Which Apple Costs More?

Gen. Craig McKinley, National Guard Bureau chief, said he’d like to see an independent study to determine once and for all the lifetime costs associated with maintaining a Guardsman compared to the long-term costs of an active duty airman or soldier. Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., earlier this month, McKinley reiterated the Guard’s position that Guard members cost taxpayers one-third of their active duty counterparts, especially when the Guardsmen are not mobilized. They also serve longer and retire later than active duty personnel, “and that retirement costs one-tenth of the active duty,” he told the audience. He acknowledged that those assertions are open to debate since, to his knowledge, there’s never been a comprehensive, “apples to apples” look at this to verify them. Accordingly, “I would like, cradle to grave, day from enlistment to the day we retire and our retirement piece to be looked at,” said McKinley. “I think what all of us would approve and want is to have a very thoughtful, forceful look done by RAND or another agency in town.” He spoke on Nov. 18. (CSIS webpage of event, including video)