Congressional Research Service analyst Stephen Daggett had some stunning numbers about the rise in military personnel costs in testimony he gave earlier this year. In constant 2009 dollars, the cost of an average service member has risen from $55,000 per year in 1998 to $80,000 today. And that doesn’t even include the cost of military healthcare, which — as Dan Goure pointed out earlier this week — has increased 144% since the decade began. When you count healthcare, the annual cost of each service member tops $100,000. The cost of training and equipping warfighters to do their jobs is added on top of that. If personnel costs keep rising faster than inflation while overall defense spending levels off, then investment in new warfighting technology will gradually be squeezed out of the budget.
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