28 February 2014

Senior DoD Official: Blame Congress for Cuts, Not Military Leaders | RallyPoint.com

Image copyright Susan Walsh/AP

By Michelle Tan
Copyright 2014 www.militarytimes.com

A senior defense official says the Army and Defense Department are being unfairly vilified in the media over military budget cuts when Congress is really to blame.

“Congress is the one that passed the law that put sequestration into place,” the senior official told Army Times. The official requested anonymity in order to speak candidly. “Sequestration is bad. We’ve got to get rid of sequestration. What the Army and DoD leadership is trying to do, within the constraints, is give you the best [military] we can. We don’t want to cut.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel rolled out key details of the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal Monday. Some highlights: the first-ever rollback in Basic Allowance for Housing; a military pay raise that would match last year’s 1 percent hike, the lowest in the volunteer era; massive cuts to commissary subsidies; and potentially increased health care fees for both active-duty families and retirees.

The official also addressed scrutiny the Army is facing over a decision to transfer all of the National Guard’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to active-duty.

National Guard leaders and advocates and members of Congress have called the move unfair. But the senior official cited a different statistic, one that shows the Guard is also making some gains under the budget proposal.

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