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Commentary – Beyond budgeting to reform

The current topic on National Journal‘s online security blog is Secretary Gates’s latest round of defense budget cuts and changes, but seeing as how the cuts are relatively small and were telegraphed for some time, I took the question as an opportunity to say adjusting budgets either up or down is not as important as reforming, say, the military personnel system:

…we need a more flexible system that rewards officers who seek broadening experiences, not punish them. Plus, sending officers to civilian graduate schools on the military’s dime was a great incentive to stay in the service in the lean years after Vietnam; today, it could help keep some of our amazing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans – and their hard-won knowledge – in the ranks. Otherwise we’ll end up having paid a lot of money to recruit, train, and develop officers – and paid in blood for them getting combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq – only to pay them yet more to leave the service and collect retirement checks.

For the full post in context, go to the current discussion on the National Journal blog.

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