More and more ‘pundits’ are claiming that exploding military personnel costs and health care costs will bankrupt DOD by 2020…
As always, it’s a thin film of truth, surrounded by and build on lies…
From VADM (ret) Ryan’s open letter to SECDEF in his capacity as the President of the Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA)-
You’ll hear that military personnel costs are “rising out of control” and will “consume future defense budgets.” Bean-counters use these bogus arguments – and pundits repeat them — to divert money from military people programs to hardware or non-defense programs.
Yet those arguments simply aren’t true.
Here are the facts:
The defense budget has consumed a progressively smaller share of federal outlays. Today, it’s at its smallest share in 50 years and will drop further – below 12.5 percent – by 2017. That share is projected to continue to decline for the foreseeable future.
Defense leaders complain military personnel and health costs are consuming roughly one-third of the defense budget – implying this is a dramatic increase from the past.
Yet personnel and health care costs have comprised that same budget share consistently for the last 30 years. They’re no more unaffordable now than in the past.
Moreover, this is a bargain when compared to the most similar corporations.
Personnel costs comprise 61 percent of the budget for United Parcel Service, 43 percent for FedEx and 31 percent for Southwest Airlines.
Your predecessors complained health care costs approach 10 percent of the non-war defense budget. However, health costs comprise 23 percent of the federal budget, 22 percent of the average state budget, 16 percent of household discretionary spending and 16 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. By comparison, Defense’s 10 percent is modest.
Truth be told, the Pentagon has used the military health care account as a “cash cow” to fund other programs — $708 million was diverted from the fiscal 2012 account to other programs, and diversions totaled $2.8 billion over the last three years.
That last sentence says a LOT about the games being played inside DOD…
Read the whole op-ed at the Washington Times HERE.
I have been privileged to know VADM Ryan and his brother for over 30 years, and they always have been straight shooters, and ALWAYS stood up for those who worked for them…
And HERE is a follow-up from MOAA testimony at a SASC sub-committee meeting…
Bottom line (or should I say ‘factual’ line) costs have not in fact become a disproportionate portion of the DOD budget. Granted the actual $ amounts have risen, but as a percentage of the overall DOD budget it has not risen above previous levels.
Having said that, I believe BO and his cronies WILL cut the military pay raise as far as they can, for as long as they can… 1% vs. 1.8% may not seem a lot, but military salaries are NOT equitable now, and if you look at real inflation and cost growth, that is rising at between 3-4% per year. Once again the military (all volunteer by the way), will bear the brunt of the administration’s displeasure, because they cannot speak out!!!
And that just pisses me off…