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Quote of the Month “Part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who fought it. Words are cheap. We must do it with deeds. You stood up for Amer- ica. America needs to stand up for you.” — President Obama during a speech mark-


ing the end of America’s military presence in Iraq


disproportional reliance on generating reports rather than real action), MOAA is pleased to see Congress exempted military personnel from the pay freeze imposed on federal civilians. MOAA also is particularly grateful the legislation includes new authorities for early retirement and voluntary separation programs, which will be so important in easing the adverse effects of the coming budget-driven force reductions.


Obama Mulls I


Defense Cuts Significant Pentagon budget cuts are coming.


n December 2011, the Pentagon sent the White House its proposed plan for cutting $450 billion from the defense budget over the next 10 years. Pentagon budget leaders say the plan focuses on personnel accounts more than weapon systems to achieve the bulk of the savings. The plan reportedly includes significant cuts in force levels, pay, and retirement and health care benefits, particularly in the form of higher health care fees. MOAA objects strongly to this wrong- headed effort to impose major new finan- cial penalties on the military community, which already has sacrificed more for our country than any other group of Americans. Most retirees have lost thousands in re-


tired pay as a result of past budget cuts that depressed military pay (and subsequent retired pay) by as much as 13 percent or more. Hundreds of thousands of disabled retirees continue to fund their own disabil- ity compensation by forfeiting part or all of their earned retired pay. Tens of thousands of military survivors continue to forfeit part or all of their earned military Survivor Ben- efit Plan annuities to fund modest VA sur-


36 MILITARY OFFICER FEBRUARY 2012


vivor payments. More than a half-million current retirees served on active duty dur- ing the past decade of war that has imposed unprecedented sacrifices through deploy- ment, family separation, and physical and psychological wounds. The president and first lady have gone out of their way to acknowledge troops’ and their families’ sacrifices. Yet they now have in their hands a Pen- tagon plan to make military families the first targets of punishment for government leaders’ own financial sins. Where is the sense of outrage at the in-


consistency between defense and adminis- tration leaders’ words and deeds? As this issue went to press, the specifics


of the proposal still were unknown. But MOAA firmly believes military personnel should be last — not first — in line to suffer financial penalties for government leaders’ decades of mismanagement.


Quick Whacks? Bill would fast-track debt deals.


A


bill (S. 1985) introduced in the Senate in December 2011 would extend expedited consider- ation privileges to legislation that: • is cosponsored by any bipartisan group of six Democratic and six Republican sen- ators (or 15 Democratic and 15 Republican representatives) and • would reduce the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years. “Expedited consideration” means it


would be treated in the same way as base- closure legislation. There would be only limited debate before requiring an up-or- down vote, without any amendments. There’s no doubt Congress needs to


work in a bipartisan fashion to control our nation’s exploding debt, but MOAA strongly disagrees with using the base-


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