(Source: U.S Department of Defense)
12:00 AM, December 11, 2008
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE --- Though the extent of its impact is not yet clear, the Defense Department will feel effects from the current financial crisis, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told about 500 airmen here yesterday. The global financial crisis is going to have an effect on us in the military, and I have thought that for months, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said. To the degree that this financial crisis has an impact on us, and it will, I worry about an increased level of insecurity [and] instability around the world. Since 2000, the Defense Departments budget has increased steadily to more than $715 billion for fiscal 2009. But the chairman said he expects DoD will have to start tightening our belt and making adjustments. Its going to take a very healthy debate about what its going to take to provide for our national security during these very challenging times, Mullen said. Weve got to get our arms around this. The department is going to have to start trying to reduce costs, he said, citing uncertainty over how quickly the financial impact will settle in. Its certainly too early to determine, but I think its virtually certain that it will have an impact on us, he said. We need to pay an awful lot of attention to that, he continued. I clearly think its going to impact the Department of Defense, but I dont know the specifics of that at this particular point in time and how the new administration will address this. But as officials scrutinize future budget requests, Mullen said, the military cant afford to lose sight of caring for its members, whom he regularly calls DoDs most important resource. He noted dramatic improvements in the last 10 years in pay and benefits, veteran compensation, health care and family care programs.