Obama Assures Troops on Compensation

(Sept. 13, 2013) President Barack Obama has assured members of the military that any changes to the Pentagon’s compensation and retirement package will not affect them, unless they choose to take advantage of any preferable benefits that may result.

In a letter to the Military Retirement and Compensation Modernization Commission Thursday, the president wrote, “The Commission’s recommendations for change must grandfather any currently serving members and current retirees in the current military retirement systems, but may allow current service members and current retirees the choice to change to your retirement system.”

The letter was reported by ArmyTimes.com. The president’s comments are in line with what other officials have said, but carry weight because they come from the commander-in-chief.

The commission was created by Congress to examine the military’s compensation package. Personnel costs have doubled since 2001 and now eat up one-third of the Pentagon’s base budget, the website reported.

ArmyTimes.com reported, too, that some of the unofficial proposals for a new retirement system would provide benefits before service members reach the 20-year mark, which is now a requirement for any benefit. Such a plan may appeal to service members who do not want to serve 20 years, but would stay in uniform for 10 years, for example, if some sort of retirement benefit would result.

“The military retirement and compensation system should be fiscally sustainable in order to ensure long-term certainty for service members and retirees,” Obama wrote.

A report is due to the White House on May 1, 2014.