Panetta proposes cap on military salary raises

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Submitted: Thu, 02/07/2013 - 3:34am
Updated: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:52pm

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday laid out a grim list of spending cuts the Pentagon will have to make in the coming weeks that he said will seriously damage the country’s economy and degrade the military’s ability to respond to a crisis.

Slamming members of Congress as irresponsible, Panetta said lawmakers are willing to push the country off a fiscal cliff to damage their opposing political parties.

He said that if Congress doesn’t pass a budget the Pentagon will have to absorb $46 billion in spending reductions in this fiscal year and will face a $35 billion shortfall in operating expenses.

“My fear is that there is a dangerous and callous attitude that is developing among some Republicans and some Democrats, that these dangerous cuts can be allowed to take place in order to blame the other party for the consequences,” Panetta said in a speech at Georgetown University. “This is a kind of ‘so what?’ attitude that says, ‘Let’s see how bad it can get in order to have the other party blink’.”

In separate, highly detailed memos sent to Congress, the military services described widespread civilian furloughs, layoffs and hiring freezes that will hit workers all around the country. Overall, the military will furlough 800,000 civilian workers for 22 days, spread across more than five months, and will lay off as many as 46,000 temporary and contract employees.

The Navy says it will cease deployments to South America and the Caribbean and limit those to Europe.

The Air Force warned that it would cut operations at various missile defense radar sites from 24 hours to eight hours. And the Army said it would cancel training center rotations for four brigades and cancel repairs for thousands of vehicles, radios and weapons.

“These steps would seriously damage the fragile American economy, and they would degrade our ability to respond to crisis precisely at a time of rising instability across the globe,” Panetta said, adding that the self-made crisis “undermines the men and women in uniform who are willing to put their lives on the line in order to protect this country.”

In addition to all of the more immediate cuts, U.S. troops are also likely to see a smaller pay hike next year than initially planned, due to strains on the budget. According to a defense official, the Pentagon will recommend that the military get a 1 percent pay increase in 2014, instead of a 1.7 percent raise.

The Georgetown appearance was likely one of Panetta’s last speeches. He is set to leave the Pentagon this month. Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel has been nominated to take his place and a vote by the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected this week.

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7 Comments on "Panetta proposes cap on military salary raises"

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2015 years 8 months ago

Here’s an idea:
Take a butt load of these criminals that are 35 years of age, or younger, that are repeat offenders…toss them into the Military with a 36 week Boot Camp Program…and that will tone their butts down…and a pay freeze will be taken out of the equation…for them anyway :-) 35 years and older…peel potatoes in the mess halls…in the Middle East somewhere ;-)
Screw around with a Drill Sergeant once too many…and see what happens. You will want to become a Nun or Alter Boy in a manner of minutes!
Those rules apply with those folks…but it can’t work on the outside?????

concern citizen
2015 years 8 months ago

This is horrible. I have family in the military and what they have to go through and give up for our freedom is bad enough and now the goverment wants to cap their pay. They deserve a raise not a cap. The congress can raise their pay while the rest of the country had to do without. I have gone without a rasie for the last eight years and it’s not easy with this economy but I still say that the military deserves more than what they are getting. Shame on the government.

2015 years 8 months ago

Speaker of the House John Boner was discharged from the Navy after 8 weeks in 1968.

2015 years 8 months ago

Yah gotta luv them.
They pass this sequester “threat” with everyone saying “yeah, it will force us to address our economic situation” but just in the last 2 days we’ve seen headlines that say:
“President considering plan to delay sequester”
“Boehnner looking for ways to delay sequester”

Still kicking the can down the road.
And the sad thing is they only have to come up with less than a Trillion in cuts/revenues over the decade to stop the accumulated debt from rising AND if the economic recovery picks up steam revenues will increase naturally giving us the ability to pay down the accumulated debt, albeit gradually.
What about an additional 3% across the board? Everyone – defense and Medicare/caid suffers equally. This gives cabinet heads leeway on what to cut. Since Social Security is NOT part of the budget it won’t get cut.
Look, as a Vet I would PREFER DoD spending be increased but I’m no fool – defense spending has outpaced inflation and has risen too fast over the last few decades. Our technological marvels are costing us dearly – but I know Eric Cantor would have heart failure if we cut the next aircraft carrier out of the budget as would the Senators from RI and Connecticut if we cut a new sub out. So do across the board – let your managers – manage.

2015 years 8 months ago

With all the money out government has borrowed from the Chinese, China might well hold the title to those aircraft carriers.

2015 years 8 months ago

Why don’t we cut the salary of the “big” brass in the military by about 15% right across the board. Then, we can cut lifetime medical benefits for all retired politicians. Then, we can cut secret service protection for all retired politicians. That would bring in a bunch of dollars.

2015 years 8 months ago

I am a 28 year military veteran retired. This is the standard fear-mongering tactic that all the usual suspects use.

We have 11 aircraft carriers…China still doesn’t have one that is fully operational. There is plenty to cut. If you ever really study the DoD budget, you’ll know of which I speak. The military industrial complex works at this just like gun manufacturers work the NRA.