Edmonds Military Wire: Defense cuts could help veterans’ benefits

By Michael Schindler

Welcome to the 21st century. No question this time in history will be viewed much like the Great Depression — high employment, increasing homelessness, economic instability; there is a lot of “belt-tightening” and not just at our home fronts. The Department of Defense has been instructed to tighten its belt as well –- the result could be a benefit to veterans, though.

The Pentagon was told to reduce its 10-year budget by another $25 billion to protect Veterans Adminstration health care from spending cuts. Sources from the White House reported that the move was done in an effort to protect VA medical funding from huge cuts in the future.

The Budget Control Act is the source of tension between defense spending and veterans’ benefits. The act caps spending for the Defense Department, State Department, Veterans Administration and Department of Homeland Security. Overall, the cumulative cuts of all spending under the Budget Control Act could be over $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Wow. A $1 trillion cut will certainly be felt…I knew my family was feeling the effects of the economy when we downgraded our cheese from Tillamook to Kroger brand.

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.


  1. Imagine….if instead of waging war these last 10 years, we had invested that money in research for renewal energy. We would have employed American, possibly avoided this recession, and become a nation that creates again.

  2. Defense operations successfully destroyed the Al Qaeda network, but from my experience, which is lengthy, that was a very, very small part of operations over the past 10 years. The gluttony of defense acquisition and over-deployed troops is sickening, and must be stopped. We spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined, though this does not bring us increased security.

    As said in an earlier post: we must get out of Afghanistan immediately, conduct a major force drawdown, eliminate overpaid contractor support to auxiliary functions better done by uniformed personnel ($200k/yr security guards… really?), and bring benefits in line with budget realities. And we must restrain political hacks who use the military to make themselves look like they have a backbone. The Powell-Weinberger doctrine has already been forgotten.

    WIth a much, much smaller force, we can continue to take care of our people. If we pretend we still need nearly a MILLION people in uniform, pay and benefits will simply be too costly. We can’t have it both ways. I vote for taking care of the people, and reducing our unnecessary adventures overseas to enable us to draw down the force rapidly.

    As for Priya’s comment, though I am a devout fan of renewable energy – imagine if we’d simply not spent this money, as we didn’t have it in the first place! That would be a few trillion less that we’d owe China right now.

  3. Mr. Fleck is incorrect. The World Trade Center was attacked before when bombs were detonated in the basement. They just failed to have the desired effect.

    While it is desirable to have a smaller military, is it realistic? Al Qaeda is not gone. Now that Bin Laden is gone, the Al Qaeda radicals that are left are seeking revenge without any guidance. Our military is currently engaged in activities to stop terrorist activities overseas. This disrupts planning and operations intended to be sent here. We stop there and we’ll just have to start more intensely here. If you don’t think so, take a good look at NYPD and the anti-terrorist operations they have.

    While I would like to see less spending on the military, I believe it has to be done by better efficiency and control of current spending. I agree the so called “defense contractors” have found the golden goose and are stealing all the eggs.

  4. No – Mr Fleck is not incorrect. Read my post again – ‘before 9/11/01’ was referring to the basement attack.

  5. I watched on 60 minutes last sunday where we are spending 300 million dollars a day in Afghanistan Thats over a billion dollars every 3 and a half days just on one country. And you know whats funny about the whole thing we are still letting people into this country right and left, Way way too much money is being spent over there .

  6. One more thing This is are country not the politicians not the military leaders the people should have more of a say in where we are spending are money and thats ARE money.

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