What Obama's Reelection Means for the Military

What Obama's Reelection Means for the Military

Stars and Stripes reported on what President Obama's reelection on Tuesday can mean for the military in terms of coming changes. First and foremost is awareness of Obama's vow to decrease military spending, but three other policies are equally important to the men and women who serve our country.

 

1. End Strength Cuts

Obama has pledged to trim back the military’s end strength -- the Army by about 70,000, and the Marine Corps by about 18,000, over the next five years -- and reign in the number of senior civilian and military personnel at the Pentagon. The services should start feeling that pinch in 2013.

Advisors have said his proposed 2014 budget, due in February, will reflect the strategy he outlined in January of a leaner, quick-response fighting force, one with a smaller footprint in Europe and a larger presence in the Pacific.

 

2. Sequestration

Now that the election is over, preventing $500 billion in automatic defense cuts slated to start in January will Congress’ top priority.

For much of the campaign, Obama and Romney railed against the sequestration cuts and the dangers they pose to the military. The president in recent weeks has stepped up his pressure on Congress to find an alternative plan, declaring in the final presidential debate that the cuts “will not happen.”

 

3. The Defense of Marriage Act

Obama has publicly stated his opposition to DOMA, which prohibits the government from giving same-sex married couples access to federal benefits. If the defense of marriage act is repealed (or overturned by the courts), gay military couples could have access to health care, housing and commissary benefits that are only open to heterosexual couples. Veterans benefits and health care would also for the first time be open to those individuals.

 

4. Promises to veterans

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki promised to end veterans homelessness by late 2015, eliminate the veterans benefits backlog by late 2015, and establish a joint VA-DOD lifelong medical records system by 2017. All of those ambitious deadlines will now come during Obama’s second term.

 

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