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Hagel: And the Cuts are Just Beginning

dodGood ol’ Chuck didn’t even let the ink dry on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, which so cleanly and effectively stripped veterans, wounded warriors, retirees, active duty and surviving spouses of their promised COLA. No, Chas moved with with ninja-like timing, announcing on Thursday, December 19, 2013, that more pay and benefit cuts could be imminent.

Also on Thursday, but not so talked about, 5 soldiers from Fort Riley and 1 from Vilseck, Germany, died when their Black Hawk crashed in Afghanistan.

You know, Afghanistan? The war our troops have been fighting for 12 years? The war without end or apparent exit strategy? Not without controversy, some call it “The longest war in our nation’s history, surpassing the conflict in Vietnam.” (Source: ABCNews.com)

For 12 years our troops have fought the enemy. For many servicemembers, multiple combat tours have left them with PTSD and long term medical complications. There have been stories about troops being sent over with incorrect armor – or having to buy their own kevlar. We all know that our fighting men and women are having to do more with less in their unit’s budget. And they do it with honor and distinction.

So why are our leaders now asking them to do more with less in their family’s budget?

***

Look, no one I know is saying that there aren’t cuts that can – and should – be made. Waste, fraud and abuse is rife in the great military industrial complex. I know this. You know this. The media knows this. Does DoD know this?

  • From The Daily Beast: The Army’s $5Billion Uniform is Already Being Replaced – Eight years after spending $5 billion on a heavily-criticized universal camouflage pattern, the Army is back at the drawing board looking for a new design that’s estimated to cost another $4 billion.
  • From Huff Post: US to Hand Over Iraq Bases, Equipment Worth Billions – “It’s all sunk costs,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who oversaw the training of Iraqi soldiers from 2003 to 2004. “It’s money that we spent and we’re not going to recoup.”
  • From Judicial Watch: DoD Wastes Billions on Non-Military Projects – “For $5.2 million researchers at an Ivy League university found that golden shiner fish could show the nation how to overcome political polarization and promote democracy. The Office of Naval Research spent $450,000 to study how babies interact with robots. The DOD also burned $700 million on “duplicative and unnecessary alternative energy” projects and $1.5 million to create its own brand of beef jerky treats.”
  • From Federal Times: Investigaton Finds Epic Waste at DoD – “The Defense Department is losing billions of dollars because of slipshod accounting, logistics and acquisition practices, Reuters reports…”
  • From Medium.com: Here’s How the Military Wasted Your Money in 2013 – “With a $614 billion budget in 2013—expected to decline by $62 billion in 2014—there’s plenty of opportunity for waste. Six hundred billion dollars means bloat that floats a lot of needless projects. Some are badly managed, others the result of political pork-barrel spending.”

This is but a short list of waste producing projects, but arguably the greatest collection of government waste can be found in Senator Coburn‘s (R-Oklahoma) Wastebook. This year’s edition contains 100 examples of bad decision making and horrible waste to a total of roughly $30 billion in loss.

And yet Defense Secretary Hagel is bound and determined to cut pay for our troops. Why must the ones who sacrifice the most be constantly made to sacrifice more? Oddly enough, Mr. Hagel is a combat vet. His bio lists that fact in the very first sentence. “[He is] the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense.” Methinks he needs to reread that bio, for it seems as though he has forgotten from whence he came.

Kelly_stars

3 comments on “Hagel: And the Cuts are Just Beginning

  1. Jodi
    December 20, 2013

    You forgot to mention the $5 billion coming out the defense funding to pay for the Afghanistan “Pentagon” (Military Headquarters Building), and the fact that we are paying the majority of the Afghanistan military officer’s salaries…

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      December 20, 2013

      I suspect we could create quite a list. From end of year spending of budget monies (use it or lose it), to shoddy workmanship from shipyard workers, new uniform creation (non-fire retardant coveralls for the Navy – mind blowing), National Guard conferences in Hawaii, it’s billions upon billions of dollars wasted.

      And yet, my family and yours, is once again being called upon in the name of patriotism to take one for the team. My question is “What team?” Because I see no one else clamoring to lose benefits, pay and be taken for granted.

      -Kelly

  2. briita steed
    December 21, 2013

    very sad they spend money on foolish things and always cut the military are they going to cut theirs

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