Part of the reason that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta fears that sequestration – the budget axe slated to chop another $500 billion or so out of the military over the coming decade if Congress can’t get its act together – is how each side is welded to its will-not-budge goals.
Of course, he was speaking of his former comrades on Capitol Hill, where Panetta served for nearly 20 years as a Democratic congressman from Monterey, California. But he might as well been talking about himself, and some of the powerful groups he’s taking on.
Panetta urged Congress not to reject “the modest changes we’ve proposed in TRICARE fees and copays for retirees,” referring to the Pentagon’s generous health-care plan for retirees (annual fee per family: $460, where they have remained since 1995). Battleland was thinking of that comment when he returned to his office following Panetta’s briefing and opened up an email from the National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS) declaring:
National Military Association President Calls on Congress to Stop the War on TRICARE
Says the message:
It’s an outrage to hear DoD tell military retirees that the costs for promised benefits are squeezing out available resources for our national defense,” said retired Marine Lieutenant General Jack Klimp, NAUS President and CEO. “NAUS is compelled to protect those who served to protect us,” Klimp said. “After a career of defending our citizens and our freedom, these brave men and women should not have to fight to keep the nation’s side of its obligation.
“Compelled to demagogue” would be more like, General Klimp.