Ah, now it makes sense: “radical” overhaul of military retirements necessary due to downsizing the force

After culling the Defense Business Board’s Powerpoint presentation of the whys and hows of how “unfair” military retirement currently is, I found the kicker on page 7:

The current plan is highly inflexible and especially poorly suited for periods of significant change (e.g., when downsizing the force)

–It will be very difficult to release personnel with 15 or more years of service, yet these age groups are a likely target for downsizing

–As a result, DoD will likely require special pay to ease transitioning out of the military (as was done in the 1990s), therefore, increasing costs

The DBB proposed making an immediate change to all in the service rather than grandfathering in any group of military personnel to aid the coming reduction in force. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Here’s a consolation prize for your effort.

The constant comparison to “average civilians” is a ruse: what average civilian routinely leaves his family home alone for months, years? What average civilian dodges bullets or IEDs on the way to work? What average civilian specializes in blowing down doors to find a cache of bad guys behind it?

Further, the DBB points to the “unfairness” within the military system: 83% of those who serve will never receive retirement without noting that they receive other benefits upon separation: GI Bill. Or that there’s no differentiation between “high risk” and “low risk” retirement: soldiers receive those benefits while they’re paid, not during retirement (e.g. hazardous duty pay, family separation pay, etc).

If government needs to save money, then change the system. That’s fine. But not for soldiers who have borne the brunt of the past decade of war. Change it for those coming in. Change it for those with less than ten years of service. Change it. That’s fine. But don’t screw the devoted group of men and women who have fought and bled for the past decade while screaming it’s all about “fairness.”


So “paying the military and their families for 60 years when they only serve 20” is unsustainable, eh?

DOD recommends “radical” overhaul of miliary retirement

The military can take substantial cuts but entitlements can’t?


11 Responses

  1. […] Ah, now it makes sense: “radical” overhaul of military retirements necessary due to downsizing t… Share this:TwitterRedditFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. […] we go again. From CBS News, Pentagon officials discuss the radical Defense Business Board plan to overhaul military retirements: The military retirement system has long been considered […]

  3. […] the military faces to retirement, ostensibly in the wake of the budget crisis here, here, here and here. The plan, however, saves pennies compared to the true budget woes we suffer […]

  4. I have talked to many Soldiers, NCO’s and fellow Officers and one of the big concerns is our contract. Every Soldier today signed a contract with the US Army with an agreement for a retirement at 20 years. If the government can make this change and turn around and tell the Soldiers to just deal with it, then what is next. What else will they change in our contract and then turn around and say we are the government deal with it, what’s the point of the contract.

    The proposal mentions several times a comparison between the Military and the Civilian work force. Well, show me a Civilian job in which the worker is gone training for up to 3 to 6 months total throughout the year and then when complete with training deploys for up to a year, not to mention during that year deployment there is a large group of people trying as hard as they can to kill you. Then God willing the member makes it home after the deployment, and 70% of the time must pack up his/her family and move them somewhere else. The constant PCS moves every two to three years for a Soldier is extremely hard on the family, the children must move schools and make new friends, the spouse must attempt to find a new job which in itself is difficult due to the employer knowing he or she will be leaving within two to three years. This type of constant movement for the Service member makes it almost impossible for a spouse to generate any type of retirement.

    A Service member after 20 years of service is most of the time completely broken, they have bad knees, backs, ankles and hearing loss to mention a few. All of these problems are due to 20 years of dealing with Combat, explosions, shooting weapons, foot marches, jumping out of airplanes, and daily running and other physical activities. After a 20 year Service obligation the average 40 year old Soldiers body is worn down and more closely related to a 65 year old Civilian.

    The proposal makes a statement that a Soldier E-1 thru E-4 under the new plan can make up to $20,000 if they invest 16.5% of their pay for four years. I have been a Company Commander for 33 months and I do not know one E-1 thru E-4 who can afford to deposit 16.5% of their pay and still be able to survive financially. The proposal also states that the old plan is unfair to all who do not retire because they receive nothing. Like I said earlier all Soldiers voluntarily sign a contract and understand what they are getting into. But, when it comes down to it, a Soldier receives many things, the Soldier receives to mention a few, discipline, an understanding of self worth, team work, equal opportunity training, sexual harassment training, job experience, respect from the community, credibility from civilian companies, and the military GI Bill for future education. Any person who joins the military and leaves under honorable conditions, leaves as a better person and will be a great contributor to the Civilian community and work force.

    To say that anyone leaving the military before 20 years gets nothing is not only wrong but an uneducated statement. The US Service member is a Professional and the 20 year retirement is not just deserved but owed due to the contract we signed. A professional athlete provides entertainment to the public and they make millions, a Service member is a professional and provides protection and freedom to the public and we make pennies but we do not complain. If they take away our retirement they take away any incentive for the career Soldier to stay and they take away what all Service members have worked for, planned for, fought for, and many others have died for. Why would anyone join the Military as a Career when they can join a safer Civilian job with the same benefits? The US Armed Forces is 1% of the US population, I’m sure we can find, and save, several Trillion dollars if we tap into the other 99% who earned their freedom thru the Military’s sacrifice.

  5. […] Ah, now it makes sense: “radical” overhaul of military retirements necessary due to down… […]

  6. Funny how ‘fairness’ is evoked to try to justify rank unfairness.

    It’s like drinking a fifth of vodka in pursuit of sobriety.

  7. If you honestly think the recommendations proposed for military retirment is a good idea then you are an idiot!!!!! I cannot beleive that it this plan would even be considered.. It is a disgrace.. What a message to send to your current active Veterans

    • Vet, thank you for your service. No, I think this is a terrible idea, and I’m having hard time figuring out how you think I endorse it from my post. Our government can’t pay its bills. I get that. But the only reason the DBB has advocated a plan like this without grandfathering any troops in is to get rid of them in a RIF. it will be easier for folks to quit. I see it as a great betrayal of soldiers after the last decade of war.

  8. You can not change the retirement system for those already under contract. I do think the system (like any benefit package) should be periodically reviewed and improved if necessary. Non-military federal employees did a massive change to their retirement program in the early 80’s. Those under old system had option of switching to new TSP (401k) plan with a match or sticking with the defined benefit. If you stuck with old you could contribute to TSP but would get no employer match. States with their massive pension problems could learn a lot from the feds. The 20 years equals 50% of base pay military retirement was enacted back when military compensation was anemic. With the advent of the all-volunteer military which resulted in much better compensation the retirement pay naturally went way up as well. An enlisted guy who retires as an E-6 at 20 years is of course not getting rich off it. However, a colonel who retires with 26 years service is more than set for life.

    Switching to a TSP plan with match is better for both the soldier and the government. Now a guy with 12 years in has to stay for 20 or he gets nothing and if you do retire after serving 20+ and then die your family gets nothing. TSP is portable and inheritable. Benefit to tax payer/govt is they’re paying now rather than paying forever. Government has no idea how long military retirees will live and can only guess based on actuary scales.

    • “You can not change the retirement system for those already under contract.”

      Um, I hope you are right. But what about the grandfathering (10-15 years get 3/4 of original retirement set up) already discussing in the Army Times article in PJ’s prior post?

      And when military members will begin collecting retirement under this new system? Is it upon retiring from military, or retirement age?

      • NOOAI, I wouldn’t call it grandfathering. The powerpoint made it clear that “grandfathering” would defeat the purpose: getting people out of the active-duty military. The retainment of a percentage of the original annuity will “honor” those who’ve served a minimum of 10 years. The 10 year mark would get 50% of the annuity (so 50% of 50%) and the 15 year crowd would get 75% of their annuity at 20 years, (75% of the 50%.) once you’re talking about a quarter or half of the annuity you thought you’d receive, it’s a big difference. My understanding (ha, which could be wrong) was that you’d still receive the annuity at separation. A revolt would happen if they withheld it until 62. (Ha, you get less and you don’t get it now!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: