Joint Chiefs Unite for Pay, Compensation Reforms

The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously supported pay and compensation reforms included in the Fiscal 2015 budget, stressing serious fiscal impacts if Congress does not permit their passage. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, JCS Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said Pentagon leaders considered a wide range of proposals, but focused on four core areas: savings through slowing pay growth, slowing base allowance for housing payments, reducing commissary subsidies, and consolidating and reforming TRICARE plans. Savings from these changes would reach nearly $12 billion by the “mid-2020s,” but if rejected, DOD would have to find $2.1 billion in 2015 alone and some $31 billion over the five-year spending plan to pay for the shortfall. Dempsey said the military would wait until a congressionally appointed commission on compensation and retirement reform reports back in February 2015 to make changes to the military pension system, though he stressed that without changes savings would have to come from modernization and readiness accounts. Navy Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, the Vice CJCS, said the measures are an attempt to slow growth and “simplify a bewildering (health care) system” over time. (Joint Chiefs of Staff prepared testimony.)