Report: Pentagon could save billions by making military retirees pay more

Pentagon finds itself in the midst of sequestration, or forced cuts of about $500 billion over the next decade.
MCT Regional News
May 14, 2013

The Pentagon could slash the defense budget by more than $900 billion over a decade without sacrificing significant combat capabilities, according to a Washington think tank.

The Stimson Center, which labels itself as a nonpartisan nonprofit, assembled recommendations to slash spending on personnel compensation, the use of manpower and procurement practices. The center, however, did not endorse any of the recommendations in its report, which was released Monday.

“Essentially, we’re hoping by drawing attention to these things to make it easier for (the Department of Defense) to avoid debilitating cuts in forces and weapons programs,” said Barry Blechman, a Stimson Center distinguished fellow and one of the authors of the report.

The Pentagon finds itself in the midst of sequestration, or forced cuts of about $500 billion over the next decade, because the White House and Congressional leaders could not reach a deficit-reduction pact to avoid the automatic cuts. That’s in addition to $487 billion the Pentagon agreed to absorb over the same time period.

Among Stimson’s cost-cutting recommendations: pegging pay to specialization in high-demand areas; requiring military retirees to pay more for health care; curtailing the number of health care beneficiaries; and reforming military retirement plans to more closely resemble civilian-style retirement options.

The report suggested, among other actions, trimming the number of civilian and contractor employees, using service members to perform “inherently military functions” and reducing redundant support services inside each military branch. The report also outlined better management acquisition practices.

This year, the Air Force must cut $10.8 billion by the end of September. Among other actions to cut spending, the service has drastically slashed flying hours, grounded aircraft and deferred maintenance. It could furlough 13,000 civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, among tens of thousands possible furloughs in the Defense Department.

High-ranking Pentagon leaders have said the combined reductions would “hollow out” the military. Even so, many of the report’s recommendations are unlikely to get political or bureaucratic backing, Blechman said.

“It’s an uphill slog, but our hope is because of budgetary pressures and the need for new appropriations for the coming fiscal year that the department and the Congress will understand it’s better to take some of these efficiencies than, say, cut the number of Army brigades,” he said.

A Pentagon spokeswoman declined comment on the report.

The projected Department of Defense budget for fiscal year 2014 doesn’t incorporate sequester reductions because the budget was submitted prior to March 1. But with a possible $52 billion cut on the table for the next fiscal year “substantial additional cuts driven by sequestration … could force major changes,” Army Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an email.

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By Barrie Barber - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

Windy

I think the White House and Congressional leaders need to take major cuts themselves.

JACKEL

Holy Crap,someone with a good comment !

arnmcrmn

Im sorry but these are the last cuts that need to be made. Men and women put their lives so we can live in the country we do. Cut WASHINGTON POLITICIANS!!!!!!!

deertracker

They volunteered!!!!!!! The present retirees or latest wars had nothing to do with Americans being able to live in this country. We would be better off financially if some of the wars had not even happened!

ladydye_5

Did YOU have the testicular fortitude to volunteer? If many did not volunteer others would be FORCED. And when these brave men and women volunteered they swore an oath and signed a contract that stated terms/conditions. Those terms are now being changed. Anyone else would be sued for breach of contract.

deertracker

Did YOU volunteer...testicles and all? No one would be forced to do anything. That chapter in American history is closed. They don't volunteer because they are so brave. Most enlist for the benefits! Period!

ladydye_5

I tried, I have medical conditions they would not accept. My husband and my brother and NUMEROUS close friends volunteered. I can tell you this, my husband volunteered to SERVE HIS COUNTRY. Trust me the benefits are NOT THAT GOOD. You do realize that many qualify for free or reduced lunches for school kids? You do realize if you figure out the $ per hour rate that many enlisted make BELOW minimum wage? The medical benefits are a joke and many things are not covered. They now want to make veterans pay for the benefits and cut retirement. I am sorry you do not respect veterans or military members enough to support their needs.

deertracker

It has nothing to do with support. I choose not to pucker up everytime the word troop is mentioned. I am sure that those that enlisted could not wait to get their body blown to bits. Most enlisted service members do not expect nor want to go to war. Don't be sorry for me, be sorry for your relatives that are getting played by their COUNTRY they SERVED!

mrite

You are an idiot for making those comments!!! Anyone that has enlisted since 2001 should know that we have armed conflicts and they would be expected to serve.

And, yes, I volunteered!

JACKEL

Come on, be honest with us,you are really a Liberal plant to keep the pot stirred.No one could be that stupid to make your comments !

KnuckleDragger

Dont bother with queertracker, he is a hateful middle aged man who couldn't cut it in the military. He is so jealous of those who served, that is why he takes every chance he gets to hurl insults at them. If you read some of his other blog posts you will see that he would rather the money go to people who have never so much as held a job than to the men and women who faithfully served his sorry butt in the military. Maybe we should cut your pay and benefits queertracker, that's assuming you even work. The problem isn't the cost of benefits, it is the waste that goes on in the Pentagon. There was a half a billion dollar surplus in the health care program and instead of using the money for healthcare, they increased retiree premiums and co-pays complaining they didn't have any money and turned around with the surplus and bought some more fighter jets.

deertracker

Blah, blah, blah! Go lay down!

KnuckleDragger

^Another ignorant comment from the nutless baboon himself.

JACKEL

Hey Deercrapper,obviously you haven't paid any dues for your freedom.Some else gave their life for you, would sounds like it might have been a waste !If those folks in 41 would not have gone and run away, like I am sure you would have you would have been speaking Nipponese !

Contango

Strange but true:

I recently read where taxpayers are still paying benefits to two descendants of Civil War veterans.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/side...

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Debt and military adventurism has historically bankrupted many great nations and empires.

Reads like its time for the U.S. to step back as policemen of the world or suffer a similar fate.

KURTje

Agree 100% with windy. Cut Nancy Regan & Nancy Palosi's stuff...not veterans. They ( soft career politicos) exist because we are willing to spill blood for America.

BULLISDEEP's picture
BULLISDEEP

Get rid of corp welfare . Anyone on WALLSTREET or making money from wallstreet should pay more taxes ,that is everyone .
If you didn't do some type of service for your country you shouldn't get any help from the government.

JACKEL

How about doing away with Secret service for ex pres.Bozo is going to have it for life.$1000 hammers and toilet seats would help and plain stupid people that work there.

luvblues2

Hey now, JACKEL. Those $1,000.00 toilet seats are designed to suck the crap out of you so you don't have to grunt and strain or sit there for any extended time because of what you ate. They also come with extra attachments that wipe you and make your butt all shiny and pleasant.

gene44870

Just another slap in the face and kick in the but to the very people that keep this country safe and place their lives on the line for everyone

Let congress keep this up and their wont be anyone at the gate standing a post.

Hey Congress and house , if there isnt anyone standing the post because of your so called cut backs , are you going to pick up a gun and stand a post ? Lets face it Congress are the ones that order our fathers , sons and all to war , and then say that when you are done if you arent killed in defense of this nation we are going to turn our backs on you and you will recieve nothin , thats what congress is saying , they are saying that politics and the budget are more inportant then peoples lives that elected them into office .This is the whole thing in a nut shell
So what I am saying along with a lot of others I am sure, is Congress keep your hands off the military programs and Social Sucurity programs .
S.S is on the chopping block and shouldnt be , Obama said himself that this program should not be included in the budget due to it being a self reliant and self supporting program and should not be on the chopping block
He said that about S.S in his last 4 years as President , so why is he letting it be here now . I am having trouble believing anything that he says as well as Congress and the House of liers

Bellevue Dad

This wasn't the deal. You signed up. Agreed to serve to protect your country. Uproot your family and move them all over the world. Do your part for freedom and democracy. Serve for at least 20 if not 30 years and the government would provide you and your spouse with a retirement pension and medical benefits when you retired. Granted they have rewritten the rules constantly and have changed things so many times on the government's side to make it much harder for a retiree to be provided the items we were promised but we did our part and we are entitled to these benefits.

If the government wants to save money, let's talk about all of the money they could save by eliminating the Congressional retirement plan. You serve a term and you are eligible for benefits for life. I assure you that no private sector job offers that and no military career; officer or enlisted has that option.