By Lorra B.
We live in a country consumed with fears of potential war and the never-ending threat of ISIS on our own soil. Yet, the U.S. Army is looking to shed 40,000 soldiers from its ranks over the next two years, leaving many citizens and troops concerned that we will not only be ill equipped to fight wars effectively but that our troops moral may sink to all-new lows.
Diminishing resources have been blamed as a contributing factor in cutting active military down to 450,000 troops from 490.000 by the end of 2017. The upcoming cuts have military personnel not only anxious but also changing how they view the military.
$287 million was spent on programs with one goal in mind, improving the morale of the U.S. military. It seems the money spent boosting the soldiers moral may have been better spent finding ways to keep soldiers employed. According to USA Today, 52% of American troops “across all branches remain pessimistic about their future in the military.” What is even more interesting is that declining moral seems to be caused by financial stresses, both in pay grade and longevity of career.
According to a 2014 Military Times study “In 2009, 87 percent of active-duty troops who participated in Military Time’s survey rated their pay and allowances ‘good’ or ‘excellent. This year the figure was just 44 percent.”
Our military has gotten the smallest pay hike in 41 years at just 1%.
Now, adding to their already low moral, troops also worry about the longevity of their service, and with good cause. The Budget cuts being announced are cuts to the Army but many other military branches are worried as well.
“Thirty years ago, if you were a good airman and worked hard, you could serve for 20 years,” stated Air Force Chief Master Sergeant James Cody. “I’m not sure you can say the same today. [The budget] is curtailing the ability to serve.”
The budget planners at the Pentagon have grieved over the budget restraints saying they are “dangerous to national security, but over the last three years Congress has not found any realistic compromise to replace or dismiss the spending caps.”
The anxieties the budget cuts are creating in the ranks are surmountable. Military members have expressed concerns about career options, their pay and what it will mean for their readiness to fight. Army Sergeant Major Dan Daily stated, “We may have to tell good soldiers to go home.”
Our soldiers “should not have to deal with thinking about if they’re going to have enough resources to go ahead and do our mission,” stated Marine Corps Major Ronald Green.
Soldiers have tremendous burdens just trying to make the resources they have work for them in and off the field. The fear of being ‘laid off’ shouldn’t be another one of those burdens. Yet, it is, and for good reason. 40,000 of their jobs will be cut along with 17,000 civilian Army workers.
What does this all mean for the Untied States and her ability to fight a war and what does it mean to you?
These budget cuts, which will naturally bring about moral issues for our troops, were announced right after President Obama stated that the US would be stepping up its campaign in Syria and adding that it would be a long battle indeed! Yet, 40,000 troops will be cut.
This doesn’t make sense to me and it didn’t make sense to Alaskan Republican Senator Dan Sullivan either and he stated as much. There are valid concerns of Russian hostility in the Arctic and military assets are shifting to the Asia-Pacific. Budget cuts downsizing forces in Alaska “make no strategic sense,” said Sullivan.
If this war is going to be a long one, and most agree it will, why would cuts be made to our troops in the first place? You know, the ones actually protecting America.
Defense cuts are sparking real doubts with both our citizens and our troops. With moral on a seemingly ever-downward spin of late and upcoming military personnel ‘lay-offs’ many ponder whether America will be in a position to defend itself against war, and rightfully so.
According to the Heritage Foundation the US military, under the Obama Administration, is now only ‘marginally able’ to defend her because of how depleted the military has become. We have the lowest troop levels since World War II.
Cutting 40,000 troops to already depleted ranks is an error during time of war, and make no mistake, we are in a time of war. This cut is wrong for America and it is wrong for her citizens who should not have to live in fear whether they will be protected from outside, or inside threats.
By Lorra B.