I am a Navy veteran, 1993-1998. I got out in part because the pay and benefits weren’t up to par, and they’ve not improved much, this is true.
We need to radically rethink pay, retirement, medical care and educaton benefits for our service members. The systems we have in place now don’t work. They haven’t worked in a long time, and they now have gone past merely not contributing to the fighting force and is now hindering it.
If you think it is the job of the Defense Department to run a store, you are sadly mistaken. The job of the Defense Department is…
wait, let me look it up in my Britannica here…
…oh, right. Defense.
Why in the world, with all the DoD has to do, must it be a fucking greengrocer on top of everything else?
How about we try a novel, two-pronged approach when it comes to the sacred military exchanges and commissaries.
Boost military pay, and have members buy their groceries at Safeway (which many mmbers use anyway, commissary quality being notoriously variable), and contract out retail operations in remote locations.
Bingo, problem solved, and probably at a cost savings.
The same goes for retirement, which right now only goes to a service member who sticks it out for twenty years or more, which most don’t do. Why can’t members make 401(k) contributions during their length of service, whatever that is?
I’m not happy about the way service members are treated, but this disregard for their well being is long standing, and predates Bush-Rumsfeld by about forty years or more. Let’s get serious about their well being, and maybe talented sailors like me will stay in.