You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Report: Pentagon could save billions by making military retirees pay more

The Pentagon could slash the defense budget by more than $900 billion over a decade without sacrificing significant combat capabilities, according to a Washington think tank.

The Stimson Center, which labels itself as a nonpartisan nonprofit, assembled recommendations to slash spending on personnel compensation, the use of manpower and procurement practices. The center, however, did not endorse any of the recommendations in its report, which was released Monday.

“Essentially, we’re hoping by drawing attention to these things to make it easier for (the Department of Defense) to avoid debilitating cuts in forces and weapons programs,” said Barry Blechman, a Stimson Center distinguished fellow and one of the authors of the report.

The Pentagon finds itself in the midst of sequestration, or forced cuts of about $500 billion over the next decade, because the White House and Congressional leaders could not reach a deficit-reduction pact to avoid the automatic cuts. That’s in addition to $487 billion the Pentagon agreed to absorb over the same time period.

Among Stimson’s cost-cutting recommendations: pegging pay to specialization in high-demand areas; requiring military retirees to pay more for health care; curtailing the number of health care beneficiaries; and reforming military retirement plans to more closely resemble civilian-style retirement options.

The report suggested, among other actions, trimming the number of civilian and contractor employees, using service members to perform “inherently military functions” and reducing redundant support services inside each military branch. The report also outlined better management acquisition practices.

This year, the Air Force must cut $10.8 billion by the end of September. Among other actions to cut spending, the service has drastically slashed flying hours, grounded aircraft and deferred maintenance. It could furlough 13,000 civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, among tens of thousands possible furloughs in the Defense Department.

High-ranking Pentagon leaders have said the combined reductions would “hollow out” the military. Even so, many of the report’s recommendations are unlikely to get political or bureaucratic backing, Blechman said.

“It’s an uphill slog, but our hope is because of budgetary pressures and the need for new appropriations for the coming fiscal year that the department and the Congress will understand it’s better to take some of these efficiencies than, say, cut the number of Army brigades,” he said.

A Pentagon spokeswoman declined comment on the report.

The projected Department of Defense budget for fiscal year 2014 doesn’t incorporate sequester reductions because the budget was submitted prior to March 1. But with a possible $52 billion cut on the table for the next fiscal year “substantial additional cuts driven by sequestration … could force major changes,” Army Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an email.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Military

For Kettering Army Ranger, service was ‘all he lived and breathed’
For Kettering Army Ranger, service was ‘all he lived and breathed’

Cameron H. Thomas joined the Fairmont High School swim team and practiced mixed martial arts because he wanted to become an Army Ranger, his father said. It was the future soldier’s passion. “It’s all he lived and breathed,” Andre L. Thomas, 58, said of his 23-year-old son. “Whatever he set his mind to, he did.”...
Pentagon: Kettering soldier may have been killed by friendly fire
Pentagon: Kettering soldier may have been killed by friendly fire

The father of a Kettering soldier killed in Afghanistan said his son knew the risks of war but was driven to become an Army Ranger.   “We had talks about the possibility of losing his life and he always said that he’d rather die defending his country and defending his family then dying in a car accident or cancer,” said Andre...
Air Force calls on hackers to find cyber vulnerabilities for a bounty
Air Force calls on hackers to find cyber vulnerabilities for a bounty

The Air Force is looking for a few good hackers. A cyber competition will launch soon to urge computer hackers to find vulnerabilities in Air Force public websites, much as a Department of Defense contest dubbed “Hack the Pentagon” did last year. “We’d like to find out which vulnerabilities are out there that we have not yet...
Mechanicsburg library to honor local veterans
Mechanicsburg library to honor local veterans

The Mechanicsburg Library is collecting photos of veterans with connections to the village. Library director Tammie Beers said they are trying to build the library’s digital image collection and share it with the community. “It’s a way to help build that, and it is a way to encourage people to contribute and honor our veterans,&rdquo...
EXCLUSIVE: Top Air Force general says ‘all programs are at risk’
EXCLUSIVE: Top Air Force general says ‘all programs are at risk’

The absence of a defense budget is the biggest threat the Air Force faces today as it grapples with adversaries and threats around the world, the service branch’s top general says. In an exclusive interview Tuesday with this news outlet, Gen. David L. Goldfein addressed, among other priorities, the consequences a lack of a budget would cause...
More Stories