• Chad D. Runge/Getty

    Troop Pay

    Don’t Ask Troops to Take a Pay Cut

    A congressman makes the case for making required defense cuts while still protecting the pay and benefits of currently serving members of the military.

    Depending on who is doing the talking, the national defense budget is either too big or not large enough.  Both sides have fair points, but what seems to be dangerously lacking from the two perspectives is a true sense of budget realities.

    To those who argue the defense budget is too large, big-ticket weapons systems and overseas engagements are usually the cause for protest.  Those who believe the defense budget is too small have a completely different take:  The world is a dangerous place, the systems of the future are expensive and the military must always be prepared to protect U.S. interests worldwide.

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  • U.S. Army soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Pfc. Cody J. Patterson during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base on October 9, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. According to reports, Patterson, who was from Philomath, Oregon, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Benning, Georgia, was killed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan. Since the U.S. government shutdown, a benefit called the 'death gratuity' that helps families cover travel and funeral costs for fallen soldiers has gone unpaid. (Patrick Smith/Getty)

    Left Unpaid

    The Death Benefit Scandal

    The $100,000 payment to the family of a fallen service member—which is supposed to be a first and immediate installment on an unpayable debt—is being withheld in the shutdown. Michael Daly on the outrage.

    Three days after the government shut down and two days before he was killed, 19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Collins Jr. went on Facebook.

    “Get it together Obama and not to mention Congress. Jesus! Make up your minds,” Collins wrote on October 3 from Afghanistan. “I will protect…my country with my life, but do not go fucking with the men and women that protect your sorry asses.”

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  • Michele Flournoy in 2009. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

    Perfect Fit

    Smashing the Pentagon’s Glass Ceiling

    As speculation swirls about Defense Secretary Panetta’s likely exit, Michele Flournoy ranks high on the short list. Eleanor Clift on the woman who could be just right for the job.

    It was just a year ago that Michele Flournoy stepped down as under secretary of Defense for policy, the third-highest civilian job at the Pentagon. As the first woman to hold such a senior position in the testosterone-laden military community, Flournoy’s decision to leave for family reasons raised some eyebrows. But she spent the time well, reclaiming her home life after three demanding years in the administration, and serving as a surrogate on foreign policy and national security issues for the Obama campaign. Now, as the president contemplates his second-term team, Flournoy is on the short list to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of Defense.

    Her qualifications are impeccable. There are the requisite degrees from Harvard and Oxford, a stint at the Kennedy School and the Army War College. During the Clinton administration she worked at the Pentagon, tasked with developing and overseeing strategy and threat reduction. In 2007, she cofounded the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a think tank whose stated mission is to “develop strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and defense policies that promote and protect American interests and values.”

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  • US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta listens during a Pentagon press conference on September 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Paul J Richards / AFP / Getty Images )

    Exclusive

    Panetta Sued Over Military Rapes

    Jesse Ellison reports exclusively on a suit alleging the secretary and his predecessors violated civil rights.

    Daniele Hoffman was 17 years old when she met the recruiter for the National Guard who she says eventually attempted to rape her. The child of a single mother, Hoffman says the man “became the fatherly figure in my life.” She signed up for service both to “give back to my country and to make him proud. I wouldn’t have joined if it weren’t for his influence.”

    But then, she says, the recruiter began to touch her inappropriately, make physical advances, and eventually attempted to rape her, warning her not to tell anyone by saying, “I gave you everything you have, and I can take it all away.”

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