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Price Tag of President’s Military Buildup- An Extra $638 Billion

troop buildup

By Debbie Gregory.

President Trump’s ambitious plan to rebuild America’s overstretched military would cost $683 billion more than current spending plans over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The Congressional Budget Office is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides budget and economic information to Congress.

President Trump came into office pledging the largest defense spending spree since the administration of Ronald Reagan — assuring the troops that they would see “beautiful new planes and beautiful new equipment.”

More missile defense systems, an upgraded nuclear arsenal and hundreds of additional fighter aircraft were also on the president’s wish list.

The budget for President Trump’s goals for the military would be more than 20 percent larger than peak spending during the 1980s.

The buildup’s projected 10 percent manpower increase (an additional 237,000 troops), its addition of 20 percent more naval vessels, and its increased purchases of other new weapons, adds up to a 12 percent increase over the Obama administration’s plans for defense spending over the same period.

For the Air Force, rising costs result primarily from existing plans to replace aging weapon systems and increased purchases of the F- 35A to allow the Air Force field five additional fighter squadrons.

The projections were based on administration documents, congressional testimony and the 2018 budget request’s five-year plan. The administration is due to produce a 2019 budget request and its National Defense Strategy, which will likely add more clarity.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in congressional testimony earlier this year the buildup would begin in 2019.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

 

Should Congress Halt Concurrent Receipt to Veterans to Save Money?

concurrent

By Debbie Gregory.

The Congressional Budget Office has revealed that eliminating the collection of retirement pay and disability compensation simultaneously could save the government billions of dollars.

Changing the benefit, which is called “concurrent receipt” would affect some 600,000 military veterans who are able to collect both benefits.

Veterans who sustained career-ending combat injuries are eligible for combat-related special compensation, while those veterans who received a disability rating of 50 percent or more after at least 20 years of service are eligible for concurrent retirement and disability pay.

Congress authorized some veterans to take both as military personnel began to sustain grievous wounds in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since then the number of veterans receiving both retirement pay and disability compensation has risen drastically — from 33 percent in 2005 to more than 50 percent in 2015.

Up until 2003, disabled veterans had to select either their full retirement compensation from the Department of Defense or their disability benefit from Veterans Affairs with a reduced retirement annuity.

In 2015, Air Force Col. Mike Hayden, then-director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) said, “MOAA’s position is that career service members earn their retired pay by service alone and those unfortunate enough to suffer a service-caused disability in the process should have any VA disability compensation from the VA added to, not subtracted from, their service-earned military retired pay.”

Last year, about 55 percent of the 2 million or so military retirees were subject to the VA offset penalty. Of those, about half — 575,000 retirees — took both payments totaling $10 billion, according to CBO estimates.

Changing the benefit could potentially save the government $139 billion over the next eight years. But is it the right thing to do?

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.