Currently, the military has a lot of WASTE!!! Saying that pay and benefits should be hit before any programs, is political double talk designed to show that you're willing to make the "Tough Decisions". He's so full of it. Want to make the tough decision? Go into your military budget, and show the media: "Hey guys, we found this $1 Billion plus that was "Accidentally" put into our budget. It's called "Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund". So here's a $1 Billion cut in our budget, right off the top. Of course, you'll have half of congress back peddling and trying to explain how THEY put the money in the defense budget, so they could have discretionary spending; being earmarks, pork, etc... was banned from being allowed.

    Then; turn around and cut the WASTE in military spending. There is not one program, project, pay, or benefit that has to be touched, IF the military would simply find and stop the waste; AND get our men/women out of parts of the world we don't need to be in. Mullen says pay and benefits are the biggest expenditure? I wonder how much it costs to operationally be in afghan, iraq, libya, etc... Having our ships off the coast??? Our congress is made up of people who initially had good intentions. They rationalized that they couldn't do anyone any good, if they weren't in office. And that it takes money to stay in office. Therefor, it's ok to take money from big business and special interests. In return, they've taken many of these benefits personally. Of course, they think they're doing the people of their state good by funneling a lot of this money into local companies. Take a bunch of Junior Officers and Junior NCO's, and let them find the waste and stop it. They haven't been caught up in the politics yet.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You are right. However, I don't see that on the table I see returning to what it was like in the early 90's.

    I bet we are going to see "homesteading" again. If you recall, the AF had that yrs ago to cut costs. Basically, they stated if you wanted to hang at one base and not PCS it would not ding your career progression. They did this to save on PCS costs. Yrs. later when money was flowing, they stated, if you want to get promoted, you need to move every few yrs.

    You will also see medical benefits change drastically, this will include health insurance. Back in the 90's it felt like every other month there was a new provider, Concordia, Delta, etc. It changed often to get a better deal. Back in the 90's was the start of only allowing AD members use OB/GYN, every hospital had maternity wards and ER. By mid 90's they were gone. Back in the early 90's you could go to the pharmacy and get cough medicine, aspirin, nasal spray for free, by 93 that was gone.

    Good deal TDY's are going to go Buh-bye. Back in the early 90's cross country TDY's were there for the taking, now if you have to sell your 1st born to get one.

    They also changed the VA loans. You use to be able to re-use the loan as often as you wanted with a 1% funding fee. Now it is a 3% funding fee to re-use.

    Housing also will take a hit probably. The rule of thumb, at least for AF is they try to make sure you only pay 20% out of pocket. They may decide to forgo that premise and raise it to 25%.

    We may also see places like Ft Fisher be sold off or the Hale Koa. If not sold off, but drastically raise prices. They did that too in the 90's.

    I think these are the ways they are going to approach it. I think they are going to take the playbook for the 90's and do it again. Remember back in the 90's from an operational standpoint we weren't much different. AF and Navy never left the sandbox, we also had Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, etc.

    They didn't touch hardware as much as they touched the bennies for military members. Additionally, this economy is also on par with the 90's, regarding unemployment and housing crisis. You can't start hitting hardware, because as you stated the elected officials are in it to protect their constituents. Cut a program, close a base and that hits the economy. Force military members to pay more for Tri-Care, it hits a smaller group. I know I will be taken to the woodshed for saying this, but honestly the premiums have not increased in 15 yrs. It is unrealistic not to see this as an area to address.

    I have so many friends employed by Boeing, SWA, United, FedEX, etc., who do not take company insurance. Why? Because it is cheaper to use Tri-Care on base. The problem is that is a drain on the system. It means they need more docs, be it military or civilian contractors. It means more wear and tear on equipment. It means spending more money. If they raise the premiums for retirees, many who are 40 something, they will opt to take their company's insurance, and reduce the stress on the system.

    My pet peeve regarding fraud, waste and abuse. There is a rule, unless your child is in school as a full time student they are not eligible for health coverage. If in school it is 23. Find me one person, who has ever had to prove to the military their kid is in school under Tri-Care. Go corporate, you must show every yr that they are enrolled, with letter head from the school for current enrollment. I bet millions of dollars are being wasted just there. Not trying to be a jerk. I am just saying, the amount of fraud and abuse also is internal. We all knew the rules, and many who have children that are 20 finding themselves, don't say to them, you are off my insurance. Instead, they as parents, feel nobody is getting hurt by ignoring that little line about "enrolled in college". Well now, people are going to get hurt. People might have to pay more, because too many ignored that little line and the DoD can't afford to give out like they use to.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  10. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Most did initially have good intentions and some keep the good intentions. Anything can be rationalized and the good intentions often get horribly twisted. They refuse to make the hard decisions because they are not necessarily popular and at the end of the day it is about them and keeping their position of power. I think the average cost of winning a senate seat is over 6 mil. The job pays $174,000. Think anything might be wrong. I don't think it is about a $174,00 job and I don't think it is about service. Sure their is a lot that can be cut without hurting the effectiveness of the military or the people that serve but collectively congress is worried about power not the country.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Pima; For the entire 4 years that my daughter was in college; 2005-2009, I did have to provide the base proof of her enrollment in college to maintain her ID card and coverage. I had to do that every year once she turned 18. That only stopped 2 years ago, so it was pretty recent.

    But I do agree that there is a LOT of FWA going on. Unfortunately, a lot of it is happening in day to day operations, and no one wants to talk about that. The prefer to look at the largest cost; e.g. pay/personnel/benefits; and make chopping cuts. The right thing is to stop FWA, then become more efficient, then look at the areas that affect people directly.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Here's FWA for you. Granted it is small, but every penny counts when we are looking to save money.

    DS flies out on Sunday to WP AFB for his pilot physical. The AF will fly him commercial, pay lodging, taxi's, and per diem for 5 days. Now I get doing this if there is no military installation in the area, BUT, in our area we have Bethesda, Belvoir, and Andrews. All biggies. 2 of those 5 days are travel, 3 are for physicals. They could have saved hundreds of dollars by sending him to a military hospital in the area...remember, 1 is Navy, 1 is Army, 1 is AF.

    If Bethesda is good enough for our President to get checked out, it should be the same for our ROTC cadets. If Andrews is good enough for the pilots that fly our President it should be for our ROTC cadets.

    As I said, it is a drop in the bucket, but start multiplying it out for every ROTC cadet, and it adds up. 8 cadets from DS's school are going. They are being flown in from everywhere. This is just 1 college. Take 500 ROTC cadets and multiply it out for 1 week. That is a lot of money for a small subset of the military.

    This is IMPO, waste!

    The same is true at the Pentagon. Does the avg American know that they have white glove luncheon service in the Pentagon for the hierarchy? How about cutting that out before you start nailing the boots on the ground?

    Does the avg American know that Wing Kings get a monthly entertaining budget? That when they vacate the house after 18 months all new carpet is laid?

    There is a lot of waste, and unfortunately people attack the big ticket items without understanding or comprehending that the little ticket items count too. Honestly, I could start nailing things left and right without doing real damage to morale. Wing discretionary fund are one of them. I don't believe morale is increased because they plant new trees down the main line!

    I want to say some WC's are in touch with expenditures. Others take the mindset if we don't use up every penny given, they will give us less next yr, so they use it no matter what. Sad thing is the latter is usually right, and they get more money, whereas, the one that wasn't greedy, got boffed.

    OBTW, maybe it is your area. Our friends at the base we retired from have circumvented this for @ 6 yrs. Their DS, who is now 22, 4 yrs in school and officially is not a "jr" in college, yet he goes on base to get medical care. Another friend here had a DS that dropped out of college at 21, worked PT jobs, but still used the healthcare here in VA until he was 23.

    It happens.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The Department of Defense has a public outreach program called the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference. It takes private sector civilians and shows them each branch of the military for a week. The conference flies from base to base, usually on an Air Force C-17, KC-135 and sometimes even a C-130. The program used to require participants to pay $4000 to attend. When it proved to be to hard to account for the "Fee", DOD took over the pay. In addition to paying the lodging/meal costs for the 80 participants each year, sometimes at very expensive hotels, the program also flies them around for the week. That cost alone is around $300,000.

    I wonder what the price tag is on the Joint Service Open House at Andrews AFB. Why pay MILLIONS on many military bands? What's the budget of the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels, or the Golden Knights?

    Those are just visible examples. There are MANY MANY examples well under the radar.
     

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