NEWPORT NEWS - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's budget could hit military families where it hurts - in the pocketbook.
In speeches at Langley Air Force Base and Fort Eustis Tuesday, Hagel said the defense budget is poised to shrink by more than $75 billion over the next two years.
The budget calls for axing $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies for commissaries. That could cost some families about $3,000 a year.
"Well I think it's disgusting. Military benefits seem to be going down, down, down. Meanwhile, the folks that have to go in harm's way are getting less and less. It's just one more benefit on the chopping block," said Navy retiree Mike Tomicich outside the Naval Station Norfolk commissary on Wednesday.
Sec. Hagel stressed that commissaries would not close.
“What we are doing is recommending that the subsidies on commissaries gradually be phased out, like in our post exchanges. That means you’ll still get significant savings as that process goes forward. Nothing happens tomorrow, nothing happens next year -- this is a gradual process,” the secretary explained.
The proposal also calls for capping military pay raises at 1% in 2015.
More on the Pentagon budget