The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that budget deficits could total over $7 trillion over the next 10 years if current policies are not changed. Urging action to address the current fiscal crisis in a report released this month, CBO also highlighted the growing public debt level that reached $9 trillion at the end of 2010, or 62 percent of GDP. In its report, “Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options,” CBO identifies 105 options to reduce the deficit including spending cuts to mandatory and discretionary programs, as well as tax increases. CBO does not exempt defense from consideration. The report includes 13 options affecting the defense budget ranging from a broad limitation on growth in the defense budget, caps on pay raises, and cost controls and limitations on military health care, to specific program cuts and cancelations.
The CBO option to reduce overall growth in DoD appropriations includes three alternatives that produce significant cuts to DoD for 2012 to 2021: 1) limit appropriations growth to an average of 1.4 percent beginning in 2012 (-$286 billion), 2) freeze appropriations at the FY2011 continuing resolution level (-$611 billion), and 3) cut defense appropriations each year by one percent from the 2011 level (-$862 billion). CBO acknowledges that these reductions could limit DoD’s ability to counter increasing threats, make it difficult to redress problems of an aging inventory of weapons and facilities, and increase the stress on an already overburdened military force.
Regarding military compensation, a CBO option would cap increases in military basic pay at .5 percent below the increase in the Employment Cost Index (ECI), saving $17 billion from 2012 to 2021. Current law requires military pay increases to be set at the projected full increase in the ECI, unless adjusted by the president or the Congress. CBO recognizes that such a cap could have an adverse affect on retention, but speculates that this affect would be relatively small and could be alleviated by increases bonuses.
A CBO option would also cap federal civilian pay raises. Current law sets annual civilian pay raises at .5 percent below the increase in the ECI, unless adjusted by the president or the Congress. The CBO option would reduce the pay raise called for under law by .5 percent from 2013 to 2021, saving $50 billion for the entire government. Pay raises for 2011 and 2012 would not be affected because they are currently frozen for that period.
CBO options affecting military health care programs include both cost controls and benefit limitations. One option would increase enrollment fees, copayments, and deductibles for military retirees under 65 who want to use TRICARE, saving $28 billion. Another option would limit the TRICARE benefit for military retirees and their families by not allowing them to enroll in TRICARE Prime (the lowest out-of-pocket cost). Rather, they could enroll in TRICARE Standard or Extra with an enrollment fee that would be adjusted annually. This option would save over $110 billion from 2012 to 2121. The third CBO health care-related option would increase drug copayments under TRICARE for all but active duty personnel, producing savings of $13 billion.
Another CBO option affecting active military personnel would consolidate the commissary and exchange systems within five years and require them to operate without appropriated funds. About one-third of the savings would be used to provide a tax-free grocery allowance to active duty personnel. The grocery allowance would offset the price increases (estimated at 7 percent) due to the loss of appropriated funds support.
Two CBO program specific options affect the F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) program. One option would cancel the F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) program and replace the requirement with the most advanced current versions of F-16 and F/A-18, saving $36 billion from 2012 to 2021. Another would retain the Air Force F-35 program, but cancel the Navy and Marine Corps F-35 and replace it with more F/A-18E/F aircraft, saving about $15 billion over the period. Other program specific options would cut the carrier force to 10 aircraft carriers and nine air wings (-$2 billion), cancel the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (-$2.5 billion), delay fielding the Army Ground Combat Vehicle (-$6 billion), and terminate the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS), saving $4 billion and $2 billion respectively.
As my husband is retired I’m a bit ticked at the whole Tricare issue. When he joined the military he was promised FREE healthcare for him and his family FOR LIFE!! Now, it’s not free and now you want to increase the fee AND remove one of the best options out there. I realize that things are tight and things need to be cut but seriously, you’re going to cut the benefit to the people who have sacrificed their lives and families to defend this country. Really? How absolutely ungrateful can you possibly get?????
I was recruted into the Army with FREE health care while I was active and with a retierment system that said when i retire I would be given FREE health care for the rest of my life. this is a breach of contract and a slap in the face off all vetrians.
I am not in favor of any reduction at the expense of current retirement benefits. I have 25 years Military and 24 years Civil Service. I have based my retirement planning on the contractual obligations in place when I entered the Military and the Federal workforce. I see congress consistently giving themselves pay raises while slashing mine. I see congress improving their retirement with one term eligibility. I’ve seen congress create 100% coverage healthcare at no expense for their lifetime, for themselves only! I see them constantly proposing to degrade my retirement, my healthcare, my wages and my benefits. If its proposed to reduce retirement for those entering service from this date forward, alright! Individual know what they are getting into from the start. I entered under conditions I accepted, I expect my country to honor their obligation and intentions from that point. I honor my obligations. It is all about the integrity of our contract.
The Republicans have destroyed America and are turning us into a third-world country so the rich can prosper. Military/federal employees have to bear the blunt of their cowardice acts.
Quit irresponsible spending. Cut congressional expense accounts. Cut Congressional wages, retirement and healthcare. No fat, no pork in bills, just govern frugally and responsibly. BAMMM, Budget balanced, deficit cut! Just like my personal finances and bank account. No brainer, even with my wages slashed at a time when we have a poor economy.
If we didn’t have a bunch of greedy b——- in Congress wasting a bunch of money on the individual state pork bellies our country would have some money. Also, quit paying off your campaign supporters and family members. Maybe we should send them all over to fight the war and see how they like being away from their families killing people and being shot at. What kind of condition will they be coming home with?
Seriousl you people need to quit complaining about free healthcare. You live in a country where nothing is free nad you need to pay just like the rest of us. Military entitlement programs are a huge waste of tax payer funds. We shouldn’t have to pay for your healthcare, that’s your own responsibility.
Spouse of an AF retiree and feel the whole Tricare issue is a complete lack of respect and disregard to those who served their country. These veterans where promoised life time healthcare and now because the government has gotten themselves in debt they are making veterans, like my husband to pay for it been they should be looking elsewhere for healthcare was part of their package deal for servicing in the military. The government should be ashamed of themselves and look elsewhere as well as trying to take care of home first then always helping other countries.
I was an Air Force medic during the Vietnam war and saw terrible things done to our boys when they came back from that hell hole! I doubt the three wars (two of which Bush got us into) has faired much better for both our girls and boys there! At least our country should meet its obligation to the agreements it made when it sent our boys and girls over to these wars….I would call them political wars as NONE of them has threatened the US directly…just politically indirectly courtesy of our politicians! I am betting Jimbo has never served our country a day in his life….just sitting on his butt with his beer watching sports…a right earned by the military he is so anxious to screw and tattoo! I bet he would love it if the draft was back because he doesn’t wish to give the military benefits of any kind nor assure any contract with those that volunteer to serve is kept! Bet we would see Jimbo at the Canadian border instead!
Who is Jimbo?
Gary I bet has never served a friggin day of his pathetic life in service to this country…If he had, he may (although I doubt it) understand why people are complaining about their EARNED benefits. Shut up and thank a vet!
Apololgies to Gary, I meant Jimbo…
Without good military benefits, we’re going back to the DRAFT!
These cuts would be significant to the people they affect and are nickle and dime savings compared to the total debt problem. Bigger solutions are needed to include significantly raising taxes, especially on those who can pay.
It is inconceivable that we are once again looking at cutting the benefits of our military. We are spending billions of hard earned dollars on two wars, and on a daily basis giving away millions to countries who do not support us! Our politicians should be looking more closely at closing the tax loopholes for offshore companies who reap the benefits of American life, while paying little or no corporate taxes!
None of these cuts will amount to anything if Congress keeps voting to raise the debt ceiling. Its like trying to bail out the Titanic with a shot glass.
First I want to say I am not a veteran and not a Tea Party member. I do respect and want to thank those that have served so I can speak my mind here without fear or retibution. I think it is an absolute disgrace that our Government continues to break the contracts made with our Veteran’s. How many members of the Congress and Senate have served and how many are willing to sacrifice their health and retirement benefits to make this country solvent once more. I bet we will be able to count that number on one hand.
Tricare should cost the same as regular insurance for all vets younger than 65. Thanks for your service, but you can not continue to live off the government. Get a job and enjoy your tricare.
Why is it necessary to say the Rebulicans have destroyed America? The Democrats have never opposed increased spending. Why increase spending in DOE, DOD, Education or any other agency 20% or 30% when inflation is only 4%? The answer is easy, these game cocks in both parties increase spending, money we don’t have, in order to buy votes. They will spend this country into oblivion just so they can remain in office. Term limits is the only way to get this house back in order and spend within our means.
Changing laws are not breaking promises. I bet many who are mad at having to pay more for TRICARE are also yelling about the new health care law as if serving the military makes those a protected class. I have seen my healthcare deductions go up 50% in 6 years and dental costs never provided. Serving in the Military is an honor and not just a job. Your employer can no longer afford to pay what it has, nor does anyone support raising tax’s.
Promises are broken with private-sector union members all the time. Check w/ your UAW neighbors working for Ford.
The Govt needs to leave the Veterans and families benefits alone who have fought, died, been injured, and their families lived without them while they served. Instead of messing with the medical benefits cut out some of the overpaid senior management who are no longer worker bees and consolidate the services vs having so many duplicates.
Our veterans have commited their lives to protect our country and its freedoms. They have sacrificed time with their families, missed the births of their children, suffered incomprehensible physical and mental injuries, and many have given their lives. And yet Jimbo and Jeff P have the audacity to imply that these individuals have not earned the healthcare they were promised the day they signed the dotted line? How dare you!! Jimbo, you think they need to “pay just like the rest of us?” They paid their price! What have you contributed to your country? “Get a job?” Really Jeff? These veterans had a job and it was to assure that your sorry @$$ has the freedom to speak your mind! Let’s start with reducing the exorbitant benefits Congress enjoys and leave the Veterans alone!!
This proposal will destroy the Commissary as we know it. When tests for the exchange to operate commissaries failed in the past and the high prices fixed by the exchange program would null a 7% increase of military BAS pay.
CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMAN NOW
Dont let this kid you, consolidating the exchange and commissary would raise the prices of grocies to shoppette prices dont let this happen.