Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) May 12, 2014
Gen. John H. Tilelli, USA (Ret), chairman of the board of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today urging elimination of sequestration and sustainment of a dedicated, top-quality career all-volunteer force.
Tilelli explained while debt reduction is a national priority, a disproportionate share of the burden of reducing it must not be placed on the backs of military families. He stressed Congress needs to end the harmful effects of sequestration by supporting a bipartisan debt reduction package. Tilelli stated, “Continued sequestration cuts for FY 2016 and beyond will place national security at risk.”
Tilelli said no federal obligation is more important than protecting national security, and the most important element of national security is sustainment of a dedicated, top-quality career military force.
“The past 12 years of unprecedented demands and sacrifices highlight how radically different military service conditions are from civilian life, something many budget analysts and think tanks don’t understand,” Tilelli said.
“The only times the all-volunteer force has been jeopardized have been due to the budget-driven cutbacks in the military compensation package that gave insufficient weight to the extraordinary demands and sacrifices inherent in a service career,” Tilelli continued. “Since 2000, personnel and health care costs experienced an average 7.8-percent rate of growth due to the necessity of correcting previous cutbacks from breaking the career force.
“Since 2011, personnel cost growth has not just slowed but [rather] declined on the average of minus-1.5 percent per year,” Tilelli emphasized. “MOAA believes these budget proposals would be a major step backward. They would repeat the insidious measures that led to retention and readiness problems in the past, undoing the needed compensation improvements Congress put in place since 2000.”
Tilelli highlighted that between the FY 2014 and FY 2015 pay caps, the proposed Basic Allowance for Housing reductions, the planned reductions in commissary savings, and the new health care consolidation and fees, an E-5’s family of four would experience a loss of nearly $5,000 in purchasing power annually.
Additionally, Tilelli reiterated MOAA’s position that piecemeal, budget-driven reductions are doubly inappropriate since the congressionally directed Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission will be offering even broader reform proposals next year.
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with more than 380,000 members from every branch of service, including active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, and former officers and their families and survivors. MOAA is a nonprofit and politically nonpartisan organization and an influential force in promoting a strong national defense. MOAA represents the interests of service members and their families in every stage of their lives and careers, and for those who are not eligible to join MOAA, Voices for America’s Troops is a nonprofit MOAA affiliate that supports a strong national defense. For more information, visit http://www.moaa.org or http://www.voicesfortroops.org/.
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