[THS] War's burdens borne by too few, Gates says
The Harder Stuff in news and commentary
ths at psalience.org
Fri Oct 1 12:12:54 CEST 2010
War's burdens borne by too few, Gates says
BY ANNE FLAHERTY Associated Press | Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010
12:00 am | No Comments Posted
DURHAM, N.C. Most Americans have grown too detached from the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan and see military service as 'something for other people to do," Defense
Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.
In a speech to about 1,200 faculty and students at Duke University, Gates said this
imposes a heavy burden on a small segment of society and has wildly driven up the
costs of maintaining an all-volunteer force.
Because fewer Americans see military service as their duty, troops today face
repeated combat tours and long separations from family. The 2.4 million people in
the armed forces represent less than 1 percent of the country's total population.
To attract and retain recruits, the Defense Department finds itself spending more
money, including large bonuses and education benefits. That spending has nearly
doubled since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, from $90 billion to $170 billion.
Compensating troops "is our sacred obligation," Gates told his audience. "But given
the enormous fiscal pressures facing the country," the nation must devise "an
equitable and sustainable system of military pay and benefits that reflects the realities
of this century."
Gates, who plans to retire next year, has been using speeches to outline what he
sees as the nation's toughest challenges.
This year, Gates asked whether troops were training for the right kinds of missions
and called into question the utility of D-Day-style amphibious landings. He has also
embarked on a cost-cutting initiative to prepare for what he says are leaner days
Posted in National on Thursday, September 30, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 9:40 pm. |
Tags: Robert Gates, Military, War,
More information about the THS