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Robert Gates surrenders on military pay raise

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen signaled Thursday that he won't let a pay raise for military service members derail this year's Defense Authorization Bill.

But Gates said he will "strongly recommend" that President Obama veto the Pentagon budget if it includes an extra engine for the Joint Strike Fighter program and additional C-17 aircraft.

"I believe the defense budget process should no longer be characterized by business as usual within this building or outside of it," Gates said at a press conference, adding later that "We will strongly resist efforts to impose programs and changes on the department that the military does not want, cannot afford, and that takes dollars from programs and endeavors the military services do need."

Asked later if he would recommend a veto if the bill includes a pay raise higher than requested, Gates said, "No. ... I want change, but I'm not crazy." A House panel last week approved a 1.9 percent pay bump for service members, 0.5 percent higher than requested by Obama.

Mullen said that while officials are concerned about compensation for troops, the raise equals another $5.2 billion over the next ten years "that's going to have to come from somewhere," he said.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to step down -- and David Ignatius says he had an impossible job. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton vows that North Korea's attack on a South Korean sub won't go "unanswered." Thad Allen will continue as the oil spill's national incident commander after he retires from the Coast Guard later this month. Defense Secretary Robert Gates concedes fight for lower pay raise.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Troops to weigh in on ‘don’t ask’ policy: The panel’s first priority is to gather the views of troops of all ranks, including officer and enlisted personnel, young and old, married and unmarried, and those serving in different types of units, from combat to medicine.

EPA:
EPA tells BP to find less-toxic dispersant: The agency has given BP until today to find an alternative to Corexit and 72 hours to stop using it.

FBI:
3 FBI probes looked at '80s leaks to columnist Robert Novak: Previously secret files reveal that the bureau pursued Novak's sources after reading columns Novak and his writing partner, Rowland Evans, published in The Washington Post in 1983 and 1987.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Latin American counternarcotics contractors lack accountability: A key lawmaker questioned Thursday whether the U.S. government is adequately overseeing the roughly $1 billion it pays contractors to help governments in Latin America combat production and trafficking of illegal drugs.

Fixing balance of workers and contractors isn't a matter of math: The mix of government work done by federal employees and that done by outside contractors is out of balance, but the right balance doesn't simply mean having those employees do more of the contractors' work, the Obama administration told Congress Thursday.

IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:
Mother of student who questioned Michelle Obama will not face action: An agency spokesman says its investigations "are based on solid law enforcement work and not classroom Q and As.”

NIH:
NIH proposes new funding rules to prevent conflicts of interest: The move, which will affect more than 40,000 researchers, comes amid rising concern about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and other private-sector interests on scientific research.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Next: Dennis Blair's resignation letter

Comments

Maybe someone could ask the Secdef why I can't have a copy of my transfer of function letter and a copy of DD 1618 I have to sign in next 2 weeks if I want to keep my job in OSD. I can't get a straight answer out of admin officer or reference to any instruction, reg etc.
I want to run these documents by my attorney. Also we are not being offered HAP.

Mr Davidson or Mr Keefe you really need to look into this mistreatment of DOD civilians.

Posted by: lotusxidriver | May 21, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Not since Washington led a ragtag army of farmers to defeat the British have US Soldiers, or their families, been asked their opinion about any DOD policy change. Why is it, when the issue is equality for gay and lesbian Americans, whether it be marriage or service in the military, that everyone feels the need to comment or vote upon it? Do I comment on your ability to serve in the armed forces? Do I vote on the validity of your marriage?

Why are Americans so obsessed with gays and lesbians that every time an issue arises, we have to ask the least intelligent people in the world their opinion about it?

I don't give a damn what the rank and file think about DADT repeal, and I especially do not care what their families think. Shall we also poll them about the strategy in Afghanistan? Let's poll them about the DOD budget, or whether or not they need to get up for a five mile march in the AM. Perhaps we can ask them their opinion about army rations, or whether they agree with the deployment of the latest Defense Missile System.

What a joke this whole issue has become, and what a bunch of clowns at DOD. Gay and lesbian soldiers already serve, and I hate to tell you, but their units already know who the gays are, and they don't care. They care whether or not that man or woman is going to keep them from getting killed.

Let's end this ridiculous charade and pass DADT repeal today.

Posted by: gilbert6 | May 21, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The procurements Congress is pressing for represent a form of "pork" and would only benefit a few districts........at the expense of tax dollars paid by people in other districts! Wake up Congress or start packing your bags!

Posted by: Eddo1 | May 21, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Pay raises for the d@mn military? Gimme a break!

The rest of America is getting layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts. What's so special about our bloated military that they need ANY pay increases?

No, it's time for HUGE cuts in our military programs, combining all the services into one (very inefficient to have the Navy, Marines separate), and getting rid of the maze of middle managers in the Pentagon.

Cut military spending now!!

Posted by: JC505 | May 21, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Of course, Mr. Gates must buckle. We now have a military-dependent economy. I wonder how many Tea Party sorts would complain about govt spending when it comes to military pay?

Posted by: Towards_Light | May 21, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Pay raises for the d@mn military? Gimme a break!

The rest of America is getting layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts. What's so special about our bloated military that they need ANY pay increases?

No, it's time for HUGE cuts in our military programs, combining all the services into one (very inefficient to have the Navy, Marines separate), and getting rid of the maze of middle managers in the Pentagon.

Cut military spending now!!

Posted by: JC505 | May 21, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse
******

Why don't you join up and go fight in Afganastan and find out.

Posted by: eaglechik | May 21, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Response to CJ505 - you are an idiot. Just who do you think puts their lives on the line to protect your freedom of speach and your butt when needed. "The Military" that you are critizing. The men and women of the military deserve every single penny they make for the sacrifices they make. It is pretty obvious you must not have any family members in the armed forces or you wouldn't be trashing them. You are boohooing them a 1.9 payraise? Check and see what kind of payraise the congress and senate gave themselves lately. You can be sure it was a he@@ of lot be more than that.

Posted by: confusedwithgovernment | May 21, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The Pentagon budget always seem to just sail through Congress with nary a whimper from the teabaggers...

Posted by: demtse | May 21, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful. Gates is worried about 5.2 B, when BO has already sunk us, for 500B, with this ridiculous HC program. And that is over a 10 year period. Why, since we basically don't have any money to support and supplement these programs anyway, does it really make any difference. When BO is out, in 2012, hopefully we can elect SOMEONE, who at least has a brain, and some common sense.

Posted by: Intrepid68or | May 21, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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