By Russell Rumbaugh – For the most adamant, personnel costs are about to eat the entire Department of Defense budget, reducing it to just a welfare agency and leaving the United States at the mercy of its enemies. Since the creation of the All-Volunteer Force, spending per servicemember has risen inexorably. The Department-as with the rest of the country-has watched its healthcare costs dramatically outpace inflation. Since the defense budget started expanding in the late 1990s, Congress has consistently heaped largesse on defense personnel. It repealed the retirement reform passed in the 1980s just before it kicked in, let former military members double dip by taking their military retirement pay while drawing a full civil service salary, allowed retirees to keep both their retirement and disabled pay, created the $10 billion-a-year TRICARE for Life Medicare supplement, and expanded eligibility for both healthcare and retirement benefits.
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This op-ed first appeared in Breaking Defense on Dec. 13, 2013
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