Monday, February 10, 2014

Retirement Perks for Generals and Admirals Questioned in Light of COLA Decrease for Military Retirees

One of the provisions of the Ryan-Murray budget deal was to slash a percentage point off the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) provided to veterans at the end of each year. So if the cost of living is 3% in a given year the veterans COLA is only increased to 2%. Over the course of time this adds up to a lot of lost money. Hopefully members of Congress will change this over the next few weeks. Congress saw the veterans as an easy target. Less than 1 per cent of the population ever serves in the military; so recognizing a weak voting block they saw an opportunity to save $6 billion. Of note, is the silence of our senior general officers on this matter. It would appear that they care more about weapons systems (airplanes, ships, and tanks) than about the people that operate them. Of special note is a perk that generals and admirals receive if they retire with more than 40 years service. These individuals receive more than the base pay they would have received while on active duty. Read more on this in "Senator Questions Retirement Perks for Generals and Admirals",, February 5, 2014.

Iraqi Suicide Bomber Recruiter Suffers Work Accident; Kills 21 Of His Would-be Suicide Bombers

Iraqi Bomb Maker Detonates Bomb In Class - Just a Bit Early!

In a case of "you can't make this up" we learn that an Iraqi recruiter and trainer of suicide bombers has accidentally killed himself and 21 of his students. The students would presumably be suicide bombers who would enter Shia neighborhoods in Iraq or target members of the Iraq security forces and self-detonate. Read more in "Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Kills Iraqi Pupils", The New York Times, February 10, 2014.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

More Tanks Make Us Less Safe

Pennsylvania is home to a major plant producing armored vehicles for the Army. Funding for armored vehicles will likely go away if the Army gets its way. It has too many tanks and armored vehicles now. With the budget for the military shrinking the Army is faced with cutting its combat brigades and carefully choosing which weapons systems it needs. However, Congress allocates the funds. Congress will attempt to keep funding for armored vehicles at a higher rate than needed protecting the profits of firms in their congressional districts and protecting jobs. If Congress gets its way the nation suffers. We will buy equipment that we don't need and will not have enough money for the equipment that we do need. Warfare changes and so does the equipment needed to fight the wars; we need to be adaptable and think about more than a firms bottom line and a few hundred jobs at a defense firm. Read more in "The end of the tank? The Army says it doesn't need it, but industry wants to keep building it", The Washington Post, January 31, 2014.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Piracy and the Law

Read a review of an article entitled "Using Force on Land to Suppress Piracy at Sea" by Steven R. Obert. The article is an addition to the legal literature on piracy. Read more in on the article on the Lawfare Blog.