The Pentagon is pushing hard to raise Tricare fees for retirees under 65—and Congress is pushing back. Lawmakers have called for an independent review, while legislation in both House and Senate would scale back Pentagon plans. At least one former defense official says the current Pentagon crowd had the wrong idea. Dov Zakheim, the DOD comptroller from 2001 to 2004, tells Air Force Magazine Contributing Editor Tom Philpott that the Pentagon plan offers the wrong solution to a very real problem. Zakheim offered his oft-repeated suggestion that the DOD budget is no place to fund military health care. He advocates moving it out of the Pentagon’s mainstream budget, where it competes with operations and maintenance funding, and making it an entitlement.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.