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Congressional candidate opposes proposed defense cuts

Congressional candidate opposes proposed defense cuts

9 months ago by

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.

"Reorganizing the U.S. military and ending costly engagements are an important part of restoring fiscal responsibility, but the military has already been cut across the board through sequestration," Mellon said. "The current DOD projection is to cut the U.S. Army to 440,000 soldiers, which would be the smallest force since before WWII. The world is a very unpredictable and dangerous place. The United States is responsible for forwarding and protecting democracy, personal freedom and capitalism across the globe. I am not ready for the U.S. to relinquish that responsibility.”
 
Rob Mellon when on to say that he would not support a reduction of the U.S. Army below 500,000 soldiers. He did acknowledge that health care costs have expanded significantly over the last 30 years and every organization has been affected, including the U.S. military.
 
"Looking at ways to lower health care costs in the military is key to sustainable defense budgets in the future," he said. "Health care costs in America have made it difficult to balance budgets, for businesses to compete, and organizations to keep up. We can now all see that health care reform is not only important domestically, but it has become a national security issue."
 

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