Retired Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro gets a lot of hate mail, because he's talking about something a whole lot of people don't want to hear about: the rising costs of military health and pension benefits.Read the full story at NPR.
"We in the Department of Defense are on the same path that General Motors found itself on," he says.
Punaro, a former Marine, is a member of the Defense Business Board, a group that advises the Pentagon on its financial operations.
"General Motors did not start out to be a health care company that occasionally built an automobile," he says. "Today, we're on the path in the Department of Defense to turn it into a benefits company that may occasionally kill a terrorist."
And Punaro is not alone. Secretary Gates sees the problem, too. He flagged it in March, during testimony to a congressional budget panel.
"The Defense Department runs the risk of the fate of other corporate and government bureaucracies that were ultimately crippled by personnel costs," he said, "in particular, their retiree benefit packages."
Here's what Gates was talking about: In the past decade, military health care costs more than doubled. They account for $52.5 billion in next year's proposed budget. Retirees' pay represents another $50 billion or so a year.
This article available online at: