current version of the Defense Authorization bill that’s stuck in the
Senate contains more than one controversial provision. Despite
President Barack Obama’s pledge to freeze all federal pay, except for
military pay, many save the raise ? or even the 1.9 percent raise
the House is supporting ? is too small. “There’s no mystery
there. Dealing with military pay, benefits and health care is a
classic third rail of defense planning. It’s extraordinarily
difficult to do inside the Pentagon,” said Gordon Adams, a
Professor of Foreign Policy at American University. The president
himself spelled out his support of military pay raises during a
recent visit to troops. But are the troops themselves not as worried
about their pay as the politicians? There are clues, in of all
places, the defense Department’s survey about its anti-gay
“don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy. Only 15.6% of the 115,000 troops
who replied to the survey said “pay and allowances” was a reason
they joined the military. More than half ? 53% – said they joined
“to serve my country or defend the nation.” And 41% said they
joined because of “education benefits/GI bill.” Nearly 18% said
they joined the military “to see the world.” As you would expect,
veterans organizations are pushing for a larger raise.

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