Military Advantage

DoD Budget Priority: Slowing Pay and Benefits

The following is excerpt from the Military Officers Association of America's ‘The Bottom Line' blog.

Pentagon FY2014 Budget Priorities: Who Moved the Goalpost?

By Col Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret)

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently outlined six budget priorities that will shape the Pentagon's FY 2015 budget proposal, which includes protecting investments while seeking "significant savings" in the area of personnel and compensation.

The six priorities are

  • Focus on eliminating middle management/"back-office" staffs.
  • Reevaluate how the military should organize, train, and equip.
  • Prepare for prolonged readiness challenges.
  • Protect investments in acquisition and procurement.
  • Reconsider the appropriate force mix across the services.
  • Slow the growth of pay and benefits.
The six priorities are a result of the secretary's earlier Strategic Choices and Management Review and reflect the department's continuing struggle to deal with the "too fast, too much, too abrupt, and too irresponsible" sequestration cuts.

One of Hagel's priorities is to protect investments in acquisition and procurement programs. This is the same area in which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found both cost and schedule growth remains significant. In their October report on defense acquisition, the GAO cited "39 percent of fiscal 2012 programs have had unit cost growth of 25 percent or more." However, this costly growth area seems to be exempt from scrutiny by DoD.

What is troubling is Hagel's sixth priority — slowing the growth of pay and benefits. In his statement, he urges Congress to permit more reforms to personnel accounts, stating, "Without serious attempts to achieve significant savings in this area — which consumes roughly half of the DoD budget and is increasing — we risk becoming an unbalanced force, one that is well-compensated but poorly trained and equipped, with limited readiness and capability."

What concerns MOAA is he states personnel accounts consume roughly half of the DoD budget.

Read the article in its entirety at the MOAA website: Who moved the goalpost?

MOAA is the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers; a powerful force speaking for a strong national defense and representing the interests of military officers and their families at every stage of their careers. Click here to learn more about MOAA.

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