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Mullen Says Military Must Make Tough Choices to Handle High Costs

DoD photo: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

The U.S. cannot break faith with soldiers and their families but also needs to handle unsustainable costs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen spoke to midshipmen at the Naval Academy, saying the military will have to make difficult decisions on what type of force it will be in the future.

One big part of that adjustment will be regarding people and how they will be compensated, Mullen said.

Another big part will be the military retirement system. President Barack Obama asked the deficit reduction super-commitee to come up with a new system.

Mullen emphasized there are no current plans to change the retirement system.

Health care costs have risen from $19 billion to $51 billion over the past decade, and personnel costs have increased 80 percent over the past decade.

“There are going to have to be some changes,” Mullen said. “The challenge is to do it in a balanced and fair way.”

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