What $1 Billion Dollars Buys

I woke up today to a link from a friend.  That USA Today link said:  U.S. Pledges $1 Billion in Aid to Ukraine

The article went on to say that our leaders are considering economic sanctions on Russia, boycotting the Group of Eight summit (which, really is the political version of unfriending someone on Facebook), among other things.

As a military family, who has spent nearly every day since the beginning of December fighting for earned compensation and benefits, all I could see was…”well, there went our commissary subsidy.”

Now, I know that money comes from different buckets, and there is more to this than simply a cut to the military versus aid to Ukraine.  I get that.   But, it’s still hard to stomach because our (the military) benefits have literally been under attack from our OWN leaders for nearly three years now. 

And, on the heels of Secretary Hagel’s “recommendations” via the Pentagon, which specifically call for a $1 billion commissary subsidy cut, the irony was not lost on me.  I am also a bit stunned at how quickly our government seems to be able to move. 

When. They. Want. To. 


 

You want to talk about cutting the military, having rational discussions about what military families can truly live with and without, and you can’t find a leader to return your call.  Russia invades Ukraine (as was predicted years ago), and money flows like water overnight.  Money we clearly don’t have, and cannot afford to lose.

And $1 billion?  That buys a lot for the military.

  1. It pays for this commissary subsidy that Secretary Hagel has recommended be cut.  Dollar for dollar actually.
  2. It pays for 33, 333 E-5’s for a year.  And, as we face an Army being gutted, this number of troops is very significant when it comes time to answer the question “Are we ready for another war?”  More specifically, it reduces the number of troops General Odierno would have to ask to leave the Army by 1/3.  That gives us one more year of being more ready than we would be without those soldiers.  Oh, and that’s if every one of them had six years of experience TODAY. 
  3. It keeps Tricare copays and prescription costs where they are for families, at least long enough for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to present their findings next year. 

And, I get that Ukraine needs help and protection.  But, that brings me back to this:

We are not just a national defense.  We are an INTERnational police force for other nations.  We hear talk all the time about how we spend more than the next 27 nations combined on national defense.  To that, I say, “No kidding.  Why would they spend money on defense when all they have to do is call us?”   I’m not saying that’s wrong. 

I am saying we need to be very careful about the messages we are sending an American people and the military who serve them. 

Either way, $1 billion buys the military relief.  It buys us time.  Time and relief they desperately need. 

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