American Legion to DoD: Budget breaks promise

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American Legion to DoD: Budget breaks promise
Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller Robert Hale and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Larry O. Spencer, director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, Joint Staff, brief the Pentagon press corps on President Obama's fiscal 2013 defense budget proposal to Congress.

Pointing out that President Obama just pledged a month ago to “keep our Armed Forces the best-trained, best led, best-equipped fighting force in history,” American Legion National Commander Fang Wong warned that if the administration’s 2013 defense budget is enacted, America will once again return to a hollow force.

“To keep the best fighting force, you must recruit and retain the best people,” Wong said. “By increasing, and in some cases, quadrupling health insurance fees for military retirees, you are sending a powerful message to those in uniform and to their families that their decades of service and sacrifice are unappreciated. Moreover, most believe that the Retirement Modernization Commission that this budget recommends will lead to a 401(K)-type plan, which will encourage people to leave the military for a safer and less demanding career in the private sector. ‘Grandfathering’ benefit cuts merely tells tomorrow’s veterans that their service isn’t as valuable as those who served before them.”

The budget for 2013 represents an 8 percent cut from 2012. In October, The American Legion passed a national resolution which called on Congress and the White House to “cease all efforts to reduce the defense budget from its current level.”

Wong, a Vietnam War veteran, added that he fully understands the fiscal realities that Washington faces. “America has a debt crisis,” he said. “But no debt is higher than what America owes its veterans, who already sacrificed years of service, lost family time, physical injury and the comforts of home so that the other 90 percent of Americans can continue to live in freedom. Throughout our nation’s history, every time we cut defense we paid for it with American blood.”

Although U.S. forces have left Iraq, Wong pointed out that Iran, North Korea and international terrorism remain as threats to American interests. “Our men and women in the military have performed magnificently over the last decade. We must not return to a pre-9/11 mentality and be victimized by their past success in defending us.”

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John La Rochelle

March 7, 2012 - 11:34am

All Federal Agencies' Budgets are subject to the Budget Control Act. The real cuts will begin if sequestration occurs.

IrishRed76

February 22, 2012 - 12:11am

One more thing. It's easy for those in Washington to make recommendations on all this because this won't affect them. Why should they care. It would be much more of a fight if it was going to affect their personal pocketbook. If downsizing the budget is so important they need to look in their own backyard and set the example and start with themselves.

IrishRed76

February 22, 2012 - 12:03am

You're right. How about balancing the budget by reforming taxes and entitlement programs for those who haven't earned the right to them like welfare and illegal aliens. Oh yeah and how about this one. Leading by example. How 'bout our leaders in Washington setting the example by taking cuts in their pay, medical and retirement benefits, then maybe what they say will be worth listening to. Don't tell me how important our service is. Back it up with action. Make some cuts starting with yourselves!

me again

February 17, 2012 - 5:55pm

Our Leadership in Washington is probably right. All of us selfish retired G.I.'s that make so much money, and got rich while serving should give up all our entitlements. That's a great idea, and oh yeah don't mess with their health benefits or retirements, because(they had done so much more for the country).

jdoty62

February 16, 2012 - 9:10pm

How about balancing the budget by reforming taxes and entitlement programs for the 99% who have never spent a day in uniform. This is clearly a breach of promise and the means testing is a Socialist notion.

RLMaynard

February 16, 2012 - 7:22pm

The USA is BROKE. We must cut spending even if it hurts a little.

pmmarion

February 16, 2012 - 4:15pm

Making retirees pay a bit more for their health insurance will NOT result in our being "the best-trained, best led, best-equipped fighting force in history" It will just weed out those who's only intrest in being in the military is for monetary gain!

Chippysgt

February 17, 2012 - 2:21am

Check the facts jack..It is not a bit more, it is a lot more and it does not only apply to retirees, it also applies to active duty families. Another fact is that Tricare for Life was the governments answer to the promise of lifetime medical for free, that was made to us from the Vietnam era and before, if we stayed for 20. It was a hard battle to get Tricare for Life and it was intended to be free to all retirees as an earned benefit and now a Congress and administration with very few veterans and no understanding of the sacrifices made by veterans want to again break the promise and charge them for what was promised to be free.

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