A few years ago we were faced with the famous “10 year” decision:
To retire or not to retire?
My husband is a civil engineer and even in a “frail” economy would have been able to find a job outside the military. Most positions he qualified for exceeded the amount he was making as a 0-3. However, benefits such as health insurance, retirement, the commissary, etc. made the military a competitive option. Sure, our love of country factored into our decision to stay -- but the benefits were a major part of it.
The topic of benefits has become a heated one both for military spouses and military supporters. Some believer we need to sacrifice some "luxuries" like the commissary, while others believe our benefits should be left alone while the focus is put on cuts elsewhere in the Defense Department.
But we stayed in because of them. We counted on them being there.
Would you stay without them? If you could get a job outside the military in your field, would you stay military without the benefits?
Most I have talked to said, “no.”
Why? Because without them there is no incentive to live this lifestyle and love country can only go so far.
Most jobs outside the military do not require family separation, deployments, and frequent relocation.
I know what you're thinking: "If you don't want to be in the military, leave!"
But the problem is that leaving is exactly what they will do. There will always be people entering the military because of the status the training brings to their resume or to gain life experience or to get an education. We will always have new recruits.
But when people start leaving because the benefits are gone, we will loose a different kind of important player: the middle man.
The middle men are the ones who are making that 10 year decision -- and they are a vital part of our military. With 10 years in the military has spent a lot of money grooming these guys. And when they get out they leave behind a hollow force.
We cannot simply hire an E-7 or an O-3 to fill the void. Our military does not work that way. And the way to keep those guys around is by making the military a competitive career option. Otherwise many will walk.
Budget cuts are not just about "paying our fair share" in a poor economic climate. It's a much bigger picture which has a scary ending if Washington makes these cuts happen. And it's up to us to make our voice heard. Please do not roll over and play dead. Fight these cuts and contact your congressmen! Tiffany Anglesey is a Navy wife currently living in the Washington, DC area.