Support Our Troops! (as long as they aren’t too expensive…)

They work some of the longest, hardest hours imaginable. They sacrifice time and experiences with their families. They fight the war against terror. They risk life and limb in order to protect our country.

How do we return the favor to our troops? By cutting their numbers.

Hagel Troop Cutbacks
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, center, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Robert F. Hale, the Defense Department’s comptroller, testify on the fiscal year 2015 budget request before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 6, 2014. Source: Wiki Commons, DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
We’re not talking small numbers here, either. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is planning to reduce Army numbers to 420,000, meaning that almost one in five of those serving today will face being given the boot. Around 8,000 positions in the Marine Corps are due to be cut, and the Army National Guard and Army Rescue will be reduced by 5%.

Not Losing Just Manpower
However, it is not just troops who are on the chopping block. These cuts are in addition to numerous drastic alterations to weapons systems, including the replacement of the A-10 ‘warthogs’ belonging to the Air Force with the F-35. Black Hawks are set to replace Apache helicopters in the National Guard, as they are said to be “more suited to disaster relief than offensive duties.” The growth of destroyers within the Navy and drones within the Air Force will be slowed; smaller numbers will be introduced than previously expected. These are just some examples which we can expect to see taking effect over the next few years.

It is true that all of the cutbacks will save the government billions of dollars, at a time when the Army is “larger than we can afford to modernize and keep ready,” according to Hagel.

The 1 Percenters
Troops have been promised a whopping pay raise of 1%, although this is little consolation when they will suffer a loss in certain benefits, not to mention the cost of living increases by around 3% every year. So they’re really getting a pay cut. There will also be changes to their health care allowances, and they will be forced to pay for part of their housing out of their own pockets.

Defense vs. Offense
Naturally, this is an unpopular decision. The real doubt comes in when we consider what state the U.S. will be left in… Although the defense budget will still be the largest in the world, there is speculation that these cutbacks could turn the US military into more of a defensive vs. offensive military – although Chuck Hagel has come out and promised that these low numbers “would be capable of decisively defeating aggressions…while also defending the homeland and supporting air and naval forces engaged in another theater.”

[quote_right]”…these cutbacks could turn the US military into more of a defensive vs. offensive military.”[/quote_right]Once all the cuts have been made, the number of serving personnel will be at an all-time low since World War II. However, defense budget analyst Winslow Wheeler has said that the level of spending in the U.S. military will remain similar to that in 2005.

It does sound as though our backs are covered, even if those of the members of our armed forces are not. Politicians are certainly talking the talk, but they seem to be thinking of the military as a whole. They are failing to think of the 80,000 individuals in the Army alone who will lose their jobs, after giving up so much and going through things which, for most of us, don’t even bear thinking about. Even those who are lucky enough to keep their jobs won’t escape feeling the effects of the cutbacks.

Doesn’t our military deserve better than this?

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7 thoughts on “Support Our Troops! (as long as they aren’t too expensive…)

  1. After every war America wants to cut the military and leave the nation in a weak position until the next emergency comes along.

  2. This unfortunately is “par for the course” in this current political climate. We DO deserve better and it’s sad that the politicians can’t see this. So many families displaced and given up so much only to be told don’t let the door hit you in the a** on the way out. As I said, it’s sad. Pretty bad when even the reserves are being hit up. I know alot of buddies who weren’t too concerned about it saying at least the reserves are still there if I get booted….may not be an option now!

  3. I hope that the services have kept up on training to fight and defeat a large conventional army (aka Russia). This latest play by Putin in Ukraine is just the beginning of a reassertion of political and military dominance in the former “Soviet” nations and will soon lead to a more militaristic approach to the EU and the US. We have just witnessed the beginning, how long this goes on will be decided only by showing the Kremlin that the West will use military forces to stop any further expansion by Russia. If we do not Islamic terrorists will not be the only problem we have to “deal” with.

  4. Right after the Vietnam War, there were many veterans offered a buyout to leave the military, with no choice, Officers as well as SNCO’s, NCO’s. I find the military cuts personnel, the same way they downsize military equipment. I feel for you, but prepare yourself for this tough economy, keep fighting use all your veterans benefits, unemployment benefits and things that land you back on your feet. When I came out during the Vietnam War, as a (grunt), most of the guys had already said with our training for killing only two things we were good at, that would meet I’ll job skills, that were being a Hit Man or a Police Officer, believe it are not I became a Police Officer and retired from it.

  5. Why don’t we cut where it matters? Why waste money on building big destroyers and planes the AF and Navy don’t even ask for. Stop the defense lobby. We keep the rich rich by enabling them to do this. Let the secretary of defense do his job and give the military forces what they need, and then use that extra money to keep personal strength levels high. We have to cut troops because we have the defense lobby asking for all this money to build stuff we don’t even need? Why… To keep the rich draft dodging CEO s who now think they know something about the military rich. You think the guys up at Boeing (eg) really care about the average soldier (ie most of the CEO s are draft dodgers anyhow)? Now they profit off this industry. We have all out priorities wrong in this country. Wars will always be fought with boots on the ground, right? We have enough war planes to cover our men and if we ever have another war on the water (highly unlikely) we have by far the largest navy without building any more crazy air craft carriers. I am tired of people making decisions for this country with nothing more than their bank account in mind (cut troop levels but keep building air craft carriers or hire “contractors” bc it’s their buddies company). It’s just wrong and is taxing our system. This country needs to really take a look at this. And both parties are guilty of it.

  6. It’s really unbelievable that we are going to have to go through this again. I served through the Nam years all the way until 1987. The volunteer concept is the best we’ve seen and should be kept that way unless we have a world-wide conflict where the draft would have to be re-instated. We have been living in dangerous times and now is definitely not the time to decimate our military especially combat units. I was a Non-Com(SFC) so my main function was taking care that my platoon was ready for combat if the balloon went up. I wonder who is going to get the axe first probably those with families and who are overweight. We need to get rid of the tubbies in the Pentagon, do we really need so many flag officers? Taking away pay and benefits will not keep highly skilled tech folks in the military for very long when the MOS transfers into the civilian world. Where is he going to find jobs for all of these people being put onto the streets. There was a reason he picked Hagel to run DOD and everyone who knew him realized he was not pro grunt or a world dominant military like the POTUS. I have nothing but disdain for the current top leadership. Good luck with your futures troopers!

  7. Looks like Sgt. Hagel forgot what it’s like to be a grunt. I wonder who is going to
    bail out the Ukraine ?
    20 years 4 months & 18 days………sure glad I’m retired. Take the money from the
    pos F-35 and buy more a-10s . I do not use the commissary,PX,post hospital, and
    no f****n way will I visit the VA!

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