Keeping Faith With The Troops: How Congress Can Fix The Military’s Compensation Problems


As Congress begins hearings this week on the recommendations made by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, CSBA’s Todd Harrison makes the case for why Congress should consider these reforms.

The article highlights two of the commission’s recommendations in particular because, as Mr. Harrison writes, “these two recommendations alone would free up nearly $33 billion in DoD’s budget over the next five years and $8.6 billion annually once fully implemented.  Some have dismissed these savings as insignificant since it is just 1.2 percent of the $2.7 trillion DoD has requested for the next five years.  But think of what $33 billion could buy if reinvested in the defense budget between now and 2020.  It would allow the Army to keep the 15,000 active duty soldiers it plans to cut in 2016; and the Navy to buy five additional Virginia-class submarines; and the Air Force to keep all of the A-10s it plans to retire; and the Marine Corps to keep 5,000 more marines.  Congress could do all of these things with the savings provided by these two recommendations over the next five years and still have a couple of billion dollars left over.”

He goes on to write, “Keeping faith with the troops means more than protecting the existing compensation system.  It means ensuring our military remains the best trained and equipped force in the world.  Breaking faith with the troops is sending them into battle understaffed, undertrained, or with inferior equipment.”

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