While thousands of Americans working on these major programs through contracts will continue to have work, it is a different story for military personnel. Half of all defense spending goes to pay and benefits, which have risen 40 percent more than the private sector since the "war on terror" began in 2001.
Active duty military personnel levels will be reduced 13 percent, with the biggest cuts to the Army, losing at least 70,000 soldiers. Other changes are already under way. For example, newly commissioned Marine officers are having to wait months without pay before beginning at The Basic School in Quantico, Va.
As for salaries, the Pentagon is still proposing a raise for troops next fiscal year, but a small one, only one percent, while pay will be frozen for top military brass. Base commissaries, which currently receive $1.4 billion in government subsidies to keep prices low, will lose $1 billion of that. Housing allowances, which have been 100 percent, will be reduced to 95 percent.
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And while there are no hard figures on how much active duty and retired personnel will have to pay for health care deductibles and co-pays, "We will ask retirees and some active-duty family members to pay a little more," Hagel said.
Exempt from this will be those retired due to medical reasons, along with their families, as well as survivors of those killed on active duty. Current retirement benefits, generally considered very generous, are not being changed for now.