Attempts to reduce costs have caused the Pentagon and politicians to consider almost any form of cut and it would appear no program is considered safe from reduction or elimination. Many of those in charge spend their days asking “What next?” when what they should be asking is “At what cost?”
On Monday Feb 1, 2016 the Pentagon released its 2017 budget proposal, including a very modest 1.6 percent pay increase. Not only would this be the fourth consecutive year marked by military pay raises below that of the civilian work force, it would also be coupled with additional attempts to reduce benefits. Increases in Tricare health care costs, reductions in Commissary access and changes to retirement programs all have the potential of making that 1.6 percent even more meager.
The argument that reducing pay and benefits will result in more retirements, less enlistments and eventually a smaller military is falling on deaf ears – a smaller military is exactly what those making the cuts desire. Of course, this should come as no surprise. A rapid force reduction is a repeated response to peace; every time the US concludes a military operation, the leaders look to lessen our military costs and footprint. Although it makes sense to reduce a war time force, we have a history of going to extremes – cutting to levels which threaten our ability to respond to the next crisis.
Think we are safe? Do you believe a smaller military is the best way to save money? Consider these other news stories also reported on Feb. 1st.
- Chinese forces undergo sweeping reorganization – this reorganization, designed to place all military forces under a centralized command, will reinvent the People’s Liberation Army. According to experts, the new PLA will enjoy increased capability and be more focused on external threats.
- Results from the National Commission on the Future of the Army released – this yearlong study, commissioned by Congress, warns against a smaller Army and recommends reversing several already approved reductions. Returning armored units to Europe, allowing National Guard units to retain the AH-64 Apache and keeping an aviation unit in South Korea are some of the key suggestions made by the authors.
- ISIL to launch its own navy – senior NATO officials have been quoted as saying that ISIL is seeking to build its own maritime force with plans to attack cruise liners, which could then be held (along with hundreds of passengers) for ransom. Before you discredit this as a real threat, remember that Somali pirates have virtually shut down nearby shipping lanes with far less sophisticated equipment than ISIL can afford
None of these issues are reason alone to prevent a draw down, but collectively they point to another piece of history which repeats and is often ignored. No matter how successful we are in one conflict, there is always another danger just around the corner. Every time we take success for granted and pull back our forces, we risk entering the next conflict unprepared and waste precious time rebuilding, often at a cost higher than it would have taken to simply maintain what we already had – including the needless loss of life.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.