Ten Things to Know About Military Compensation

On Friday, Lawrence Korb, Alex Rothman, and Max Hoffman of the Center for American Progress wrote "The Top 10 Things to Know About Military Compensation," which provides context for compensation within the defense budget and how reforms can be done in minimally harmful ways.

The ten things are:

Public Indicates Support for Defense Cuts

At Wonkblog, Suzy Khimm points to a study done by the Stimson Center that polled Americans about how large the defense budget should be.

How Is the House Replacing the Sequester?

Update: CBO has posted scores for the Energy and Commerce and Oversight bills. They would save $113 billion and $83.3 billion, respectively, over ten years.

Setting the Record Straight...on War Spending

The Simpson-Bowles alternative budget resolution put forward this week by Representatives Cooper, LaTourette, Schrader, Bass, Quigley, Dold and Costa has come under fire for a number of reasons, but one of the seemingly more confusing points is what it does to war spending.

The House Republican Approach to the Sequester

One of the more complicated aspects of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget is what he does with the sequester that will take effect on January 2, 2013 due to the failure of the Super Committee. From 2013-2021, the sequester is scheduled to reduce the deficit by $984 billion, with $66 billion coming in 2013. The sequester essentially has three parts: cuts to defense spending, cuts to non-defense spending, and cuts to mandatory programs, including Medicare (limited to two percent).

The War Gimmick Simplified

With CBO recently having scored President Obama's 2013 Budget Request, included within the total score is a score of a policy known as capping Overseas Contingency Spending. While this is a good policy, this policy, when coupled with counting it is deficit reducing or using it to offset other spending, which President Obama, like many others before him, have done, is quite simply a gimmick.

Military Retirement Needs Reform

Military pensions for high-ranking officers are going up significantly, according to a USA Today article. Due to a change in the Defense Authorization Act of 2007 that was intended to dispel concerns about losing too much of the top brass during wartime, pensions increased by as much as 63 percent for some officers.

Panetta Presents New Defense Budget

Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta fleshed out the widely-anticipated FY 2013 defense budget. The budget showed to some extent how the Obama Administration plans on meeting the defense reductions that are necessary because of the discretionary spending caps in the Budget Control Act.

While Panetta's briefing was not as detailed as next month's budget, it included more details than we had heard in previous speeches and laid down the topline defense numbers the Administration will propose over the next five years.

A Gimmick on the Rise

Update: The American College of Physicians has also called for eliminating the SGR and the sequester and partially paying for them with war savings. To their credit, though, they propose a number of other scoreable savings options like having uniform cost-sharing for Parts A and B of Medicare, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, accelerating the health insurance excise tax or limiting the health exclusion, and enacting tort reform.

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