Legion to Panetta: No cut to military pay

American Legion National Commander Jim E. Koutz is taking a strong exception to a recommendation by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that would effectively cut the pay of active duty military personnel.

Panetta, in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Feb. 6, said he plans to ask Congress to limit troop salary increases to 1 percent in 2014. Since this hike is below the estimated rise in cost-of-living for that year, the limitation would effectively reduce servicemembers pay.

"This is not the way to go about saving money," Koutz said. "Making the men and women of the military pay for out of control spending by others is unwarranted, unfair and just plain wrong. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deserve a raise — certainly not a cut — to at least keep pace with the cost-of-living."

Koutz also said that no federal employee should receive a higher increase than members of the military. However, he did "agree wholeheartedly" with Secretary Panetta’s repeated warnings about the potentially dire consequences of proposed massive cuts in military spending. Panetta, who retires from office later this month, reiterated his anti-sequestration stance during the Georgetown speech.