Washington D.C. (April 10th, 2014) – The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Michael Barrett, has been making headlines recently in regards to his testimony to congress about potential cuts to Marines’ compensation. “I truly believe it will raise discipline,” he said. “You’ll have better spending habits. You won’t be so wasteful.” Due to the unpopularity of his testimony among the rank and file of the Marine Corps, the Sergeant Major has suggested in his most recent testimony that additional benefits be given to offset the suggested pay cut, similar to what a business in the private sector would do.
Barrett testified to congress, saying, “The Commandant and I think it would be entirely appropriate to give our Marines thirty days of paid time off (PTO) in exchange for a five percent pay cut to their total monthly compensation.” We reached out to the Marine Corps’ Public Affairs Officer for comment, who added that the command team feels that, in addition to Marines being allowed to roll their sleeves once again, this is just further proof that the command team is doing nothing but, “looking out for the boys.” We asked if the thirty days of PTO would be in addition to the already established thirty days of paid leave, but the response was short and to the point, “No, it would be one or the other.”
The debate about military compensation is not just limited to the Marine Corps though, as top Army Generals have also said a cut to pay will be necessary to maintain readiness. Soldiers and Marines alike have all been wondering why pay is being targeted when there are so many wasteful defense programs that could be given the axe instead. One Pentagon staffer gave us some insight on the matter, “How could we possibly find post-retirement jobs for the Generals and senior CSM’s if they aren’t ensuring that their future Fortune 500 employers are getting the lucrative defense contracts? I mean, no one ever got a decent kick back from raising troop pay – that’s just common sense.”
For now, it seems that service members will have to learn to adjust to the effects of the draw down. For the tried and true warfighter, it may not be an easy adjustment, but they will have to adapt or leave their profession for another. One Marine Corps Brigadier General addressing his Marine Expeditionary Unit said it best, “We are coming to the time where we have to tell you combat guys, you outside the box types, ‘thank you for your service, but now you have to go away.’”