WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — Proposed cuts to the Pentagon's budget have some Tennessee military veterans concerned.
Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed shrinking the Army, closing military bases and making other military-wide savings. It’s part of a broad reshaping of priorities following more than a decade of war.
Colonel Kent Crossley (retired), a member of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Military Officers of America, says he served through the deep cuts that the military suffered at the end of the conflict in Vietnam.
“We weren’t paying soldiers very much, I think it was $199 a month, and we weren’t getting a quality soldier. All but one of my platoon members was a category ‘4’ which means they didn’t complete high school.”
Crossley says that lack of education made them difficult to train and impacted readiness. He fears the same thing is about to happen again, and adds that the problem will be even worse this time around because today’s advanced weapons require highly-educated recruits.
“Will you be able to encourage them to join the Army when you have reduced pay and benefits? That’s going to be difficult and it’s going to affect the quality of our military.”
Secretary Hagel says the military needs to adjust to the reality of smaller budgets, even as he asserted that the United States faces a more volatile, more unpredictable world that requires a more nimble military.
President Obama is expected to submit his 2015 budget plan to Congress early next week.