DeM Banter: I honestly believe serving in the US Military is the greatest job and honor in the world. It is indeed a life of service, working with some of the greatest people in the world, serving what is the greatest nation in history. That is why issues like those below just hurt. There are so many that would serve the country with zero pay raise… (it’s just not about that) they would stay on as pilots and aircrew no matter how the flying hour programs were cut…but, wow…how much more can we ask? Between the wars, the deployments, the cuts in funding, the internal bickering on the Hill… where will we be in 2023? What will the next decade bring? When we look strategically at our lack of National Security Strategy, the rise of nations less than friendly to the US, cuts in defense, increase in attacks by terrorist groups all over the world to include in the US…the posturing of rouge nations…the trend lines appear to be going in the wrong direction without many solutions on the white board.
…. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. -Luke 12:48
It’s simply a matter of priorities and vision… what do we want for America? God bless those who serve in all venues…and God bless America
April 25, 2013
Budget Cuts Biting
Military pay hikes would be lowest in 50 years
The raise comes at a time when forces will still be fighting in Afghanistan.
“We’re sending the wrong message to the ones who have worked the hardest in our country by the multiple deployments and family separations,” says Michael Hayden, deputy director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America.
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, no relation to Michael Hayden, said Obama is committed to “a sacred trust” with military members, but needed to reduce the pay raise, partly to offset congressional refusal to cut spending on “outdated weapons system.”
Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, called the limit on pay increases a “tough decision.” She said the Defense Department must pay for proper training and support, and “fair compensation that recognizes the sacrifices they (troops) make for our country … while adhering to the budget constraints it is facing.”
Pentagon officials briefing military family representatives framed the 1% increase as a trade-off — “They believe servicemembers and families would be willing to give something on the size of pay raises to ensure funding for the mission,” the National Military Family Association explained to members on its website.
This triggered angry questions from spouses, who asked whether this wasn’t a false choice.
“We understand that funding training and readiness are vital to the servicemember and the Department of Defense, but why should something this important be an either/or?” says Joyce Raezer, executive director of the association.
Pentagon records show that a 1% increase would be the lowest since 1963, when there was no raise followed by a double-digit increase later that year. The second-lowest raise since then was in 2011 at 1.4%.
Military pay increases by law are now linked with private sector growth as reflected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index, an assessment that would call for a 1.8% increase in 2014, which advocates are seeking.
But the Pentagon is asking Congress to limit it to 1% and save $540 million. The Defense Department is also seeking to raise or establish certain fees in health coverage for retirees and military dependents, a savings of $1 billion.
Doubts were also raised by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., head of the Senate Armed Service Committee sub-panel that will examine the issue. “There are a lot of ways the federal government can cut costs and save money, but targeting salaries and benefits for our troops and civilian personnel should not be one of them,” she said Wednesday.
Non-military federal workers have seen their pay frozen for three years and Obama exempted troops from the impact of sequestration furloughs.
April 24, 2013
Air Force: Crews Of Grounded Combat Air Squadrons Will Lose Currency In 45-60 Days
By Brian Everstine, Staff writer
It will take the Air Force three to six months to recover from the recently announced stand down of combat squadrons, and two years of fully funded operations to return to the readiness level of 2011, officials said Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Burton Field, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, told lawmakers the Air Force can return to optimal readiness levels, provided Congress approves the service’s 2014 budget request. Air crews also would need additional flying time, beyond operational commitments, to get caught up, he said.
Earlier this month, the Air Force grounded 17 combat squadrons — four of which are deployed and will continue flying until they return to the U.S. — and reduced the readiness level of several others as a result of mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration. The aircraft will be grounded until October unless Congress reaches a deficit-reduction agreement that ends sequestration.
“Thirteen of our fighter and bomber squadrons are not flying,” Field said at a House Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing today. “That’s not good. In 45 to 60 days those aircrew and pilots, and navigators and [weapons systems officers] and maintainers will be out of currency. That’s going to be a significant recovery problem. And at six months is something we will have to find out because we haven’t done that before.”
A 30 percent reduction in the budget for flying hours meant a loss of 44,000 flying hours, said Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs. The Air Force had to protect squadrons currently flying combat operations, those ready to deploy, those in South Korea and Japan and those tasked to be ready to deploy if “something happens in the world,” Field said.
“We had enough money left to keep another eight squadrons flying at a reduced rate,” Field said. “That was the end of the money.”
The service will distribute 241,496 flying hours to keep other squadrons in a “tiered readiness,” with some remaining combat ready and others at a reduced readiness level called “basic mission capable,” according to documents obtained by Air Force Times.
The cuts affect only targeting combat fighter and bomber squadrons, not training. However, Air Combat Command Gen. Mike Hostage said earlier this month that he has canceled a class at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and will possibly close ranges at bases across the country.
The Air Force’s fiscal 2014 budget request was filed before sequestration went into effect, so the service has not formally asked for additional funding to make up the lost flying hours, Field said.