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Defense Secretary Robert Gates has correctly noted that the rising cost of military personnel and the Pentagon’s health care system make it difficult for the military to fund its necessary investments in a fiscally constrained environment. While Gates is correct in placing much of the blame on Congress for giving higher pay raises than requested and refusing to raise Tricare health care premiums, he presents a distorted picture. The rising cost of military personnel and health care is also attributable to the actions taken, and in some cases not taken, by the executive branch.

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