9 in 10 active duty troops are against reductions in pay or benefits
McLean, Va – Military.com released the results of an online poll about pay and benefits cuts today which indicated solid opposition to changes in military compensation.
About nine in 10 active-duty troops oppose the Defense Department’s proposals to reduce their pay raises and basic allowances for housing.
Responses from more than 8,400 service members and their spouses, veterans and retirees show overwhelming opposition to the Pentagon’s recommendations to curb personnel costs by reducing military benefits, from pay and housing to commissaries and health care. Ninety-six percent of active duty troops responding to the poll also rejected suggestions from the top brass that the cuts aren’t “on their minds.”
“This poll is a reflection of what our military community members are thinking as we head into an era where tough decisions need to be made about military compensation. The overwhelmingly negative response to any cuts tells us our troops are concerned about making ends meet,” said T McCreary, President of Military.com and a retired Navy Rear Admiral.
Of the more than 2,000 active-duty respondents, 90 percent said they disagreed with reducing next year’s pay raise to 1 percent from a previous 1.7 percent. An even higher percentage—94 percent—said they disagreed with slowing the growth of basic allowances for housing until recipients, on average, pay 5 percent of the cost.
“It will hit my wallet harder, especially in high-cost areas,” said Army Capt. Robert Garcia, an infantry officer with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at Fort Bliss, Texas, who lives with his wife and child in El Paso. “Anyone and everyone who is trying to provide a better home for their family is going to feel that right away.”
The independent survey was conducted online from April 28 through May 1.
Military.com posted links to the questionnaire on its website and selected blogs, and on the social media site Facebook. While the group surveyed has a higher percentage of officers than the military as a whole, both enlisted personnel and officers showed similar attitudes and opinions.
The feedback comes as lawmakers prepare to debate the Defense Department’s budget request for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1. The Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., convenes Tuesday to discuss military compensation proposals. The House’s counterpart panel, headed by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., meets Wednesday to amendits version of the annual defense bill.
Read the full story by Brendan McGarry at Military.com.