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Author Topic: gov't considering cutting military benefits and pay (by a lot)
Jeff C.
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I don't know if any of you care about this, but I certainly do. I mean, I'm in the military, so I kinda have to. What I want from all of you is a civilian reaction, given that most of you probably aren't in any branch of the service (if you are, please, by all means comment). I already know where everyone on this base stands on the subject, because it's the same as how I feel, so please feel free to post your various viewpoints.

I can't link anything to show you what I'm talking about but I'll try to explain as best I can what could happen. In case any of you are wondering, I got the info from a document passed down to me at work, so here you go.

First off, this document is insanely long, so I'll try to summarize as best I can. And by the way, the guy proposing all of this is Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary, as well as one of the joint chiefs.

Basically, they want to lessen our spending by about half a trillion dollars, which is certainly a lot of money. There are many ways to do this: cut it across the board, cut research and development, stop building so many planes, stop hiring new soldiers and fire the old ones, stop paying them as much and cut their benefits, or, I dont know, STOP WAGING THREE DIFFERENT WARS, DAMMIT.

Which one sounds like a more reasonable solution to you guys? Well, the gov't apparently thinks it's better to take ALL of the money out of military pay and benefits, and absolutely nothing out of the R&D or the manufacturing of all the jets and boats we don't use (because, you know, when you're in the desert you need all those ships, so why not build more, right?).

What does this mean for the lowly grunts of the military who already get paid less for their technical expertise than what a janitor makes, or, say, a line cook in a restaraunt? Well, it totally sucks because now they'll get paid even less. Here's some perspective on the situation.

I get paid like 20k a year. That's it. Oh, sure, I get military housing and food, but even if you count the expenses and free crap, it still amounts to roughly 30k or less. And I have a college degree, an A+ certification for computers, and plenty of hands-on military training. I also have a clearance level that costs a lot (and by a lot, I mean about 250 thousand dollars). Now...what kind of jobs do you think a person like me, who actually has even more training and time-in-grade, can get in the civilian world? Well, whatever it is, it's going to pay about four or five times as much as what that person is making in the military. No joke. And apparently that's still too much for the US gov't to fork over. The kicker is, by the way, that the military hires these people (who leave the military just to get rehired as civilians) and pays them these crazy salaries, because somehow that makes sense. Trust me, I work with four contractors who do the same job as me, and I get paid 1/4 of their pay. It's pretty awesome. Still, I don't complain because I signed up for that and I was promised that, and I was OK with it. Now they say I could get paid much less. And that's where I have a problem.

But it's not just the pay. Oh yes, there's even more.

Currently, education is a big deal. While you're in, you can get 100% of it paid for (unless you want anything higher than a B.A., in which case you pay extra...but it's still nice to have the help), but that could end too. Pretty soon our troops may only get a fraction of that, which means fewer of them will ultimately go to school. How can they, after all, when they barely have enough money as it is?

A huge incentive to get deployed right now is the fact that when you're overseas, you don't get any taxes taken out of your check, which ultimately means a huge payoff. Not anymore. Now you pay taxes, and that means less volunteers willing to go into harm's way, which means a lot of forced deployments, which means a lot of people getting out of the military. But hey, you joined the military and you knew it might happen, so I guess you just gotta deal (it's true). Still, you'd think they'd give you something for sitting in a tent in the desert for six months to a year, listening to gunfire just over that little hill over there. Oh well.

Of course, also on the table is taking away some of the retired military benefits, which kick in once you hit the 20 year mark. They are thinking about cuting the pay you get once you get out (right now, you get half of what you made when you retired). Also, upping the cost of medicare (called Tricare in the military) for retired vets. So hey, you fought and did your time, but you know what, we just don't care anymore.

All in all, it's an easy target because military pay and benefits take up a lot of the costs they spend on the overall military. But do you really want an unruly mob of armed soldiers mad at you? Do you really think that they will even stay in, which would mean more cost spent on training new recruits, which would also slow down productivity?

I think our Chief Master Sgt. said it best earlier today: "There's going to be a draft, because every last damned one of us is going to get out, and they'll have to force people to join, and that's some bullsh*t."

It's an extreme scenario, to be sure, but he has a point. There's nothing wrong with cutting costs in a program where you just have to do it, but when you take away so many things at once from people who really don't have that much to begin with, and who gave up part of their lives to serve (and, in some cases, even took a pay cut), there's going to be a backlash.

I guess my question for you guys is, is this too much? Is it wrong? Immoral? Is there another way? I mean, what would you do if you had to make the call?

Personally, if they do this, then yes, I'm getting out and I'm going to go to some civilian company and get a job with pay that is actually above the poverty level. From what I can tell, it sounds like most other people will do the same thing, but you never know.

This isn't the first time they've threatened their own military, by the way. There was some talk about Congress shutting down the gov't a few months back (I'm sure you all heard about it), and the first thing that would happen would be that the military wouldn't get paid. That didn't actually happen (thank Christ), but the fact that it nearly did is proof that the boys in the fancy chairs don't think much of the boys and girls in the trenches who keep dying, protecting them while they argue over how to save money.

Will this happen? I don't know. Should it even get discussed and proposed the way it is? Hell no, of course not. But there you go.


EDIT: I also meant to say, the reasoning behind this is that, according to Gates, since so many people are signing up and getting recruited, it must mean we're paying too much. Yeah, the fact that the economy sucks and millions are unemployed has nothing to do with it at all.

[ June 11, 2011, 02:10 AM: Message edited by: Jeff C. ]

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scholarette
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I think you are underestimating the cost of food and housing.
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Jeff C.
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Food alotment is 300 dollars a month. Rent is approximately 800 dollars (give or take a hundred, depending on where you live) each month. Of course, if you live in the dorm, they don't give you anything because it's free anyway, which saves them a lot of cash.

300 x 12 = 3600
800 x 12 = 9600

19700 (my pay, before taxes) + 3600 + 9600 = 32,900 dollars a year.

Since I said after expenses, it comes to roughly 30k, I'd say that's pretty accurate. And mind you, I am certainly not the lowest rank (which means plenty of others get paid less than that). Not to mention the fact that the upkeep for the dorms is nothing compared to what off-base housing costs, and most younger troops live in the dorms. Also keep in mind that if you live in the dorms, you don't actually get to see any of that money except for the base pay, which would be that 19-20k (pre-tax) that I mentioned.

Regardless though, there's nothing in this plan about cutting food allotment or housing, just your base pay and raises. That means that if you live in the dorms (which, like I said, many do), you will get screwed.

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Lyrhawn
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The military is pretty much the last untouchable political force left in the country. Military spending needs to be dramatically, drastically reduced. Some of that, maybe even a lot of it, will come from downsizing the size of the active duty force. Cutting costly programs will take a hit as well. R&D, probably not quite so much. Ordering fewer planes and ships might also be a way to do it.

What you're describing simply will not happen though.

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Dogbreath
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Quite a bit of military expenses come from simply covering the billions of dollars of unnecessary waste... waste that as often as not is caused by service members who are either incompetent or vastly under trained with the equipment they use, and are certainly very under motivated by abysmal pay and work conditions. Cutting pay and benefits will only drive away the competent people who can make better money on the outside as soon as their contracts finish. The handful of benefits we do receive are the main reason a lot of people enlist anyway.

I'm one of those people who actually enlisted in the Marine Corps because he *wanted* to serve, and I don't mind the crappy conditions too much. There are other things (like travel, and general camaraderie) that make up for it. But I definitely won't be reenlisting. My job field (SigInt) is full of incredibly intelligent, physically fit, well educated, driven young men. Thanks to our security clearance and training, the average equivalent entry level civilian job averages $80,000/year. I've got a lot of buddies with about a year left of their contracts who are already getting job offers.

To compensate for this, in my field it wasn't uncommon for the DoD to offer upwards of $100,000 reenlistment bonuses for Marines in my MOS, as well as offering promotions and their choice of duty stations. In the past few years, though, these bonuses have all but disappeared, and we're rapidly approaching a crisis as the Corps is losing almost all of their competent Intel NCOs to the private sector. I know an E-3 who holds the billet of an E-7, simply because there are so few SNCOs left in my MOS. It'll only get worse from here on out.

The most vital component to maintaining a professional military is the quality of the men you employ. Equipment and logistics are secondary to that. I'd sooner they scrap a few aircraft carriers or drop a few R&D programs and increase pay and benefits. Your fancy billion dollar fighter planes won't do you any good if you can't retain the people who know how to operate and maintain them.

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Lyrhawn
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I wouldn't be surprised if they did drop an aircraft carrier or two. I probably wouldn't support dropping R&D anyway. R&D almost always pays for itself. It usually isn't a very high percentage of overall military spending, and eventually military research usually produces some sort of civilian offshoot that provides a boon to business, and thus to the government's coffers.

Personally I'd like to see much of our European bases shuttered. Europe can take care of itself, and we can deal without having major bases there.

I also wouldn't be surprise if this generation of planes was one of the last before drones take over. I'm sure Boeing and Lockheed have something even cooler cooking for the next generation of fighter, but the advancement in UAV technology is pretty rapid.

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Samprimary
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Is this where I can come in and make an offhand comment about, say, the fact that we're going to have to raise tax rates on the rich and we can only postpone that inevitability so how about we, you know, do that too
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fugu13
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Taxes are going to have to raise on more than just the rich. Taxes will have to go up on a substantial percentage of the middle class, even with fairly aggressive spending cuts.
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Jeff C.
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For those who say it just won't happen, I agree that it is very unlikely. However, this document is pretty clear that these scenarios are possible and that they are certainly on the table. It also says that they are looking to cut 400 million dollars from the military no matter what, so something is going to happen. The only question is, what?
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dabbler
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I'd have to see the numbers to decide what makes sense to me. On principle, I think it's bad to change the spirit of a contract already signed by the government and the enlisted. But I'd seriously look at whether or not some benefits/compensations are "wasteful" or "excessive" by consensus. Are they? I don't know any of the numbers.

I wish politics weren't so devoid of fiscal common sense and responsibility.

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DDDaysh
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Well, honestly, I can't say I have a huge issue with it. If you include benefits, many military members are actually making far MORE than they ever could outside of the military. I'm not saying this is true for all service members, but there are a substantial number that join the military as a last resort.

The military benefits are really quite high. You already mentioned that food/rent basically mean you're making 50% more than your actual salary. You've left out the medical, education, and retirement benefits. Virtually no one has better benefits of that type than the military, and almost no one can still retire after only 20 years of service. While I do respect the fact that some military members are actually being shot at for much of that time, many of them aren't, so it doesn't necessarily make sense to give them such a large cash out for life in their 40's. The only other places you find anything near so large are in the pension systems that are currently going belly up. So, while the average military person's paycheck may be pretty small, I'm not sure you can honestly say their total compensation is unreasonably low right now.

I definitely think that drastically cutting R&D spending would be the worst of the options. However, I think that perhaps the military could downsize personnel rather than cutting everyone's pay, but that really depends on how many physical bodies have to be there. Perhaps there needs to be more specific pay scales for specific skills. I don't know.

It's really hard to say whether I agree or disagree without seeing the actual proposal though.

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Blayne Bradley
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This discussion seems similar to the anti union, anti teacher rhetoric, I'ld be skeptical regarding lowering salaries and benefits for such an important field, especially in a "recession", buy 1000 less F-35's done.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
If you include benefits, many military members are actually making far MORE than they ever could outside of the military.
That pretty much has to be the case, though, considering all the downsides that come with a military career.
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Orincoro
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Well, it's always TS cleared SigInt guys and technicians with very valuable skills with the whole "I would make so much more as a contractor" spiel. The majority of the military couldn't walk out of their current jobs and get 5x their current salaries.
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Stone_Wolf_
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How is it that the government can sign a contract with our troops and then just decide to change it? Individuals can't do this, corporations can't do this. All the other concerns are interesting and all, but for me it comes down to one thing and one thing alone.

Our government said fight for us and we will pay you this much with these benefits. Our soldiers held up their end, fighting, supporting, etc, some died, some were wounded, but they held up their end. And it makes me angry that they could get anything less then what they were promised.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Well, it's always TS cleared SigInt guys and technicians with very valuable skills with the whole "I would make so much more as a contractor" spiel. The majority of the military couldn't walk out of their current jobs and get 5x their current salaries.

Well, it's generally more like 2x to 3x when you take into account free housing, food, medical, dental, etc. Due to CoL in Hawaii, I make the equivalent of about $43,000 a year. But the truth is, much as I appreciate grunts, you're always going to find guys either desperate or crazy enough to pick up a rifle and get shot at. I don't approve of their benefits getting taken away, but they're not the people the government has to worry about losing.

As I said, my MOS is already becoming very strained due to the lack of experienced personnel. About 7 of the best people we've got have their contracts ending next year, and none of them are reenlisting. A $100,000 reenlistment bonus may seem excessive, until you realize that's the bare minimum it takes to retain experienced, competent personnel.

DDDyash mentioned the people who join the military as a last resort: it's exactly those people you DON'T want handling sensitive equipment and information, or really put in any situation where their incompetence could cause millions of dollars of damage. But if the military continues to drive away everyone else, they're all we'll have left, and we'll end up paying for it in the future.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

Our government said fight for us and we will pay you this much with these benefits.

Or teach for us, or fight fires for us, or....Contracts are contracts, but everything can change -- and these contracts are annual.
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Stone_Wolf_
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So every year the U.S. can change it's mind, but our troops are in until the end of their contract (unless they get stop lossed)?
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Blayne Bradley
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I would say that when/if they change the contract you should have an option to leave then and there.
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TomDavidson
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Unless the contract explicitly says otherwise -- but even then (IANAL), you may have a case.
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Jeff C.
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Stop loss is pretty awesome (/sarcasm) because it means that even though I signed a term of 4 years, I can be called back for 4 more just because the gov't wants me to be there. But you know this going in, so you deal with it. Still, if too many people get out of the military because they're getting screwed over, I'd wager stop losses to happen pretty frequently.

The thing about our contracts is that, unlike most businesses or real contracts, it's completely subject to the good will of the gov't, which means it can change at any time. In fact, if congress really wants to, they can totally take away our paychecks completely (which almost happened a few months ago when the gov't nearly shut down). It all goes into that whole "they volunteered for this, so screw 'em" mentality that the American gov't and quite a few other people seem to have regarding the military.

quote:
As I said, my MOS is already becoming very strained due to the lack of experienced personnel. About 7 of the best people we've got have their contracts ending next year, and none of them are reenlisting. A $100,000 reenlistment bonus may seem excessive, until you realize that's the bare minimum it takes to retain experienced, competent personnel.

It's the same for where I work. Most of the people I know in my building whose contracts are ending are planning on getting out because, as they say, "this isn't the Air Force I signed up with 4/8/10 years ago." And it's true. I don't know how the Marine Corp is, but the Air Force used to be bigger. Because of cuts to the staff and tacking on more "additional duties" to already existing jobs, and merging jobs together, people are working longer hours and doing a lot more while still getting paid exactly the same. There's only about 300,000 people in the Air Force now, and that number is shrinking for a number of reasons. Why would anyone stay in with so much BS to deal with? Why work 15 hours a day when you could work half that and get paid 2 or 3 times as much? People aren't stupid. They know when they're getting boned. Well, the guys who were around for better times do, anyway.

Ironically, the retention rates for the Air Force will continue to go down if they do indeed cut our benefits and pay, which result in more spending in the long run. If you lose all your valuable people and have to conintuously train new ones, you'll end up spending a buttload of cash on that training, and it takes a long time to do.

Here's a good example: Air Traffic Contollers take approximately a year and a half to train after the two months of Basic Training, so that's almost two years altogether. Add on an additional year of upgrade training and you've already got half of their mandidatory contract of six years. After those next three years, they can leave and get a job that starts at 80-100k a year. The resign bonus is something like 100k (no, you don't get it all at once), but they get paid the exact same base pay as anyone else, including the line cook that works in the cafeteria on the same base. If they drop the benefits even more, they're going to have to pay an insane amount of money to keep training new people, and that's just rediculous.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I think some bonehead in the uppity ups think that having the best expensive equipment makes our's the best military in the world. They tend to loose sight of the idea that without fully trained, intelligent, willing, brave, volunteer citizen soldiers to pilot/maintain/etc that equipment, we have just so many billion dollar paper weights.

I often disagree with how our military is used, but even so I value our troops and I always thank them and shake their hand when I run into one.

God (Flying Spaghetti Monster) bless you troops, you deserve better!

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Blayne Bradley
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In the short term a draft can make up for the loss of retention as why bother to spend oodles of money to keep the best when you can force the best at the threat of prison to stay.
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Samprimary
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There's not going to be a draft.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
There's not going to be a draft.

Agreed. There's no way that could be pulled off in the current political climate. And I don't see any way that will change enough in the foreseeable future, either.
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Rakeesh
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Yeah-the kinds of things that'd need to happen for a draft to become tolerable enough to actually happen are, well, so big and unlikely in the short term it's just not very effective to talk about what it would do if we did it. Well, if people could fly by flapping their wings...
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Jeff C.
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A draft is very unlikely in the modern world, but you never know what can happen when people start going crazy.

With that said, we already have an active draft happening. It's called Stop Loss, and it essentially forces people to stay overseas or go back in to active duty after they're supposed to get out. It's a nice little loophole and you could go to prison if you try to fight it. Of course, there's always a way around those types of things.

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Samprimary
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Just come out as being gay.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Just come out as being gay.

Lol, actually we just got briefed on this the other day. The "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed, so now you can be openly gay in the military.

[ROFL]

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airmanfour
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While I do take issue with an all volunteer force and our military's focus-degrading structural weaknesses, this thread seems unnecessarily whiny.

Military members are compensated very well to fulfill their duties in a manner made possible by training provided them by the military.

Stop loss is pretty explicitly expressed in an enlistment contract.

The average E-4 is scamming the system, taking home more money than he could possibly earn on the outside, with a minuscule chance that he'll be hooked on his way out by a contractual obligation spelled out in the original enlistment paperwork he had to sign to join.

You've got it pretty good. Don't forget that when people thank you for what you do.

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Dogbreath
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airmanfour: Are you/have you been in the military? Have you ever deployed?

Because your post is incredibly arrogant and condescending, and worse yet, misses the damn point.

It's not "oh woe is me, the government is screwing me over", it's "if our government keeps mistreating it's service members, it'll wind up destroying our military." Those who don't see that as an incredibly bad thing don't understand that a large part of our success and security as a nation depends on our intelligence gathering capabilities, as well as our ability to project force and protect our assets globally.

I spent over a year in training before I even got a chance to do my job. I'm currently deployed overseas in an expeditionary unit doing a job that requires both ingenuity and fortitude... I often work 12+ hours a day in pretty terrible conditions and am often exhausted. Several times I've built my own equipment, and often have repaired existing equipment, often paying the expenses out of my pocket. There aren't many people in the world who could even do my job, and I'm damn good at what I do. The notion that I'm somehow scamming the system is ridiculous and insulting.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
Military members are compensated very well to fulfill their duties in a manner made possible by training provided them by the military.

When/if they start taking away your benefits and reducing your pay, we'll see if you change that stance. The point is that if you signed a contract for XXX, then you should get it. It's not whiny to demand what you were promised, since you're holding up your end of the bargain.

quote:
Stop loss is pretty explicitly expressed in an enlistment contract.
Right, which is why I said we know about it going in.

quote:
The average E-4 is scamming the system, taking home more money than he could possibly earn on the outside
Hm...I don't think so. In any technical field, by the time a soldier hits E-4, they are usually qualified enough to get a much better job somewhere else. And since I've seen plenty of people leave as E-4's and get jobs as civilians that pay upwards of 80k a year (I work with three contractors that left as an E-4), I think my assessment is accurate. Are you sure you're not talking about a married E-4? Because then I might be able to see where you're coming from. If so, just remember that not everyone is married, which means not all of us get that extra cash.

quote:
You've got it pretty good. Don't forget that when people thank you for what you do.
Unless they call you a "baby killer", which is always fun.


Anyway, I can't believe you are OK with some of these proposed reforms. They want to tax deployed soldiers, take away a portion of what they give for education, reduce general pay across the board, raise taxes on retired soldiers' medical benefits, reduce soldiers' retirement pay, and so on. To me, that just doesn't seem right.

The whole point of what we are saying is that they haven't really thought it through enough. When you take away the incentives, the experienced people will not stay in, which means you'll have to train new soldiers constantly, which costs even more money. In the long run, that's going to hurt the country more than if they just left it alone.

To say that an E-4 can scam the system: would you tell that to the folks who spend 12+ hours working like Dogbreath, away from their families for so long? And you want to give them even less? How is that right? It's not in the contract they signed like those Stop Loss clauses.

I don't know, it just seems wrong.

Anyway, like I said before, all this will probably not happen because the American people will hopefully oppose it. I know the military does, and that's a lot of people with a lot of family and friends who, at times, can be quite vocal. But you never know.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
airmanfour: Are you/have you been in the military?

You think his screenname is just for show?
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Stone_Wolf_
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From airmanfour's profile:
quote:
Occupation: MGIB kid
For those who don't know, MGIB = Montgomery GI Bill.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I don't know, it just seems wrong.

What was wrong was entering two wars without a plan to pay for either of them. And now defense spending is 300% of what it was a decade ago. Everything after that, including this, is just the ridiculous fallout of a breathtakingly irresponsible decision.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I don't know, it just seems wrong.

What was wrong was entering two wars without a plan to pay for either of them. And now defense spending is 300% of what it was a decade ago. Everything after that, including this, is just the ridiculous fallout of a breathtakingly irresponsible decision.
I agree %100. Although I would just say we are actually in more than two wars. There are unofficial wars being waged and (lest we forget) we're involved in Lybia now.

If we go to war with anyone else, I can't imagine how we'll pay for it. Maybe the military can just work for free. [Roll Eyes]

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airmanfour
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Dogbreath, it sounds like you're an above average E-4. Congratulations.

Jeff, are you, perchance, part of an organization with a 31 in it's name? If you're not somehow attached to the umbrella 70 I'll give up donuts for a week.

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Destineer
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How much do people think would be a reasonable amount to pay volunteer soldiers?

Given the risk involved and the skills needed, I would say a lot more than they're actually paid. Like $70K minimum.

Raise the pay and make the standards of admission highly selective, that would be the ideal. Wouldn't be cheap, though.

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Orincoro
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A reasonable amount would be the amount that retains the largest numbers at the minimum cost. Which is probably only slightly higher than current levels.

Lest you forget, many branches of the military also offer comparatively huge reenlistment bonuses to personel in certain job fields. I personally know one marine who had to pass up an offer that equalled twice his yearly salary for a four year reenlistment.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
Dogbreath, it sounds like you're an above average E-4. Congratulations.

Jeff, are you, perchance, part of an organization with a 31 in it's name? If you're not somehow attached to the umbrella 70 I'll give up donuts for a week.

Looks like you are giving up donuts [Razz]

quote:
Lest you forget, many branches of the military also offer comparatively huge reenlistment bonuses to personel in certain job fields.
That's true, although the Air Force is starting to move away from bonuses (I don't know about the other branches). My job used to have a sign-on bonus, and also a reinlistment bonus, but both were gradually taken away. From what I understand, only Intel jobs are really getting them now (and a few other obscure ones that are in high demand, like Air Traffic Controllers), but bonuses change all the time so who knows. Maybe by the time my contract's up, they'll have new ones.

For those who aren't sure what I do, I just fix computers. Yay, administrators!

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
You think his screenname is just for show?

I've seen far more military related screen names used by non military members than by people who are in the militaty. It's a fair question.

That being said, I don't know if airmanfour realizes there's a disparity between how hard the different MOS's and branches of service are. If you're a Senior Airman who's an admin clerk and works in a air conditioned office 8-16 every day, and goes back to his well furnished barracks room, then I can see where you think the compensation is adequet, or even excellent.

If you're a Corporal in the Marines and go to the field for an average of a week every month even in garrison, work 500-1730 at minimum, and often spend your off time taking classes online related to your MOS - and when you deploy live in a crowded, nasty ship or an old hot trailer, eating MREs constantly... it doesn't look so great. And I'm a frikkin POG, I have it easy. Grunts have it much, much worse.

The problem is an E-4 in the Marine Corps and an E-4 in the Air Force get paid the same. That's why we have benefits and bonuses (especially bonus pay for deployments) - to even the playing field and compensate people fairly for their work. When you pull those bonuses (and this has already been happening over the past year and a half), you lose a lot of valuable people from your mission critical MOS's.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
The problem is an E-4 in the Marine Corps and an E-4 in the Air Force get paid the same. That's why we have benefits and bonuses (especially bonus pay for deployments) - to even the playing field and compensate people fairly for their work. When you pull those bonuses (and this has already been happening over the past year and a half), you lose a lot of valuable people from your mission critical MOS's.

Yeah, it's really odd that across all branches and jobs, everyone gets paid the same. I know a guy who only works three days a week and he's got a rediculously easy job (although it's not his permanant job), and he gets paid the same as I do and I'm working twice as much. And my job isn't even that bad. Compare it to someone who is deployed, working 12-16 hour days in the desert, and that's just rediculous.
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Fusiachi
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The pay scales are public knowledge. There's not really a whole lot of room to complain about inadequate pay levels. We all knew what we were in for when we signed up.

Still, if any cuts are made, many Soldiers may have difficulties making ends meet. It's time (overdue!) to see that everyone gets some legitimate financial counseling. Make the resources available to your subordinates or battle buddies.

The military is going to shrink, unless we find ourselves in another major conflict. We'll deal with it. No need to panic.

We're saving millions by ditching the berets, for what it's worth.

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Dogbreath
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The base pay isn't really a problem, it's more of retention of experienced personnel. There's something we call "Staff NCO syndrome." At the end of a 5 year enlistment (our enlistment is a year longer than most), most Marines are are senior Corporals or junior Sergeants. (E-4s/E-5s) The really intelligent and talented ones have been noticed by the various government agencies and the contractors we work with, and usually get jobs lined up a year before they end their contract. It's only the near incompetent and lazy ones (and a few who just really love the military) who don't have any better options outside the Marines, and they're the ones who reenlist and pick up staff.

The military doesn't really want to retain garbage NCOs, but because everyone who's actually SNCO or Warrant Officer material is getting out, and because they no longer have the ability to negotiate large bonuses and extra benefits, they're forced to make due. Eventually you end up with senior leadership that's often worse than useless. It's a sad fact that you often have to work around a Gunny or First Sergeant than work for him, and it's only going to get worse.

If you want to shrink the military, then do it the right way - push all your extraneous personnel into in the reserves (give them some extra counseling and hook them up with a good college to keep them happy) and deny them reenlistment, and make a dedicated effort to keep the best of the best around. In the long run you'll still save money, but you'll do it with a smaller, stronger military instead of a smaller military made of desperate people with nowhere else to go.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Completely unrelated story...I tried to join the Navy at age 17. My parents were talking about splitting up at the time. The Navy wanted to send me to "nuke school" where you get something like 3 BAs in 4 years, and end up working on nuclear reactors, but I didn't meet the height weight requirement (had to loose 50lbs or so)...my parrents stayed together and I lost 20, not 50...so no joiny for Stoney.

Fast forward five years and I'm living in Bakersfield CA (a good place to stop and empty your ash tray) after my parents did split up. I go to join the marines. I ask if my martial arts and sharp shooting skills would get me any extra rank, and they say no. Which is fine. But this rubbed me the wrong way...they said I could get extra rank, by getting a buddy to enlist as well. No thanks I said.

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Jeff C.
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Lol yeah I remember that, Stone Wolf. Well, I remember hearing about how the Army and Marines will give you rank for getting a buddy in. My two friends actually did this and one ended up going in as an E-3. I don't think they do this anymore, but it's still kinda weird when you think about it.
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Dogbreath
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Um, that's more of a recruiting gimmick from back when they were trying to grow the Marine Corps 30,000 troops in the middle of the war... now they're actually trying to cut back about 25,000, I'm surprised they still have it.

How it works is, if you successfully get 2 buddies to enlist and go to boot camp (they have to make it there, they can't just drop out of MEPS or something), that recruiting station contacts the CO of wherever you're stationed and recommends you for promotion. Whether that CO actually promotes you is another deal entirely... I can say right now if you're having weight issues then you'll remain an E-2 until you get in better shape. Unlike the Navy, the Marine Corps is pretty strict about it's weight standard. I have a buddy who's been a PFC for almost 2 years because he can't get off BCP.

It's just something recruiters tell you to try and get more recruits, don't let it phase you. I picked up Lance meritoriously in A school. (I was top of my class)

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Stone_Wolf_
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Sorry for the confusion Dogbreath...that was over 9 years ago...my life took a different path...I have a family now and my wife would kill me in my sleep if I tried joining, especially the Marines, and I really could not spend 6+ months away from my children (my son is 20 months, my daughter is 5 months).
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Geraine
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I really believe you men and women in the military deserve better.

$32k a year is nothing. Most school teachers start at the same level, if not more. (At least here in Las Vegas) This isn't a jab at teachers, I just think that someone that puts their life in danger and on hold deserves to be taken care of.

I really hate how we are willing to cut benefits for people that are contributing to the success and safety of this country, yet we can't talk about cutting entitlement programs. What a strange time we live in.

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Dogbreath
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Stone Wolf: Oh, that makes sense then. I thought you had this experience recently.

Compare our base pay with other nations of similar standard of living...

My current base pay is US $24,170.40/year.

A Corporal in the Royal Marines makes an annual base pay of £26,315 – £31,645/year. That's US $42,577.67 - $51,201.61 a year. (http://www.hmforces.co.uk/content/Royal_Marines_Pay_Rates)

A Corporal in the Australian Army with 2 years experience makes an anual base pay of $49,555. That's US $52,270.61/year. (http://content.defencejobs.gov.au/pdf/triservice/DFT_Document_PayRates.pdf)

A Corporal in the Canadian Army makes an annual base pay of $53,712.00. That's US $54,920.26/year. (http://content.defencejobs.gov.au/pdf/triservice/DFT_Document_PayRates.pdf)

Yes, I make about half of what everyone of equivilent rank in our allies' militaries do. And, not to bash the Canadian Army, but I feel my job is often more strenuous than theirs is. Yet many Americans (including some on this forum) still think I'm overpaid.

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