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Military pay freeze? Some troops back the idea

WASHINGTON – None of the budget-cutting proposals circulating on Capitol Hill so far have included a military pay freeze similar to the civilian government worker freeze put in place by the White House last year. But at least one group of troops thinks that maybe they should.

In blog post on the Army’s Combined Armed Center site, some students from Fort Leavenworth’s Command and General Staff College said that any federal pay freeze should also apply to uniformed personnel, calling the exemption an emotional and political move that’s not in the country’s best interest.

“Uniformed military members receive several special pays – hostile fire pay, family separation pay, hardship duty pay-location, plus the benefit of their base pay being tax-free – when deployed to compensate them for the sacrifices they make,” Maj. Brian Chapuran wrote in a post on the topic last week.

“The DoD civilian employees serving alongside you in Afghanistan and Iraq won’t be getting an annual pay raise for the next 2 years. The entire country is sacrificing in the current economic situation and the uniformed military should not be exempt.”

Fellow students at CGSC were divided over the plan, with several offering support for the shared sacrifice but others commenting that military service is not comparable to civilian government work.

In November, a presidential commission on deficit reduction recommended freezing military pay and housing allowances for three years, saying the move could save nearly $10 billion in spending. But so far neither the White House nor lawmakers have embraced the idea, and several lawmakers have stated that they will not support cuts in military pay during a time of war.

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