Stimson in the News

BFAD Matthew Leatherman moderated “Education in a Military Community” outside Ft. Bragg

in Program

BFAD adviser Matthew
Leatherman moderated an event titled “Education in a Military
Community” just outside the gates of Ft. Bragg on December 3rd. As
the Fayetteville Observer reported, “General Ray Odierno’s presence
loomed large at a forum at Cumberland County’s headquarters library Tuesday
although the Army Chief of Staff wasn’t there. The event was organized by
the Fayetteville Regional Chamber in response to an Odierno statement – that
the Army will consider the quality of schools around its installations as it
considers shifting and downsizing operations.” 

The event also was covered by the local ABC affiliate, CBS affiliate, and the local cable

The newpaper’s headline is exactly right. GEN Odierno is concerned about
the education that soldiers’ children receive in communities that host Army
installations, and he
has proposed including local education quality as a decision factor in the next
. GEN Odierno’s focus coincides with a RAND Corporation study
about closing domestic, on-base schools to save money, which would result in
students being transferred into the nearest civilian school districts. Stimson board member Barry Blechman, BFAD adviser Matthew Leatherman, and former
BFAD director Russell Rumbaugh wrote about this often-proposed compensation
efficiency in Managing the Military More Efficiently: Potential Savings
Separate from Strategy
. Their finding remain true today:

“U.S. military personnel make great sacrifices for our country, and the
United States has a sacred obligation to those in uniform who serve their
country. Their compensation must align with what they were promised… The
Tenth QRMC pointed out the unique challenges of optimizing non-cash compensation,
particularly that its ‘value is less easily understood.’ This reflected a much
more general economic principle, that individuals get more utility from
compensation that maximizes their choice (i.e., cash) than from compensation
that limits their choice (i.e., non-tradable in-kind compensation)… CBO
similarly examined an option in 2009 that would close the Domestic Dependent
Elementary and Secondary Schools system and replace it with an $8,600
per-student allowance, trimming $279 million over 10 years from the Pentagon
budget. The Tenth QRMC examined this issue as well and identified larger
savings by reducing an overlapping Department of Education program alongside
streamlining the Defense school system.”

Stay tuned to BFAD’s work for more insights on military spending
efficiencies like streamlining dependent education on domestic bases.

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