Commission Looks At Military Pay & Benefits

Washington Report

(July 8, 2014) The commission charged with revamping the military compensation system set the stage to make changes in its final recommendations with an interim report released last week.

Analysis of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s initial work indicates that the Commission is focused on creating a more flexible and modern system as opposed to drastically cutting benefits. Their attitude contrasts with that of some Pentagon officials who have suggested slashing spending for military benefit packages would help solve the nation’s budget problems.

To the Commission, the issue is more complicated than that. The report, which catalogs military benefits, clocks in at 358 pages. It notes that benefits have remained “largely unchanged” since 1973, when the modern All-Volunteer force began.  

“Consequently, compensation programs may no longer be structured in ways that cost-effectively align with the interests and motivations of today’s current and potential Service members,” the report said.

When making final recommendations to the president and Congress, the Commission said it will keep in mind changes in American society and culture that influence service members today. These can include increased levels of education, exponential growth in technology, an increasingly mobile workforce and more.  

Commission Chairman Alphonso Maldon Jr., said in a press release that input from stakeholders, combined with a thorough understanding of the benefits currently available, will help inform the modernization debate moving forward. The Commission’s primary goal, he said, is to “ensure the uniformed services can maintain the most professional All-Volunteer Force, during both peacetime and wartime.”

It’s worth noting that any final recommendations made by the commission are not permitted to negatively impact the retirement eligibility date or the amount of retirement pay for any currently serving members of the military, or anyone who has retired before such recommendations are enacted.

The final report is due to Congress and the president on Feb. 1, 2015. Legislators will be able to take the recommendations into account as they craft defense authorization and spending bills for fiscal 2016.

To see the full interim report or submit a comment to the Commission as they formulate recommendations, visit the Commission’s website at www.mcrmc.gov