Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is getting set to announce plans to make further cuts to active duty members of the military. According to sources within the Department of Defense, Hagel will announce on Monday that he proposes less military pay raises, higher costs for healthcare benefits, and cuts to housing alliances. The cuts will put Congress in a position of making deep cuts to the military, a risky move, especially in an election year.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set Monday to recommend a limit on military pay raises, higher fees for health-care benefits and less generous housing allowances to prune billions of dollars in benefits from the defense budget, setting up an election-year confrontation with veterans groups and lawmakers.
Faced with steadily increasing military personnel costs that threaten to overwhelm an ever-tighter budget, Mr. Hagel is also expected to include a one-year freeze on raises for top military brass—a gesture meant to show that the best-compensated leaders also will make sacrifices.
Pentagon officials describe the package of cuts, which will be part of the military’s coming budget, as a modest and realistic attempt to save billions of dollars needed to protect other critical portions of U.S. defense spending.
But the approach—which would also place limits on things like support for grocery stores offering discounts to military families—is certain to face fierce resistance from veterans groups that recently defeated a far more modest congressional effort to curb military pay.