According to a March 26, 2014, piece on Military.com:
“Senior Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday that troops are willing to sacrifice portions of their pay and benefits if it means keeping and improving the training and equipment needed to do their jobs.”
In my March 6, 2014, blog I characterized the impending military pay cuts as “putting lipstick on a pig.” It seems as if Pentagon brass are still in the cosmetic mode and are marching to the tune of self-delusion. In fact, the article continues:
“The personnel officials who offered testimony before the subcommittee could offer only personal anecdotes to back up their belief that troops would welcome pay and benefit cuts. No survey results were offered.”
Typical of the anecdotal testimony was that of the Navy’s Chief of Naval Personnel, a Vice Admiral, who told lawmakers that sailors he has met over the past six months “have spoken more about ‘the quality of the service’ they’re able to do than any other topic.” (Were those “sailors” his fellow flag officers? The article didn’t elaborate.)
Other brass towed the line, as the Marines’ Assistant Deputy Commandant for manpower emphasized that “our Marines do enjoy a good quality of life…love being in the Marine Corps. Most of all, they want the right equipment…to be trained…That is the overriding desire.” (The old jibe, “Tell it to the Marines!” comes to mind here.)
Then there was the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff who opined, “We can’t afford to lower the training standards in defense of something else.” (That “something else” is apparently money the troops need to live on.)
OK, let’s recap:
- The troops don’t mind a minuscule 1 percent pay raise and are more than happy to take a 5 percent cut in their basic housing allowance. The brass knows that because they “talked with the troops.”
- DoD bigwigs have asked a congressional committee to believe that, faced with the choice between higher pay our soldiers, sailors and airmen have an “overriding desire” goes beyond well beyond the feeding and housing their families — while they’re away protecting the rest of us.
One soldier’s response to the news item:
“What a load of BS, no troops that I am aware of ‘understand the need for cuts to pay and benefits’. I could live with the 1% pay raise for a few years, but the 5% cut to BAH is a slap to the face…where are all the proposals to cut welfare benefits and other social programs that are the real drain on the budget and the economy?”
The truly sad part of all this is that the people who should be circling the wagons against reducing the quality of military life appear to be leading the attack. At the same time they remind me of that classic line in the 2003 movie Cold Mountain, when Ruby (Renee Zelweger) tells the bad guy, “Don’t [pee] on me and tell me that it’s rainin'”.
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At *your* service,
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