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Rob Mellon says he's opposed to cutting military pay
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Monday for shrinking the U.S. Army to its smallest size in decades, along with other cuts, drawing criticism that the drastic changes will hurt U.S. security.
Hagel announced his Pentagon budget priorities Monday afternoon. The Army had already been preparing to shrink to 490,000 active-duty members from a wartime peak of 570,000. Hagel is proposing to cut it further to between 440,000 and 450,000.
That would make it the smallest since just before the U.S. entered World War II.
"We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power, and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States," Hagel said at a press conference at the Pentagon.
Democractic Congressional candidate Rob Mellon of Quincy said he opposed pay cuts. He is running in the March primary for the chance to take on Republican Aaron Schock in November.
"The United States spends more on defense than any other nation in the world and cutting defense is necessary for fiscal responsibility, but it is vital that American military strength is maintained for protection and global security," Mellon said in a news release. "We must also protect our service members and veterans who have made tremendous sacrifices."
Mellon said he would be open to reduction in defense spending and curtailing deployments, but would not support any measure "which would place heavier burdens on military families or weaken America’s position of strength in the world. Part of the Hagel plan calls for capping military pay for a few years."
Mellon said he supports short term caps on higher ranking officers, but would not support any reduction or capping pay below the cost of living adjustment for lower enlisted personnel.
"Cutting the pay and benefits of the lower enlisted is not acceptable," he said. "Personnel cuts must be factored into any defense budget, but we cannot increase the burden on military families. That is something I will never support."
Mellon said he is also in opposition to reductions in housing allowances, commissary funding, or military pay.