The Issue: Oppose the recommendation of the Defense Business Board to eliminate the present military retirement pay benefit
Immediate Action Required: Contact your Senators and Representative to urge them to aggressively oppose any recommendation by the Defense Business Board to eliminate military retirement pay
On July 21, 2011 the Defense Business Board (DBB) Task Group published its recommendation to eliminate the current military retirement pay benefit as the way forward in “optimizing the Department’s military retirement system” which it criticized as being “more generous and expensive compared to the private sector.”
In lieu of the current military retirement pay benefit for both active and reserve military members, the DBB Task Group is recommending a mandatory Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) program that would vest after 3 to 5 years, and be payable at age 60 to 65. The Task Group touts its TSP recommendation as one that “will enable the system to be fiscally sustainable and recruit and retain the highest personnel required for our nation’s defense” by allowing military retirement funds held in a TSP to be “invested in higher yielding equities and bonds.”
The DBB Task Group was drawn exclusively from corporate executives from a variety of defense contracting, banking, mortgage servicing, corporate outsourcing, commodity futures exchange, and venture capitalist communities. Only two members of the Task Group served in the military, and that was for short active duty tour in the late 1970’s. The methodology of the Task Force was to interview upper echelon leadership in the Pentagon and retired flag officers, and did not include a broad cross section of those serving members of the military, their families or any military or veteran support organizations.
Recommendations regarding recruitment and retention were based on corporate budget cutting principals from the private sector that knows little about military service, and is dangerously out-of-touch with the realities of those who serve. If these recommendations were to be endorsed by Defense Secretary Panetta and subsequently enacted into law by Congress, the effect on military recruitment and retention would be devastating.
Equating retirement compensation of military service with that of civilian employment may look fair to a corporate executive, but not to those who have served in uniform. As an example, under this system, when a military member retires after 20 years, it is assumed that person will have the experience and qualifications to obtain credible civilian employment. However, while many of the specialties gained in the military, such as being a pilot, maintenance, information technology, intelligence and others may translate to comparable civilian jobs, many do not. The result, a significant number of military members who served our country for 20 years and then retire without an immediate annuity, would be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to finding civilian employment.
While some adjustments to military pay and benefits may be in order, we cannot let this particular effort succeed. Please contact your Senators and Representative to urge them to oppose the recommendations of the DBB Task Group as being totally out-of-touch with the employment realities members of the military will face following retirement.
TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTION:
By using the “Write to Congress” feature on the NGAUS Web site at http://www.ngaus.org, you can IMMEDIATELY e-mail your elected representatives. A sample letter is included in our “Write to Congress” feature. You can e-mail the pre-written message or edit the sample letter as you desire. This is the quickest and most effective method of expressing your views to Congress. Also, contact your friends and family and urge them to use Write to Congress as well. For further information and background visit our web site at http://www.ngaus.org. Please direct any questions concerning this issue to Pete Duffy, NGAUS Deputy Legislative Director at 202-454-5307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org