Editor, I am sending you some of my suggestions on how to cut military spending. For my qualifications on this subject, I spent 21 years in the U.S. Army, plus I was a military brat before that.
I joined the U.S. Army in 1962 as an RA volunteer when the Army had the draft and was just changing from the Brown Boot Army. I also volunteered for two and a half years of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. So, this also makes me a Vietnam veteran back when we believed in patriotism and not capitalism.
I also was in the military when the draft stopped and the capitalistic civilians took over the military, which is what has caused military spending to go up.
We need to go back to the military running its own military establishments. Here are my suggestions:
1. We need to go back to the military draft and do away with the all-volunteer military. This way, the government can cut military benefits that cost a lot of money.
The military would have more people to run a military post without having to hire all these overpaid civilians to do the jobs that once were the jobs of uniformed military people.
We need to draft all the people wanting to practice medicine in the United States. They should serve six years in the military medical corps before they can practice medicine as civilians. This way, we can do away with Medicare and Medicaid by using some of these military people to set up civil affairs medical clinics to give free medical care to those who need it. It would be like the civil affairs medical teams who set up clinics in the Vietnam villages to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people.
This would make the civilian-run medical system lower its prices and become more patriotic in meeting the needs of the people.
2. The U.S. military needs to stop hiring civilians and civilian contractors who are doing jobs that the uniformed active-duty military used to do, such as landscaping. I remember this was one of our extra duties.
We also pulled guard duty at the front gates. There were no contracted civilians guarding the front or back gates — this is what the military police did.
Your depot-type vehicle maintenance was performed by active-duty military mechanics, not contractors or hired Department of the Army civilian mechanics.
The active-duty military also had supply and service companies that ran direct-support and general-support maintenance and supply sections.
Additionally, the active-duty military ran the clothing-issue facility under the supply and service companies. But those companies were phased out with the coming of the all-volunteer military. During the draft era, uniformed military ran the clothing and sales stores, not AAFES.
And we don’t need beer machines in the barracks, which came in with the all-volunteer Army.
Most construction on post was done by the engineer units on post, like the 35th BT Engineers and the 93rd Construction Engineers. The military engineers made the Canadian Alaskan Highway, which is a main artery even today. Why should the U.S. government use high-priced civilians to rebuild the country’s infrastructures (bridges and roadways), when it could use the military people at a lower cost to do this work?
3. We need to do away with the civilian-run industrial complexes and let the uniformed military run the show. They are the ones in the field and would know what kind of weapons, equipment and technology are needed through a military-run research and development complex.
This way, the military would have what it needs and not what it doesn’t need, which would cut costs in military spending.
These are just some of the ideas I have on cutting military spending. We need to go back to the old ways of doing things and cut back on civilianizing the U.S. military, which is costing the U.S. government more money to run.
— Robert J. Wetmore