WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced a budgetary plan to cut Department of Defense spending and raise revenues Wednesday, which would include charging admission to access military installations.
“These proposals will cut wasteful programs,” said Hagel at the daily Pentagon briefing, “and raise valuable revenue to keep the U.S. military the best fighting force in the world.”
One of the most controversial elements is charging a daily admission fee of $10 for junior enlisted, $15 for NCOs, $20 for junior officers and Senior NCOs, and $25 for senior officers. Pentagon Office of Budgetary Analytical Logistics and Life Studies (BALLS) estimated the daily fees will raise $2.3 billion annually.
“We feel that military members should be grateful for their outstanding pay and benefits,” said Hagel, “and take that success and spread it around a little. In these times of tight budgets, our military members need to take ownership of their own programs to ensure our success.”
Critics of the plan include Former Vice President and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, who says it's unfair to have military members pay for admission to their own job, which sounds like a tax to just having a job.
Hagel and other officials maintain that the daily admission fee is not a tax but a fee similar to what the Department of Interior charges for admission to National Parks.
“We will use this money to maintain DoD programs ensuring weapons platforms are mission ready and capable to employ when needed," said Hagel. There were no comments on whether members deploying would have to pay daily admission fees for both their deployed and garrison units.
U.S. Navy reported this last week the USS Harry Truman and its support carrier group would not be able to deploy to the Persian Gulf due to budgetary cuts from Sequestration which take effect in March.
“First,” said Hagel, “we will make sure all furniture orders for leadership have been filled. No self respecting staff agencies can lead without leather chairs, big conference room tables, and 60 inch plasma screen TVs.
“Second, we will fully expand and fund DTS administration which in itself will save DoD $100,000 over 25 years.
“Then what is leftover will go to developing the new joint service uniform.”
When asked what spending cuts DoD will implement, Hagel said, “We have 9 programs that will be cut saving all departments a total of $78,430 in the first 5 years.”
Spending cuts include removing horse radish from all DoD dining facilities, reducing programming of the DoD channel to only 23 hours, and eliminating DoD stickers for vehicles entering installations.
“We had to make the tough decisions today on spending,” said Hagel, “to ensure only the best individuals want to serve their country honorably: the unselfish few who are willing to give more to their country.”
Other cost cutting and revenue raising policies include:
Expanding the installation admission fee to include foreign nationals who will pay $100 a day to visit offices and museums.
Copyrighting “FUBAR” in an attempt to collect back royalties from “Saving Private Ryan."
Implementing a sales tax on all military uniform sales at AAFES and NEX stores.