The spiraling cost of personnel at the Defense Department isn’t a new problem, yet a solution has been elusive. Cutting benefits for service members during more than a decade of war has been politically unpalatable. As a result, the topic has largely been pushed to the side, left to be debated by budget wonks and defense policy gurus.

Now, with former Sen. Chuck Hagel preparing for confirmation hearings for the top job at the Pentagon, the issue of personnel costs is getting new attention/…/ Defense industry executives, who make a living off of selling equipment and services to DoD, wouldn’t be the first crowd one would expect to focus on the cost of military personnel. But the industry is realizing that if personnel costs continue to grow, little money will be left over for the Pentagon to buy things. A 2012 report produced by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis highlights the threat personnel costs pose to acquisition: At current growth rates, personnel costs would devour the entire DoD budget by 2039.