Sequestration Must End!
VFW again calls on Congress to end the sequester
March 04, 2014
national commander of the nation’s largest and oldest major combat veterans
organization blames Congress for the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2015
budget request that further reduces troop strengths and military compensation
longer the threat of sequestration continues to remain the law of the land, the
more our nation’s military will continue to shrink to meet ever-declining
budgets,” said William A. Thien, who leads more than 1.9 million members of the
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliaries.
are consequences to forcing the Pentagon to first reduce its budget by $487
billion over 10 years, then to double that amount due to sequestration,” he
said. “Sequestration jeopardizes readiness and modernization programs and the
continued viability of the all-volunteer force, which is why the VFW will
redouble our efforts to work with Congress and the administration to end the
sequester and help bring financial stability to a military that is still at
war, and who will still be required to operate in a very dangerous and
personnel proposals contained in the $496 billion FY 2015 budget proposal:
Continue lowering active-duty Army troop
strengths from the planned 80,000 reduction to about 130,000. This would drop
the active Army from its post-9/11 high of 570,000 to 440,000. Sequestration
could force the active Army down to 420,000 soldiers.
- The Army National Guard and Army Reserve would
drop from 358,000 and 205,000 to 335,000 and 195,000, respectively.
Sequestration could force the Guard as low as 315,000 and the Reserves to
- The budget plan had no new troop reductions for
the Air Force or Navy, though the proposed loss of some major weapons systems —
most notably the entire A-10 and U-2 aircraft fleets, and 11 Navy cruisers —
could further reduce manning requirements.
- The Marine Corps is on pace to draw down to
182,000 Marines, a number that could go to 175,000 if the sequester continues.
- Limit military pay raises for the next five
years, which could recreate the double-digit, military-civilian pay gap of a
decade ago. In FY 2015, DOD is recommending a 1 percent increase for everyone
below the pay grade of O-7.
- Housing allowances would be gradually reduced
from 100 percent of costs to 95 percent; payments would be grandfathered for
troops in their current assignments.
- A TRICARE for Life enrollment fee equal to 1
percent of retiree pay — not to exceed $300 per person — plus additional
increases to pharmaceutical copayments, which would impact military dependents
as well as retirees. DOD also recommends merging the three TRICARE Prime,
Standard and Extra programs into one, which could create a new enrollment fee
for those currently subscribed to TRICARE Standard and Extra, and increased
copayments for those enrolled in TRICARE Prime. The Pentagon has been asked to
provide more details.
- Regarding military commissaries, DOD wants to
reduce over three years the current $1.4 billion in appropriated support to
$400 million, which could force the Defense Commissary Agency to offset the
difference either by raising prices, increasing the 5 percent surcharge, or
both. DOD estimates that such decisions would lower overall commissary savings
from 30 percent to 10 percent, which could close some smaller U.S. stores. This
recommendation would not affect DeCA’s 75 overseas commissaries.
- A call for Congress to authorize a base
realignment and closure round in 2017.
more at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2014_Quadrennial_Defense_Review.pdf.
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