During a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett gave a testimony that was met with vehement criticism from many Marines and their family members. According to, Barrett told Congress that Marines would accept a relatively low pay raise as long as they were offered better equipment and training

Sgt. Maj. Barrett's testimony creates controversy 
"Marines don't run around [asking] about compensation, benefits, retirement modernization. That's not on their minds," Barrett said at the hearing, as quoted by "As I walk around to talk to the thousands [in] audiences, they want to know into whose neck do we put a boot next. They want to know about what new equipment are we getting."

Perhaps the most controversial of Barrett's stances was that reduced pay would foster better spending habits and, thus, "raise discipline."

Barrett's comments were made in light of the Pentagon's fiscal 2015 budget proposal, which stipulates a 1 percent pay raise for Marines. Given the rate of inflation, this raise would actually equate to a cut.

Barrett wrote an open letter to all Marines to clarify statements made during his testimony, as he felt that his message had been misconstrued by members of the press. He insisted that if the growth of compensation and benefit entitlements is not slowed down, the Marine Corps will not have enough capital to invest in combat capabilities and family care programs, both of which Barrett identified as highly important.

A mixed range of reactions
Responses to Barrett's testimony have varied from reproachful to supportive. noted that some individuals asserted the conviction that Pentagon leaders should receive a pay cut before reducing servicemembers' compensation.

Meanwhile, Duncan Hunter, a Republican congressman from California, penned a letter to Barrett to assure the sergeant that his remarks were not construed to mean that the Marine Corps will require less funding. Joe Kasper, a spokesman for Hunter, explained that the congressman interpreted Barrett's words as an explanation of Marines' capability to respond to incidents with versatility and levelheadedness.

"What we heard, what Rep. Hunter heard [Barrett say], is that Marines are some of the best at adapting and performing to the situation. They'll do it with discipline and precision," Kasper said, according to

Kasper also posited the belief that Barrett was pressured to speak in approval of the 1 percent pay raise, and some of the sergeant's comments did not accurately convey his intended message.