She and Roughead endorsed compensation reforms they said could shrink costs by some $20 billion per year by increasing some healthcare fees and co-pays and phasing out other programs.
They also urged the Pentagon to look at reforms suggested by Harrison. He examined the value that service members of different ages place on their benefits, then calculated the military could save money and improve satisfaction by eliminating some benefits in favor of cash or other alternatives.
“The all-volunteer force, as magnificent as it is, is becoming unsustainable and we need to make sensible choices to bring the personnel accounts onto better footing,” Schake told a recent forum at the Brookings Institution think tank.
Analysts predicted that even if the White House and Congress took action to avert sequestration, lawmakers would ultimately force the Pentagon to reduce spending by about $100 billion per year over the next decade.
Pentagon officials, who already have cut projected spending by $487 billion over the next decade, have warned that another $500 billion reduction would force them to reduce global commitments and jettison their new defense strategy, which calls for a shift in focus to Asia.
Analysts encouraged the Pentagon to go ahead and change its strategy, saying budget pressures meant the department would have to live with a smaller military force that would be used in a more limited manner during the coming period of austerity.