DoD To Charge Admission Fee For Base Access To Fix Budget Shortfalls:
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..."