One thing that can be challenging about keeping up with military pay and benefits information is that they are so public. It’s not just a company owner or a board of directors deciding things, it is basically the entire country, through Congress. In order to be knowledgeable, you have to keep your eyes on a lot of different places at one time. It’s a full-time job, and frankly, most of us already have full-time jobs with our actual work, being spouse, parenting, etc.
This is one reason I belong to so many email lists. I receive lots of information every day, and I can pretty quickly scan and pick out the stuff that is important to me (or my readers.)
A recent newsletter from the Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA) reminded me how many people are expressing opinions about military pay and benefits. It included a link to MOAA’s official response to Todd Harrison’s Washington Post article, How can we save money on troops’ pay and benefits? Let’s ask the troops, and also an article about a suggestion that the military move to Health Savings Accounts versus the current Tricare system. (For reference, this article seems to be in response to the Washington Times piece RAMTHUN: Bending the Pentagon’s medical costs curve.)
What strikes me about both of the original pieces is that these are non-military folks talking about issues that are very important to the military, that they have strong opinions, and that it is considered completely appropriate for civilians to discuss these issues. Obviously, every dollar spent by the military comes from the people of our country, and they should expect them to be spent well.
In addition, there is balance between being aware of what the general population is saying, and making yourself crazy over the opinions of a single person or group who may not have any support.
What do you think? Do you try to keep up with current affairs as it affects the military, or do you wait until things happen and react then?