(American) Generals Say Troops Understand Need for Pay Cuts

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Generals Say Troops Understand Need for Pay Cuts | Military.com

Senior Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday that troops are willing to sacrifice portions of their pay and benefits if it means keeping and improving the training and equipment needed to do their jobs.

Vice Adm. William F. Moran, chief of naval personnel and deputy chief of naval operations, told lawmakers that sailors he has met with over the past six months have spoken more about "the quality of the service" they're able to do than anything other topic.

The view was shared by other officials, including Sheryl E. Murray, assistant deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs for the Marine Corps.

"I would emphasize our Marines do enjoy a good quality of life. Our Marines love being in the Marine Corps family," she said. "Most of all, they want the right equipment. ... They want to be trained, and they want to be ready. That is the overriding desire."

Personnel officials from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Department of Defense met with the House Armed Services' Military Personnel subcommittee to talk about cuts to pay and benefits the Pentagon is proposing for its upcoming budget.

These include a smaller pay raise -- 1 percent raise, an average 5 percent reduction in housing allowances, and higher health care fees for some retirees.

The proposed budget for next year is $496 billion, reflecting a savings of $176 billion, according to the Pentagon, because of the personnel cuts.

Military leaders say personnel costs make up about a third of their budgets and remain the fasting growing portion. Unless the trend is slowed and reversed, manning costs will eventually make it impossible to meet other funding needs, the military brass has said.

"That's why we are asking for a 1 percent [troop pay increase] instead of a 2 or higher percentage, so we can slow that growth of a military member's pay and also be able to bolster their readiness and bolster the modernization," Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright said.

"The quality of life is good, but the quality of service, we believe, for our military members is lower, and so we would like to balance that," she said.

Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg said quality of life is important, but added "we can't afford to lower the training standards in defense of something else."

Obama Must Show He'll Use Military Means to Deter Russia in Ukraine - The Daily Beast

The Budapest document makes sense historically only as a quid pro quo agreement resting upon American credibility to act. The United States cannot simply walk away from the plain meaning of the Budapest Memorandum and leave Ukraine in the lurch. And how would this complete washing of U.S. hands affect U.S. efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, supposedly a top national priority? Why should any nation forego nukes or give them away like Ukraine, if other nations, and especially the U.S., feel zero responsibility for their defense? It's not that Washington has to send ground troops or start using its nuclear weapons; it's just that potential aggressors have to see some potential military cost.

It's bad enough that Obama thinks of the U.S. response to Russia in Ukraine almost exclusively in terms of diplomatic isolation of the bad guy, plus economic sanctions such as they are or might be, and a touch of military aid. But the real worry is that this has become his pattern worldwide.

If potential aggressors come to think that their power grabs will be met solely by diplomatic harassment and some economic squeezing, they will be tempted increasingly to snatch whatever they want first and worry later. Greedy lawbreakers have been emboldened by Obama's unenforced "red lines" in Syria. Same goes for North Korean rockets landing on South Korean lands without serious penalty. And the same holds for China's new pattern of muscle flexing to establish its interests in the East and South China Seas. Ukraine only reinforces the pattern.

Economic sanctions are a good tool, but not a substitute for a credible military option. Even potent economic sanctions over decades have not brought Cuba, Iran, and North Korea to their knees. Russia will be even more difficult to break with economic sanctions because it is the eighth largest economy in the world.

How can the U.S. add muscle in the present Ukraine crisis?

The boldest and riskiest course would be to dispatch 50 or 60 of the incredibly potent F-22s to Poland plus Patriot batteries and appropriate ground support and protection. Russian generals and even Putin surely know that the F-22s could smash the far inferior Russian air force and then punish Russian armies invading eastern Ukraine or elsewhere in the region.

There's no sense at all in making this move unless Obama unambiguously resolves to use the F-22s. The worst thing to do is bluff. Nor would the dangers end there even if Obama were not bluffing; Putin might think he was bluffing anyway and start a war. With all these complications and risks, the Obama team still should give this option a serious look—and let Russia and our NATO partners know this tough course is under serious consideration. Obama has sent a few F-15's and F-16's to Eastern Europe, some military aid to Ukraine and other states. But everyone knows this is tokenism.

Another plausible and perhaps less risky measure: help prepare Ukrainians for guerrilla war against an invading Russian force. Pound for pound in conventional war, the Ukrainian forces are no match whatsoever for the Russians. But irregular Ukrainian troops armed with first-class rifles, mortars, and explosive devices would do Russian troops great damage. Russians know this. They have surely not forgotten the horrors fighting guerrillas in Afghanistan.
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