Tags: benefits, enlisted personnel, GWOT, pay
I am fine with the notion that enlisted benefits will be reduced. That is with a caveat: as long as it leads to a positive impact in our ability to win wars.
When I returned to my home town for the first time as an E-4, I discovered I made more money than my close friends, as well as my mom who is an elementary school teacher. Granted I am much more trained and perform much more demanding skills than most of my friends. But, even with those who are skilled and trained in their demanding tasks commensurate with my own: I am still earning more, and will have a pension and an IRA when it’s all said and done. As an E-5 with BAH, I make significantly more than my friends. Now, in Afghanistan I cost something like a million dollars a year by just having my boots on the ground. How is that sustainable?
What concerns me the most is that we’re in an adaptation race with terrorists; the cost of their adaptation is orders of magnitude lower than our own. If we do not change the costs of our adaptation and/or our ability to afford adapting, we will not be able to win this war. Just as the Soviets could not sustain their efforts against us in the Cold War. We had the Anti-ballistic Missile treaty which put an end to the most visible aspect of our adaptation race with the soviets. But, we will have no such a treaty with terrorists, nothing is sacred anything can be used to defeat us. To stay competitive against this in our current war on terrorism we need to make our ability to adapt sustainable, possibly for generations. I think the Secretary of Defense knows this, and I believe that is why he said nothing is sacred and everything must be looked at to see if we can cut costs, or if we really need it. If a reduction in enlisted benefits directly contributes towards winning, then it must be done. However, when it is done, it will be a challenge to make sure the deckplates understand this fact and it should be directly demonstrated to us how the Navy is better off for it.