Editorial: Military drones on...

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Protect those who protect us

The U.S. Department of Defense is in a financial bind. The cost of defending the United States is eclipsing the funds available to meet that obligation these days, which leaves the government looking for ways to scale back and streamline.
Costly developmental projects, new technology and retooling have been scaled back or eliminated in an effort to cut costs but in tight times this is not enough. That's why some in Washington are looking at pensions as a place to find savings. No one has said consideration is being given to altering the pensions of current retirees, but even altering the retirement options for current or future service members is a dangerous, disrespectful consideration.
In recent years we have learned to rely more on smart bombs and unmanned arial vehicles. The pentagon recently successfully tested a new remote control convoy system, but no matter what kind of technology we employ, wars will be fought and won with the men and women willing to accept the challenges of combat.
One predominant theory in business is, your company is only as good as the people you employ. That sentiment is more true in the military than in the business world. It is partly about being all those things that make a good employee, but even more so about being dedicated, loyal and unwavering in the face of challenges most of us never deal with. How are we to expect our service men and women to be unwavering in their dedication to this country if it is not unwavering in its dedication to them?
On its website, the U.S. House Budget Committee referenced the dilemma by saying, “current levels of military compensation are incompatible with the overall demands of the defense budget.”
Perhaps that means the overall demands of the defense budget are misaligned and need to be reconsidered. There is no denying that paying for the world's strongest military is a challenge – we outspend the other nation's in the top 10 combined by $66 billion annually – but shortchanging the individuals who risk their lives is not the answer.
Ask any veteran – especially a retiree – what they consider to be the greatest financial benefit for veterans and they will say the retirement. Is it costly? Yes. Have they earned it by spending 20 years of their life willing to sacrifice it for all of us? Yes.