With the country’s immense debt and deficits, budget talks have made their way to the military’s notoriously generous benefits packages. Although no changes have been made, or even officially proposed, the notion of cutting military benefits and packages has prompted a vociferous response.
Typically, those who join the military retire at age 38 after 20 years of work and get a monthly pension of half their salary for the rest of their life. This way for approximately a century, it is increasingly being criticized as unaffordable, unfair to some who serve and overly generous compared with civilian benefits.
The unaffordable status quo provoked the Pentagon to order a study, conducted by the Defense Business Board on how to mitigate rising costs. The board members are from big businesses — experts, the Pentagon says, in executive management, corporate governance, audit and finance, human resources, economics, technology and health care. One of the recommendations was that pensions be scrapped and replaced with a 401(k)-type defined contribution plan.
The notion of inducing high rates of military enrollment through economic benefits without parallel in the private and civilian sectors might also implicitly give undue approval for war, giving Washington’s demand for troops ready fulfillment in any war of choice or aggression.
Still, the real cost the Pentagon incurs upon itself and the nation is the cost of running a global empire and numerous unnecessary quagmires. That they would look to cut pay to their obedient infantry first, and to their militarism last, sheds light on their priorities.