Pentagon Proposes New Budget Cut Plan
Limiting pay raises for troops, closing bases and increasing health insurance fees for military retirees were also amongst the steps the Pentagon wants to enact in an effort to reduce the number of U.S. soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan.
From the New York Times:
Although the pay-raise limits are modest, and would not start until 2015, the proposed cuts are certain to ignite a political fight in Congress, which since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has consistently raised military salaries beyond what the Pentagon has recommended.
Increasing health insurance fees for former service members and closing bases are also fraught with political risk, particularly in an election year when the Republican presidential candidates are charging that President Obama is decimating the military.
Next year’s Pentagon budget is to be $525 billion, down from $531 billion in this fiscal year. As the Pentagon is called on to find $259 billion in cuts over the next five years — and $487 billion over the decade — the department’s base budget (not counting the costs of Afghanistan or other wars) will nonetheless rise to $567 billion by 2017. For comparison, the current Defense Department base budget is $531 billion.
The Department of Defense defended their plan, saying that this is one big step in the United States ending what has become a trillion-dollar deficit.
"Make no mistake, the savings that we are proposing will impact all 50 states and many districts, congressional districts across America," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a news conference at the Pentagon on Thursday.
"This will be a test of whether reducing the deficit is about talk or action."'
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