From our friends at POGO;
Despite a plan set forth by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to rein in the Department of Defense's (DoD) increasingly top-heavy force and assurances from Pentagon personnel that these plans were being enacted, the U.S. military is still adding top brass ...All the while - look at what we are doing with PTS and ERB. ERB especially.
Seventeen general and flag officers were scheduled to be eliminated between May and September through Gates’ Efficiency Initiatives. But the DoD didn’t reduce its top brass at all. Instead, six generals were added from May to September, increasing the number of general and flag officers from 964 to 970. Moreover, from July 1, 2011—Panetta’s first day as Secretary of Defense—to September 30, the Pentagon added three four-star officers. Coincidentally, this is precisely the number of four-star officers Gates cut during his final year as SecDef, from June 2010 to the end of June 2011. Thus, in just three months, Panetta undid a year’s worth of Gates’ attempts to cut the Pentagon’s very top brass. It’s doubtful that Gates would consider Panetta’s current rate of adding a new four-star officer every month conducive to efficiency.
One of these new four-star officers is Admiral Mark Ferguson, who became vice chief of naval operations and consequently a four-star admiral less than a month before he testified at Senator Webb’s hearing. Ironically, this beneficiary of Star Creep wrote in his prepared statement that the “Navy supports these efficiency actions and anticipates additional review to reduce or merge flag officer positions.” At the hearing he expanded upon this, stating that “We [the Navy] remain absolutely committed to create a more agile, flexible, and effective flag officer staff structure.” Apparently, this support and commitment to flag officer efficiencies includes adding admirals.
Total costs? They're low balling it.
The cost to taxpayers of uniformed military personnel increases markedly with their rank. In just basic compensation, these six new generals will cost taxpayers more than $1.25 million per year. Over the next ten years, they’ll cost taxpayers more than $14 million (methodology).
The total cost to taxpayers of Star Creep is not trivial, even in the Pentagon’s bloated budget. Since the war in Afghanistan began, the Pentagon has added 99 general and flag officers, a rate of growth that’s tops among all DoD uniformed personnel groups, as can be seen in the above graph. In 2012, these general and flag officers will cost taxpayers more than $22 million in just direct financial compensation. Between 2012 and 2021, they’ll cost nearly $250 million.
But the cost of Star Creep only begins with direct compensation. Other costs that surround generals and admirals—such as staff, contractors, and travel—increase with higher ranks. For example, Bloomberg recently reported that taxpayers in Huntsville, Alabama, footed a $3.8-million bill to build luxurious homes for generals in a successful effort to keep Pentagon pork flowing into the area. One such home, built for a major general, was a sprawling 4,200-square-foot mansion that included granite countertops, hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances.
Luxurious homes are just the beginning of the extravagances available to top military commanders. According to Raymond Dubois, former DoD director of administration and management from 2002 to 2005, there are other perks:
Do you get the second-order detail from the graph above? Note that 3-4 Star have increased more than GOFO in general. As a recividist staff weenie I'll try to explain a very childish attribute about GOFOdom. It isn't enough to make Flag - you must get more stars. A 1-Star, you see, is almost seen as a non-qual. To not get promoted to 2-Star is looked at as a "fail to launch."
Just a 2-star? What did you screw up? And so on.
So, no shock to the above. As we have discussed before - those we hoped would bring accounting to the Pentagon - McCain and Webb - have turned out toothless.
So, we wait. We wait for leadership - leadership that can look its force in the face with a clear conscience. As we are moving in the exact opposite direction we need to go - when change comes it will be with a broad-axe and not a scalpel.
Lead from the front? When it comes to end-strength management, our GOFO does not know the word.