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Military Retirement Benefits to Stay As Is ... For Now

March 20, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
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  • Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, USN, talks with sailors during an all-hands call at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in May 2013.

Changes–if any–to the U.S. military retirement system will be a long time in the making if they come at all, a senior military leader told his sailors.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, USN, chief of naval operations, spoke with troops in Florida this month and shared cautionary words that might allay service members’ concerns following news media articles on a report presented by the Defense Department to a commission tasked with reviewing the military’s compensation and retirement systems.

The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission is deliberating on a number of options that could prove to be an overhaul of retirement benefits. It will submit its findings in February 2015 to the president and to Congress, which must approve any changes to military benefits.

“If you wear the uniform today, today’s retirement system is your retirement system,” Adm. Greenert asserted. “Any retirement change that would take place is quite a ways down the road.”

A detailed report from the Defense Department to the panel of options to be included in deliberations itemizes varying cash payment option changes, such as a 401(k)-like system for those who serve at least 6 years; a cash retention bonus for those around the 12-year service mark; and a larger lump sum provide to those who retire after 20 years of service.

“It’s going to be a few years before we get one put together, studied, voted on and implemented,” Adm. Greenert said.

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