Robert Gates surrenders on military pay raise
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.
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| May 21, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener, Workplace Issues
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