Rebalancing Military Compensation

Pentagon leaders need to change their mindset when it comes to rebalancing military compensation, said Todd Harrison, senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Security and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C. Speaking at an American Enterprise Institute panel discussion on March 21, Harrison said Defense Department officials should be asking, “How do we get better value?” and not, “What do we cut?” He argued that there is a way to rebalance military compensation and have the Pentagon save money and end up with a better compensation package that military members would prefer. “That could mean adding some things where you’re getting good value while also cutting things where you’re not getting good value,” he said. Unfortunately, the issue of compensation and benefits “has become such a third-rail issue [that] no one even wants to discuss a rational approach to it,” said Harrison. However, “private sector companies do this all the time. They measure how employees value different forms of compensation,” he continued. DOD “should shift” money into areas that military members “do value,” he said. (AEI webpage of event with video link)