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Review Upgrades Personnel Status; Budget Confirms It

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2010 – The Fiscal 2011 Defense Budget Request and the Quadrennial Defense Review look at personnel as a strategic asset, the Joint Staff’s director for force structure, resources and assessments said today. Video

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The Defense Department's Director of Force Structure Navy Vice Adm. Steve Stanley and Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller Robert Hale conduct a press conference to provide an overview of the fiscal year 2011 defense budget request and the fiscal year 2010 supplemental war funding request at the Pentagon, Feb. 1, 2010. DoD photo by Cherie Cullen

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Navy Vice Adm. Stephen Stanley spoke during a Pentagon news conference explaining both documents.

For the first time, the Quadrennial Defense Review – a congressionally mandated look at the strategic situation facing the Defense Department – treated personnel as a strategic asset. The 2011 budget request put money behind that contention.

“Our personnel programs are literally the foundation upon which all capabilities are built,” Stanley said. “Without strong personnel, personnel that aren’t distracted by family problems, child care concerns, medical concerns, our capabilities are lacking. So this budget reflects that idea.”

Preserving and enhancing the all-volunteer force is a priority of the review. “For too long, the health of the all-volunteer forces, the civilian workforce that supports it and the processes by which the department provides needed equipment and platforms have been underemphasized priorities,” according to the review’s executive summary.

The review discusses the problems the force has experienced in fighting America’s wars – repeated deployments, family separation, psychological trauma and so on.

“We recognize that they’re a strategic asset to our nation; also that it’s an enduring commitment,” Stanley said. “And it’s not just an enduring commitment to our men and women in uniform today, it’s a commitment to our wounded warriors, our fallen heroes and their families, and the families of our men and women in uniform.”

The budget calls for a 1.4 percent pay raise -- equal to the full Employment Cost Index -- for both military members and civilians. The budget also calls for commensurate raises in the basic allowances for housing and subsistence.

Health care also is fully funded. There has not been a raise in TriCare co-pays since 1995, but the department still is fully funding the program, but reserves the right to address the situation with Congress later, officials said. DoD’s Health Care Program covers 9.5 million eligible recipients.

Family support programs are a big winner in the budget with $8.1 billion. This includes funds for child support and youth programs, spouse employment, and commissaries. Also, the DoD Education Activity gets an increase along with a big plus up for school building projects.

“A number of our schools are very significantly in need of maintenance,” Stanley said. “This adds considerable funding to fund about half of them over this next five-year period. So it's a very important program for our families and children.”

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Related Articles:
Budget, Defense Reviews Focus on Current Wars
Review Aims to Rebalance Military for Today’s Wars

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