DOD needs to control the runaway personnel costs for the 3 million people in its workforce to keep its other priorities on track, according to a new CSIS study.

While today’s U.S. military is near its smallest size since the end of World War II in terms of active duty end strength, personnel costs are at a historic high—surpassed only by the height of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the authors wrote. “Left unaddressed, high personnel costs may limit resources for Department of Defense modernization initiatives and could threaten the long-term sustainability of the force.”

The study points to rising costs associated with health care, housing and retirement.

“DOD must take a holistic, department-wide approach to address high personnel costs that not only addresses military compensation and benefits directly but also the force management decisions that affect overall costs and the data that informs those policies.”

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Spencer Fling