MOAA Calls for Balance in Budget, end to Sequestration

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The Pentagon’s FY 2016 budget proposes for a third year in a row to cap military pay below the employment cost index; a 1.3 percent pay-raise, versus the 2.3 percent pay raise as directed by law. The FY 2016 budget submission proposes cuts to pay and benefits for the currently serving force in order to slow the growth of personnel costs.

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We have a commitment to the all-volunteer force, the 1 percent in uniform and their families who have sacrificed so much for the other 99 percent of Americans over the past 13 years.

The administration submitted its FY 2016 budget today. Following its release, retired Navy Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), said, “MOAA clearly understands the predicament the Pentagon faces, and we concur with DoD leadership’s call for balancing the force and ending the harmful effects of sequestration. Not doing so is simply unacceptable and dangerous. However, the administration’s budget just rehashes many of the same piecemeal proposals that Congress blunted or blocked last year. These proposals will further erode servicemembers’ pay and benefits that are fundamental to sustaining the quality of the all-volunteer force.”

The Pentagon’s FY 2016 budget proposes for a third year in a row to cap military pay below the employment cost index; a 1.3 percent pay-raise, versus the 2.3 percent pay raise as directed by law. The FY 14 and FY 15 pay raises were the two lowest raises in 50 years. The FY 2016 budget submission proposes cuts to pay and benefits for the currently serving force in order to slow the growth of personnel costs.

Primary features of the plan include:

  • continuing to cap pay below the congressionally-mandated ECI for a third straight year with an additional four more years planned;
  • reducing commissary operating days and hours for uniformed service families;
  • continuing to erode the military family’s housing allowance; and
  • stripping away two choices of the TRICARE benefit while foisting higher copayments and fees onto the beneficiary.

Ryan explained that capping military raises below private-sector pay growth will eventually undermine retention and readiness and reduce servicemember’s purchasing power. Congress had to enact two double-digit raises to correct the previous pay gap.

“We need to learn from the past,” Ryan said. “Sequestration is tying the hands of the Pentagon’s budgeteers, and we are repeating many of the bad drawdown decisions that led to serious retention problems in the late ’90s. These proposals will continue to undo all the hard work Congress did between 2000 and 2010 to fix pay and benefits needed to sustain the force.”

“We have a commitment to the all-volunteer force, the 1 percent in uniform and their families who have sacrificed so much for the other 99 percent of Americans over the past 13 years,” Ryan concluded. “There is no more dedicated group in America but also no group more stretched.”

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