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DoD Panel: Change Military Retirement System

1 min read

The 20-year retirement system the military has used for generations should be phased out and be replaced with a corporate-style program, a Defense Department panel said.

The Defense Business Board released its proposal July 21, recommending the corporate-style program contribute money to individual retirement savings accounts rather than future monthly pensions.

Air Force Times reports all troops would receive the yearly retirement contributions, regardless of whether they stay for 20 years. The DBB proposed the contributions be adjusted to give more money to troops who deploy frequently, accept hardship assignments or serve in high-demand jobs.

“This alternative plan would enhance the ability of the service member to build a meaningful retirement asset with complete flexibility for their lifestyle or desires,” said John Spencer, a former Marine Corps pilot who led the board’s study.

Click here to read the full report.

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  1. After multiple combat deployments with no career breaks, i.e. staff, recruiter, instructor, TDA, (unless you count the special forces qualification course and flight school), in the last 15 years, I’ve become a little burned out. I have been forced to deal with any PTSD/depression symptoms without help, because I don’t want to get grounded or possibly separated. I have been trying very hard to keep my wife and kids happy with my frequent absences. My back and knees are terrible from years of rucking/ABN OPS/,etc in the infantry and SF. I am keeping sane with the focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t want much, just the incentive that was offered to me 15 years ago. I have been counting on 50% of my base pay when I retire. I have volunteered for everything that I could in my career, have taken the tough jobs, put in work overseas and have given up alot to be able to serve my country. Please do not mess with my retirement.

  2. This is beyond ridiculous. There goes your whole military. Honestly a little more than fed up with people making changes and not asking the people who serve for thier opinions. WAKE UP AMERICA AND START WATCHING HOW YOU SPEND!!!!! IF WE ALL DID THIS WE WOULD NOT BE SO FKED UP!

  3. If government officials want to create a “corporate scenario” for the military, then can we fire them for screwing it up in the first place?

  4. I am pretty sure that we have retired military members sitting on this panel that is making this proposal. Are they going to give back their retirement check to participate in this new program. Are you kidding me with the reason of trying to provide soldiers with more options according to their lifestyle. Have members of the panel taking a look at the status of our stock market. My wife and I are both active duty military members and our Roth IRA’s lost about $1000 over the past week because of the debt ceiling debate in D.C. Now you tell me to take a chance with my retirement on a system that is proven to fail at times when you may be in need. What is the panel’s plan for soldiers who lose all of their money in the unstable market. I am sure if the panel reviewed how so much money is spent on unnecessary transportation of equipment instead of just moving bodies in and out of most of the permanent sites that have been established in Iraq and Afghanistan? Maybe we can take a look at all of the TDY travel that is taken by senior leaders who have state-of-the-art Telecommunications equipment available to communicate via video teleconference, Adobe connect, and Tele-conferencing. I think this idea is horrible and shame on the panel of persons who is recommending this action against soldiers especially while we are at war. I forgot to mention that my wife and I have a total of 6 deployments between us and we have served our country with honoe for a combined 32 years and we are looking forward to retiring in 5 years to start another life to finish raising our kids. BLUF!!!! Don’t mess with our retirement pay.

  5. How about congresional retirements… those guys aren’t risking their lives everyday with little or no say, but they have amazingly unfair benefits after just a few years of public service. Why dosen’t sombody complain about that giant waste of government funds? Perhaps we could reform the disgusting welfare state that this country has created and seems to have no control over anymore and stop feeding and housing all the deadbeats and illegals. Let’s not screw over the people who commit their entire being to protecting the very way of life that so many of you out there seem to forget is under attack everyday! Corporate style system… how many coporations ask their employees to risk your life on a daily basis? Makes me sick!!!

  6. Interesting that this is all coming out now, so concerned about the 83% of military members who do not stay until at least the 20 year mark. What is sickening is this country has entered an era where it is considered bad to dedicate decades of your life to public service and simply want what you have earned. This is a scam, disguising this need to “reward” everyone on a fair level when what it is mostly about is not ending programs that affect civilian jobs (such as weapons programs with multi-year govt contracts that are over budget but whose company executives and DOD civilians don’t want ended because that would affect their bottom line). promises to anyone who votes this in: You do this to everyone who has stuck by their committment to serving up their life (and their family’s life) to the military during the longest wartime in our history instead of leaving after 9-11, count on the need to reinstitute the draft during the next major conflict. We promise those idiots who will have to vote on this, better look for another job next year.

  7. HOW ABOUT WE START AT THE TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN, CUT SENATOR/CONGRESSIONAL PAY AND RETIREMENTS!!!!! How dare they screw with our military pay and retirement benefits. There is SO much waste in government that they need to look at how THEY do business themselves! The US military is what holds this country together!


  8. 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.

  9. If you mess with the Militaries retirement system you will have next to no soldiers staying in for more than five years. I have been in for seven years and all of the careerists soldiers I have meet are staying in only because they want to get there twenty year retirement. If you change the current retirement plain you will not have an Army to defend this country.

  10. As many people have stated, the draw of staying in the full 20 years (or more) is the retirement. The turnover rate will be much higher which will actually cost not only more money for training, but also valuable experience and important field expertise.

    What people need to understand is that you can’t do a side-by-side comparison between the military and the real world. It may look all pretty on paper, but it doesn’t really portray what is going on. Think about it, if someone in the civilian sector were required to go through all the hardships that military members (and their families) go through and work who knows how many hours a day/week/month/year (remember, salary – no overtime here), they would probably quit – or their family would say enough is enough.

    Putting aside the fact that after putting in 20 years in the military, many/most military members have bodies that are failing them. Deployments and the additional stresses of military life take a toll physically and mentally on not only the military member, but also their family. While they may not be at retirement age in number, physically, they are often at that point.

    Plus, what is also not being taken into account when they’re talking about moving on to different jobs is the fact that many jobs have age restrictions. If a military member puts in their 20 and retires, they can’t get into many gov’t type jobs (which is where many member like to go if they get out early).

    With all of the garbage that is going on with our gov’t and the changes they are enforcing or planning to enforce, there is very little incentive to stick with it. While many/most members serve due to love of country, they still need to take care of their families, and it’s a lot harder to continue to serve a country when you know your family is going to suffer and that gov’t is wiling to short change the “little guy” while the big wigs keep rolling in the dough….

  11. Ben: There is no single place within the contract (and I have looked mine over) that promises a retirement plan as stated at 20+ years. That being said, though, you can’t compare military to corporate. That would be like comparing Chevy to Ferrari. They’re two completely different entities. The U.S. Military is what keeps this country away from the prying fingers of terrorists, political targets, and others that would wish to do harm. In addition to this, the military has become a political vehicle to strengthen relations between countries by way of bolstering forces or providing the mass of forces in order to accomplish multinational goals. This isn’t Motorola. This isn’t Google. This isn’t GM. These people don’t follow the orders of their non-corporate leaders that require them to place themselves within the bounds of risking their lives. Moreover, even when someone in the corporate world is “under fire”, they are not, in a literal sense. Granted, yes, I have spent 12 years serving our country. Do I plan on staying to 20? Yes. Do I plan on staying beyond? Very likely. However, the tolls of working in the Marine Corps are many, and this equates to physical problems. Corporate workers don’t carry their desk on their back. They don’t inhale dirt, sand, and dust. They don’t jump from 5 foot vehicles, run at full speed, then slide on their knees through rock and gravel to assault the enemy. Do we have medical care? Yes. Is it where it should be? No. Also, how easy is it to transition from a military job environment to that of the civilian sector? Ask those who have gotten out. It’s not easy in the least. Call in Mothers of America, the group on the forefront of servicemembers’ rights. If they can fight for LCpl Johnny to have his own tent instead of sleeping in the mud, they can fight for our ability to retire to lick our wounds.

    Bottom line: we place our lives on the line to protect America, her people, and her freedom. Since we are the ones standing up for America, shouldn’t it be right for America to stand up for us?

  12. if someone in the civilian sector were required to go through all the hardships that military members (and their families) go through and work who knows how many hours a day/week/month/year (remember, salary

  13. It gets better I just got a letter from tricare telling me that I need to get insurance through work by August because the tricare prime I got at retirement is being done away with to save money.

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