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Pentagon "aggressively" targeting military pay
Ongoing budget cuts could soon hit our military men and women in the form of smaller raises. The Pentagon's top financial officer, comptroller Robert Hale, says the Defense Department will "aggressively" go after military pay. The Pentagon is pushing to reduce raises next year from 1.8 to one percent as a way to cut costs. If that happens, it would be the lowest military pay increase in 50 years.
The Defense Department is being forced to make some tough choices because Congress still hasn't reached a deal to end sequestration, the program that requires ten years of steep budget cuts throughout the federal government.
The situation has many feeling discouraged.
Erica Parrish, a soldier in the National Guard, said, "A lot of people are gettin' out because of budget cuts."
Parrish is also an employee at Workforce Escarosa in Pensacola, where she helps veterans find jobs. She says she's been going to school in hopes of becoming an Army officer, but now she's having second thoughts.
"I feel like I should get out if they're gonna keep cuttin' our pay," Parrish said, "'Cause I'm in it for other reasons, too, not just to serve our country."
The House of Representatives passed a spending bill earlier this year that includes a 1.8 percent pay raise that would keep up with inflation. But President Obama has vowed to veto it.
Felix Correa, a veteran, said, "When they start implementing programs like this, you feel a little betrayed."
Correa also helps veterans at Workforce Escarosa. He served in the Navy from 1983 to 2006 as a cryptologic technician, cracking codes and doing computer work he says could have earned him a lot more money outside the military.
"I'm not saying pay me a million dollars, okay," Correa said, "But at the same token don't pay a person that don't risk their life on a daily basis more."
The Pentagon says force reductions are also being considered, with the Army likely to cut around 100,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps set to lose more than 40,000 troops.
Pentagon financial chief Robert Hale says he hopes these actions can be avoided, but he believes it would take a "political miracle" for Congress to reach a deal that would stop sequestration.