Whileconducting an inquiry on this issue, one of the sources used is aresearch working paper from theHarvard Kennedy School,written by Linda Bilmes. This paper evaluates the financial legacy ofthe wartime fiscal spending and its impact on the national securitybudget. This source was useful in the inquiry process since theassessment of the defense budget not only covers the militarypersonnel benefits, but it also considers the compensations providedto veterans. The other source used in the paper is an article byDaniel Drezner, which evaluates the U.S. military primacy, and thebenefits associated with it. This article also conducts an analysisof the U.S. military fiscal policy and its relation to the supremacyof the forces, and this is the reason for its selection in theinquiry process.
Militarypersonnel receive different salaries depending upon their ranks andtasks assigned to them. It is apparent that military service memberssacrifice much of their effort and time to serve the country,especially during overseas deployments. Besides, their occupation ismore dangerous compared to most other civilian jobs in the country,and this shows that they often risk their lives while protecting ournation. However, the involvement of the U.S. in external conflictssuch as those that occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq incurred massivecosts to the government including the provision of lifetime medicalcare (Bilmes 1). The opinion by Bilmes appears to suggest that thegovernment should not pay military personnel more considering thatthe defense budget is already high. One can, however, still questionthe validity of that viewpoint.
Thelargest liabilities accrued in military expenditure include theprovision of disability benefits and medical care to war veterans(Bilmes 2). Although these factors increase the military spendingsignificantly, the government has to cover the costs considering thatveterans provided exceptional service to the nation. Individuals thatpropose an increase in the size of the military have the opinion thatthe safety in most regions of the world is the result of U.S.military’s engagement in war hotspots (Drezner 52). It would bedifficult to maintain the peace in some regions when the governmentslashes the military expenditure, especially the compensationpackages.
Thepredominance of the U.S. military dictates the engagement of theforces with other parts of the world. The government is, therefore,responsible for ensuring that it provides the appropriate benefits tomilitary personnel. However, fiscal conservatives argue that thedefense budget should reduce since one cannot compare the U.S.military power to that of other countries (Drezner 56). Slashing themilitary budgets might not be a solution since this would imply thatthe country would expose itself to external threats. The forces wouldfind it difficult to find people who are willing to enlist if thesalary is not sufficient. Nevertheless, increasing the wages of themilitary personnel might be a blow to the country’s economy.
Thesalaries provided to military personnel constitute a portion of thedefense budget, considering that other funds go into financing thewars, veterans’ compensation, and acquisition of equipment. Thecost of military health care, as well as the pay and allowances,constitute a third of the defense budget (Bilmes 9). Some of thebenefits that the personnel receive include a health coverage thatalso incorporates their family members. Although the militarypersonnel have the right to receive such benefits due to the servicethey offer to the nation, the compensations place them in a betterposition than most civilians.
Payingthe military personnel more than their current salaries means thatthe government has to allocate more funds to the defense budget orreduce the number of officers that serve in the forces. These twooptions are the only ones that the government has to contend with toprevent going into a debt crisis. A state can only develop itseconomy when it defends its borders well (Drezner 60). The retentionof the military in the war hotspots, therefore, not only promotesregional peace, but it is also beneficial to the nation’s economy.War operations require a significant amount of funding, and thegovernment has to borrow money when a lot of funds are required. Forinstance, the national debt increased by $2 trillion because of thewar in the Middle East (Bilmes 3). If the military has to maintainthe same number of personnel, the salaries would remain the same.
Onemight evaluate the issue of military salaries from a different angleby pointing out that the officers and those in the enlisted rankshave more responsibilities compared to civilian workers. However, themorality of paying military personnel more than their currentsalaries should not disregard economic factors. The benefits that thearmy personnel receive are also sufficient to cover for their medicalneeds, as well as to support their families. Although the armyofficers have the right to receive benefits due to the service theyoffer to the nation, the compensations place them in a betterposition than most civilians.Besides, increasing the wages of themilitary personnel might be a blow to the country’s economy.
Drezner,Daniel W. "Military Primacy Doesn`t Pay (Nearly As Much As YouThink)." InternationalSecurity38.1 (2013): 52-79.
Bilmes,Linda. "The Financial Legacy of Iraq And Afghanistan: HowWartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National SecurityBudgets." Harvard Kennedy School, (2013). Web. Accessed 13 Sept.2016.