Defense Budget Includes $94 Billion for Military Pay, Allowances
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2002 "Smart weapons are worthless unless they're in the hands of smart, well-trained, highly motivated soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told members of the House Armed Services Committee today.
"If we're to win the war on terror and prepare for tomorrow, we have to take care of our greatest assets, the people in the (defense) department," he said.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld testifies before the House Armed Service Committee Feb. 6, 2002.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Rumsfeld said the proposed fiscal 2003 defense budget request of $379 billion includes $94 billion for military pay and allowances. This would give service members a 4.1 percent across-the-board pay raise, and mid-grade service members would get another 300 million in targeted pay increases.
"We're competing with the private sector for the best young people in our country," Rumsfeld said. "We can't simply count on their patriotism and their willingness to sacrifice alone."
The proposed budget also includes $4.2 billion to improve military housing. This would put the department on track to eliminate most substandard housing by 2007, Rumsfeld said. This is three years sooner than originally forecast.
Money is also allocated to reduce out-of-pocket housing costs for service members living off base from 11.3 percent today down to 7.5 percent in 2003. This would put the department on the track to eliminate it by 2005, he said.
About $10 billion would go for education, training and recruitment, he said, "and a breathtaking $18.8 billion to cover realistic costs for military health care."
Anyone who visits America's troops "can't help but come away with just enormous confidence in their dedication, their patriotism, their confidence, the training they've had and the very high state of morale that they bring to the important work that they're doing," Rumsfeld told committee members.
"They put their lives at risk for our country, and we all are deeply appreciative and grateful to them," he said.