By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2014 – The Defense Department must slow compensation and benefits growth to balance military lifestyle with readiness and modernization, DOD’s top personnel specialist testified on Capitol Hill yesterday.
Jessica L. Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee that DOD’s vision for balance is reflected in its recommendations for pay and benefits in the department’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.
Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel; Lt. Gen. Samuel D. Cox, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services; Navy Vice Adm. William F. Moran, chief of naval personnel and deputy chief of naval operations, manpower, personnel, training and education; and Sheryl E. Murray, the Marine Corps’ assistant deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, also testified at the hearing.
Service members’ lifestyles are good, Wright said, and the budget proposal seeks to slow the rate of growth in compensation.
“And that's why we're asking for a 1 percent [military pay raise], as opposed to a higher percentage, so we can slow that growth of a military member's pay, and also be able to bolster their readiness and bolster [the] force and bolster their modernization,” she added.
“Our going-in proposition is to provide benefits to the service member and the family, but also to keep them trained and well-equipped so they can do their jobs,” she said.
Paraphrasing Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Wright said, “Instead of doing a Band-Aid approach … we wanted to go in with a holistic package [for] what we would like to do for compensation and benefits, so we can take that balance and use it for readiness.”