So Long 20-Year Military Retirement?


*This post was updated on 7/28 (see below)*

“Ten military years are equivalent to 20 civilian years.” That’s what one military spouse told me not too long ago. When I tell people that my husband would be eligible for retirement in his 40s, they can hardly believe it. It’s one of those things that sounds too good to be true, but actually IS true. People join the military for all sorts of reasons, but I’d venture to say that the 20-year “fixed” retirement is a huge, juicy carrot which many prospective service members find hard to resist. And who can blame them?

Today brings news of a proposal by the Defense Business Board to overhaul one of the most attractive benefits of military service, the 20-year fixed pension.

A sweeping new plan to overhaul the Pentagon’s retirement system would give some benefits to all troops and phase out the 20-year cliff vesting system that has defined military careers for generations, the Military Times newspapers reported.

The plan calls for a corporate-style benefits program that would contribute money to troops’ retirement savings account rather than the promise of a future monthly pension, according to a new proposal from an influential Pentagon advisory board.

The move would save the Pentagon money — at a time when it’s being asked to cut at least $400 billion — and benefit troops who leave with less than 20 years of service.

It’s important to point out that this is just a plan and has not been signed off on by lawmakers. So this is by no means a done deal, but the proposal is causing consternation among service members, and rightly so. Traditionally, when you hear of major changes to a system, there is a grandfather clause. Alarmingly, according to this article, that may not be the case here:

Unlike past changes to the military retirement plan, which shielded current service mem bers from the changes, the plan presented by the Defense Business Board would not grandfather current service members. The plan would go into effect immediately and includes current and future service members.

Under that plan, new recruits would start immediately earning TSP contributions, but, would have no incentive to stay in the military for 20 or more years since they would not get a fixed-benefit pension. Current service members would begin receiving TSP contributions immediately and would earn a grad u ated percent age of their pay if they stay in the military for 20 years or more years. Their fixed pension rate would be based on their years of service when the new plan kicks in. For example a service member who has 15 years of service would get 37.5 per cent of their base pay at 20 years in addition to the new TSP contributions.

While some may argue that this proposal helps service members who separate before the 20-year mark, there’s a major problem here:

It’s unclear whether troops would have immediate access to all the retirement money or whether it would be partially or completely withheld until a traditional retirement age, such as 65. Under the current TSP, troops cannot withdraw money until age 59½ without incurring a significant penalty, except in certain specified circumstances.

Richard Spencer of the Defense Business Board says:

“The current system is unfair, unaffordable and inflexible,” said Richard Spencer, a former finance executive and Marine Corps pilot who led the board’s eight-month retirement study.

As for the unfair part, I ask, unfair to whom? If someone chooses to stay 20 years, they will receive their pension immediately upon retirement (as of now). If they choose to leave early, they know what they’re leaving on the table. It’s a choice. Further, life’s not fair. And the sooner we all learn that lesson, the better off we will be. Unfortunately, “fair” has become a buzz word people toss around to skirt sensible reforms and play on the emotions of others.

I’ll be the first to say that times are tough and everyone needs to tighten their belts. I don’t think the DoD is, or should be, immune to “responsible” cuts (and I fully realize that “responsible” is in the eye of the beholder….). However, you don’t send your warriors to battle for over a decade and then pull the rug out from under them in this manner. You don’t tell the service member with 19 years in that everything he thought and planned for when he hit that 20-year mark has radically changed. Looking at changing future policy is one thing, and can certainly be considered and debated, but not grandfathering in those who signed on the dotted line with a clear understanding of what they could expect in 20 years is an entirely different matter.

Just yesterday, the DoD announced that all four branches met or exceeded their recruiting goals.

Good luck with retention if this plan ever sees the light of day!

UPDATE (7/28): Click here to see the slide deck of the DBB’s findings and their suggestions for overhauling the system. I would encourage everyone to read through the slide deck. This will answer some of the questions that have been tossed around in the comment section.

Semi-related news: Click here to read about a bill to protect military pay.

UPDATE (8/3): Admiral Mike Mullen addressed this issue saying, “[T]he service chiefs would recommend that if such a change were considered, troops with some years of military service would be grandfathered in, so they would not be affected. He did not specify how many years of service that would be.”  Click here for the full article.

About the Author


Andi is married to an active-duty soldier and is the founder and former editor of SpouseBUZZ.

She is the founder of the Annual MilBlog Conference. The MilBlog Conference is the premiere event of the year for military bloggers. President George W. Bush, U.S. Representative Adam Smith, GEN David Petraeus, LTG Mike Oates, LTG William Caldwell, RADM Mark Fox, MG Kevin Bergner, MG David Hogg and The Honorable Pete Geren have addressed previous conferences.

While living in Washington, DC, Andi was the Ambassador to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for Sew Much Comfort, a non-profit organization which makes and delivers, free of charge, special adaptive clothing for wounded service members. Andi has worked with several non-profits to help our wounded heroes and their families. She finds that work to be the most rewarding and meaningful of all.

Andi strives to find humor in the good, bad and ugly of life and is a firm believer that laughter has the ability to cure most ills.

  • Sempersteen

    Unacceptable. If this passes my husband will not be wasting any more time with the military. The only reason most servicemembers go career is because of that 20 year plan- who wants to deal with all the added hardship of military life when you could find some corporate job with the same benefits? I think the Dod needs to remember that you get what you pay for.

    • nelson

      not true at all, we do this job for commitment to our country. you dont join the Army to get rich, you do it because you want to do it. nobody force nobody to do this job. if that was your husband only reason to join the service, you are right”” he need to get out

      • spouse2000

        So sad that the only reason he joined was to retire early. Also sad that you think he is wasting time in the military.

        • Drew

          To all the people that say “tough ****” – screw you. I’ve done several deployments in god forsaken parts of the world, leaving my family at home. I didn’t like it, but I did it. I’ve even been seriously wounded doing it. I was promised a certain retirement plan for when I was done doing this dangerous job, and I’ll be damn if I stand idly while it gets taken away fom me

      • Eric

        I retired last year, Chief Petty Officer 21 years of service, 13 years of sea time, 13 deployments with one year in Iraq. Yes we do this job for the committment and for our country, however I can tell you that if not for my retirement pay now I would not be surviving on the outside. It is good to be patriotic, and love your job but if you keep getting a cut in benefits, pay and advancement then it makes it not so enjoyable. Cutting the 20 year retirement is going to cause nothing but trouble, with a military that is already downsizing, and advancments are getting tougher I believe we are going to have a hard time meeting our numbers and trying to recruit new personnel, especially knowing that now there are less benefits.

      • Ule Notknow

        “You don’t join the Army to get rich.” Not to worry. You’ll never ever get “rich” in the Army. Spend the prime of your life trying to make ends meet, risking your life, never-ending moves… If there wasn’t some light at the end of the tunnel who in their right mind would ever stay for 20 years of torture? Now they want to take even that away. Patriotism is well and good but a deal is a deal. Now, you hold up your end but DoD wants to renege. Lovely!! …but not at all surprising.

    • ForceRecon69

      Just think of all the wasted training time and money, not to mention the experience. This is just another attempt to downgrade the military

    • Jason

      I’m Active Duty in the US Military and this article totally ruined my day when I got this email from I have 13 years in service and my retirement plans are mostly centered around the pention I expect to receive when I reach 20 years. I will be 42 when I plan to retire. Too old to start fresh at a reputable company or being able to compete with the new generation of graduates coming out of college and entering the workforce. This is completely demoralizing for those Service Men and Women who are currently fighting for our country and taking the hardships that come along with the job as something that is necessary to reach that 20 year finish line. This is not how you “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”!!! This plan will ruin the lives of veterans and career military members who already have their lives and career paths planned out.

      • Jason

        I will be damned if I’m going to put my retirement in the hands of this economy’s stock market and watch everything I’ve fought for slowly deminish into scraps. I have no faith in this economy getting better anytime soon. I’m starting my training in 2 weeks for my first tour to Afghanistan and it terrifies me more about what lawmakers, Congress, and the Obama administration are doing to our country, then getting my head shot off by some Taliban junky or getting blown up by an IED.

    • No Class

      ain’t this some Bullshit!

    • This deal is done there will be a cut off date and if your behind the cut off date you will no longer get retirement the old way it will be the new way. The plans are already in place. I saw them when I went to ask about my own retirement. (I am sure I was not supposed to see them but they are already in place.)
      I don’t know the cut off date but my guess is that if you are getting ready to sign up with the miltitary get it in writing that you are part of the old 20 year plan if you don’t have it in writing you are not going to get it.
      The old way was not fair for anyone that was the spouse of a military member. My ex did 17 plus years he started messing around on purpose because he wanted out of his contract (even told his commander this is why he was doing it) Took it to a court martial level slept with an enlisted members wife just so he could get out . I lost my retirement he went into civilian work and ran off with the young secretary and all of our cash. So yeah the old system sucked too.

    • MSgt Bill Stengle

      Quite the mercenary wife, aren’t you? Why not let your husband make the decision. after all – it is his asse on the line, not your’s lady.

  • I will encourage my husband to retire if this happens. I am ANGRY about this decision.

    • Jason

      So far, it’s just a recommendation. It has to be approved by congress before it would go into effect. Congress may table it, amend it, or approve it. I suspect the grandfather clause might be restored in any congressional revision, but who knows? There are fewer veterans serving in the legislature today than at any other time in our history.

    • nelson

      good job, make sure he does

      • Lisa

        Way to be a jackass. People have a right to be upset. I “signed on the dotted line” and have done my duty well and faithfully for 17 years. Having the rules changed at this stage by a government that can’t even straighten out social security (which has money going in as much as out) is outrageous. Gee, Nelson, if you really ARE a servicemember, maybe you should just be grateful to serve – if you’re not in it for the paycheck on SOME level, why not just serve for free? It IS an honor to serve, but nobody can afford to risk their necks without being compensated. We’re not asking for raises; just to have the government honor our service by keeping up their end of the deal.

  • Sarah

    I agree that my husband would walk immediately upon finding a replacement job if this plan were enacted. He has never been in it for the guns and adrenaline, and this would be taking away his primary incentive for doing the job. I think he would feel very cheated to not be grandfathered in, for he would have made very different life/career plans at age 22 if he hadn’t been enticed by retirement at 42.

    My vote for a way for the military to save money goes toward cutting the per diems across the board. I can rant on that topic for hours, if you’d like. I don’t know how that would stack up to cutting retirements, but that’s where I personally would start instead (in case anyone important is listening and wants my two cents!)

    • SemperWife1999

      You’re an idiot! Cut our per diems! We are earned those. It’s bad enough already they cut the COLA. If your husband isn’t in it for the guns and the adrenaline then I would suggest he find new employment elsewhere. That’s their primary job. To go and kill the bad guys.

  • this will determine when dh get out…we are in year 18 and a half…because that half counts!!! LOL

    • nelson

      this only apply to new recruits, people that have 10ys or more dont apply to them

      • Dorothy37

        Where did you read that Nelson? The article above said it would not grandfather current service members.

        “Unlike past changes to the military retirement plan, which shielded current service mem bers from the changes, the plan presented by the Defense Business Board would not grandfather current service members. The plan would go into effect immediately and includes current and future service members.”

  • Petra

    If this happens without Grandfather clause, our military will shrink really fast because people will leave left and right – which then would start another incentive program, which then would be unfair to those who don’t get a bonus pay, and there we go again…

    • Jason

      Sadly, I think that’s what they want to happen. That way the medical and pension benefits coming out of the budget will sharply drop off over time. They want the “young blood” to keep rotating in, but not stick around to reap the benefits of the traditional military career.

      • Petra

        It’s those quick fixes to long-term problems that cause mess after mess…

  • James

    if this goes into effect we will see more 3-4 year minimal enlistments just to receive college GI bills, and.technical training, then the soldier will not reenlist. The Military will then have to spend more dollars to retrain a new recruit to replace the already trained corporal or sergeant who did not reenlist and instead, sought out a better paying civilian job utilizing his expensive military training. eventually you will have plenty of “Indians” but no “Chiefs” to lead them, and huge bill for training a 4 year item instead of a 20 year investment. This is a BAD, BAD policy call.

    • nelson

      The Army is not re-enlisting everyone anymore, only the one that qualified the Best. people that join the Army and they are not good enough, after 4 years they can get out and apply for a civilian job. By the way, it take courage to became an Indians and commitment to be Chief

    • Ryan

      You are totally correct in your statement!!!

    • ringleader

      you should refer to “slaves” and “masters” next time or “ho’s” and “pimps”

  • brnskin2012

    Richard Spencer should have given some thought to responsibility when American tax $$ were on the table. Did he give thought to the funding of the grandfather clause benefit for the thousands of active duty soldiers? When decisions were being made as to the distrbution of funds. His comment about life isn’t fair is insensitive, cold hearted and unwarranted. His attitude seems to be that as a retired Marine his GFC benefit isn’t affected by the change that he is so adamant about implementing. Be forewarned that if these changes take place there will be a mass exodus of servicemembers and it will be even harder to recruit, which will leave the country vulnerable. I believe that because of the DOD’s mismanagement of billions of tax dollars in weaponry and other unnecessary ideas (or building up countries) for decades is inexcusable and servicemembers should not have to sacrifice their 20yr military service grandfather clause benefit because of fraud, waste and abuse by those that have been entrusted by servicemembers and the American public to make sound decisions.

  • My brother and I were just talking about this possibility. I believe that those people currently in the military would be grandfathered in. I agree with some of the previous responses that it would cause some recruiting problems and other issues. Let me remind people that Guard and Reserve members who serve 20 years only get retirement upon turning, I think, 56. So even those who are serving in an active role(deployed in a war zone) will only receive retirement benefits when they turn that age. I know there is much waste in other ares of the DOD but we do need to be realistic about retirement . While I like the idea of getting immediate retirement after 20 years of service, we are living longer than when this policy was implemented. I don’t know what the answer is, but what ever happens, I hope that calm and considerate minds prevail.

    • Sarah

      I agree that it’s a LOT of money to keep people in pensions for the rest of their lives. Perhaps some changes in rates could be in order. But my outrage comes at the lack of grandfather clause. People who are already in made cost-benefit analyses of their life plans and factored in the retirement that they were offered when they joined. I don’t think it’s fair to change the rules of the game halfway through. But for new recruits, yes, they could change the system and see how it affects recruiting and retention. It may not continue to be a sustainable system, just like Social Security is proving to not be sustainable with an aging population, but I still think you can’t change the rules halfway through the game for people…

  • Voice of Reason

    This is a bad, bad policy idea. Retention would nearly go out the window. Training new personnel is very expensive, especially when they may only stay for a minimal stint. A career in the military is not like other careers, we’re talking about the defense of our nation here. And to think of implementing such an idea with no grandfather clause is dishonorable to those who promised to defend us. It’s not just unfair, it’s WRONG!!

    • Bob

      That is what happened in the late 60s with the “health bennies” we were SUPPOSED to get for life!

  • Dana

    I can see how this would be a BAD decision on many levels, but I understand the costs of retirement. BUT to not grandfather in people would be awful. We have 10 years in and my husband could easily make 2 or 3 times as much in the civilian world, but we stay in for the retirement and because we haven’t had a hard go of it like so many other families. But seriously whoever thought this was a good idea and then added that they wouldn’t grandfather people in clearly doesn’t have a clue what they are doing. I’m sure that won’t pass as is.

  • billy

    ok, whinners……… if you dont like it, then get out. ggeee if I dont like my job I would look for another, funny how many of you now talk about leaving cause you dont get a retiement like you want, they are giving you some thing. always heard yea all whin how your in for your country, hhmm your in for the benfits only. good luck getting that 2 or 3 times more money on the out side…… drive on and deal with it, its not all that bad……….

    • ET1 Webster

      Not whinning but with 17.5 years in I have more than earned my pension. I enlisted under a CONTRACT for retirement of 20 years. Doing this is the same as breaking a contract. When we get out of the military we know we will take a pay cut but to have to work 2 to 3 jobs because of not getting our retirement pay at 20 is BS. Go ahead and save money but grandfather those with over 12 so we have a chance to contribute enough for our retirement.

    • Dash

      Whinners??? are you serious??? The federal government has a constitutional obligation to provide for defense of this country with a military force. AN OBLIGATION, unlike the unconstitutional spending on pet projects and faucet of money pouring INTO other countries from our tax dollars.

      The service of soldiers is a strength we take for granted. If we lose our military strength, we all lose. Soft power and hard power are gone. The benefits of CAREER soldiers is the strength of our military. Take that experience away and you have a bunch of kids with guns applying the strategy of a video game. Retirements benefits are the carrot to any long-term career. One tries to maintain that passion, but on any given day may be discontent; it’s even harder when idiots who don’t know what they are doing are telling the Pentagon to cut billions of dollars AGAIN. Every year it’s, “Do MORE with LESS money!”

    • Dash

      If you honestly believe that your SILENCE is going to benefit you, you will become a victim; if you can’t learn to speak up when you see ignorance in action, you should be the one running for a hiding place – you will be next. Open your eyes to the wrong-doings of politicans who will receive full medical and retirement benefits after ONE – yes one – year of service —- no matter how bad they perform their jobs!!!! Let’s take that away to cut the budget and see who starts to cry.

    • TSgt Griffin

      Hmm…I guess you feel that serving is like taking a civilian job. Try telling my kids and my wife that. I choose to serve my country for the greater good. I knew nothing of entitlements when I joined 14 years ago. This new plan would screw many in my position. Did we screw the U.S. when we decided to serve? The funny part about all of this is where the money comes from. They are taking the diffrence from current servicemembers who are at retirment service and applying the new plan. The money is only changing hands. My info comes from AF times.

    • NavyPride

      You’re such an idiot!!! You can’t be in the military for saying something as stupid as that. The federal government uses the military as bullet catchers for their personal agenda’s and the first group they try to cut funds from is the military. They’re in essence turning their back on us and asking you at the same time to grin and bear it. Well haven’t we beared the brunt of their wars long enough. Luckily, I’ve already retired but even my monthly pension isn’t safe anymore. If they passed any legislation that took away from Active Duty, Retired or Disabled Vets I would be the first person to stand outside a recruiting station with a picket sign. I love my county and my government but they don’t love me or you or anyone that’s serving or has served!!!

    • John Speicher

      You were obviously dropped on the head as a child,… multiple times and I suspect on purpose. For you to frame a way of life as a “job” is unfounded and shows you could not have been previously in the military. Question Billy, were you denied entry and have some seething, underlying agenda because the military stated you weren’t what we were looking for? Additinally sir, you are a moron with syntax and grammar. Of course you support a plan that buthers the contractual compensation promised upon enlistment, becuase of your apparent inability to master the typewriter, speech, sentence organization and rhetoric.
      Serving because you can’t or won’t,

    • quillerm

      It’s great to get some input from the left wing. If we treated our military members as well as we do Unions it would triple their salaries, benefits and retirements. That means that the guy who spends his lunch time drinking beer and smoking dope at the GM plant, makes triple the salary of our military. His job is using a massive drill to put lug nuts on a wheel and makes $70 an hour, plus benefits to do this demanding job. Cut the Unions and get rid of the democrats that keep feeding them massive benefits.

      • WhatintheWorld

        It’s not the unions or the democrats. The way I see it is that it is this so-called leadership everyone runs to and thinks they actually give a u know what about them. Republicans are right there, too. They all use the military as pawns, unions, too. Any working class man is just a pawn for their political gain. If you think repubs give a darn, they’ve got you fooled. It’s coming down to everyman/woman for themselves. I’ll tell you exactly what I see. I see everyone coming after the working man. Gov. Walker and repubs in Wisconsin…they went after unions first. Now, others are thinking, “hey, let’s go after the military next!”. I wonder what group will be after unions and military? It isn’t about left and right anymore, it’s about rich and poor, because they’re working on getting rid of the middle class!
        Tell me why these folks in office left, right, and center are getting better than $70 per hour and leaving their benefits in tact?! To do the demanding job of putting our benefits and retirement on the line!

    • quillerm

      Billy needs to spend a couple of weeks in Afghanistan or Iraq, His left wing ideology won’t make him many friends.

      • WhatintheWorld

        I don’t think Billy is left wing. He’s just wrong. That could be left, right, or center! Better start looking out for number one, because the right is coming after the working class, too! If you don’t think so, just sit back and watch!

  • jessica

    It seems like they are always trying to take away from the military pay. I jsut dont understand it. I have been researcing this topic all over the internet but cannot seem to find one article about they way they are handling people that are over 20 years already. I see that instead of getting the full retirement check, they have divided the people already active duty into groups that will earn an annuity of the “old plan” as well as eceive the TSP account when they are old enough. My husband has a little over 21 years in as we speak so has anyone read how that will work for him? He is already being told to drop his retirement papers this week in the event the plan does pass because he wouldnt fall under the new plan then, but I want him to finish his 24 years if possible.

    • jessica

      My apologies for all the typos. I should have proofed it before commenting, but I am at work so I typed this in a hurry.

    • john

      once you have 20 you get the 50%, but the 21 to 24 years is TSP.

  • I don’t like it but I’m not in the least surprised by it. I agree with everyone who said, you will see more and more people join to get certificates, job skills and a GI Bill and then get out. What incentive would they have to stay. Tying up their retirement in a 401K, even suggesting it while we are on the brink of possibly another economic melt down is laughable.

  • Kim

    When is this being voted on?

  • billy


  • dave

    I agree with Billy. We do need to be thankfull for what we have.

    • quillerm

      Billy is probably a Union guy making a Colonels pay for wiping the dust of headlights in a Car Plant. The average military 20 year retirement is just enough to make you ineligible for food stamps.

  • Dana

    This afternoon, should got in effect in a week

  • Andi

    I haven’t seen any information that this has even been presented to Congress, let alone debated or readied for a vote. The stories simply say that the DBB unveiled this plan on the 21st. We have no way yet of knowing whether or not this plan will be adopted. As I understand it, there’s a long way to go before it would be implemented. IF it’s ever implemented.

    • Kim

      Thank you. I was confused because I try to keep up with the news, saw this on Facebook and I was shocked to not have heard about it. My husband has 14 years… I hope this doesn’t pass!

  • Vic

    As a lot of people on here have stated, my husband would get out, or my wife would get out, or I would leave immdediately. Where you going to go. The job market is in the tubes and it’s not getting any better anytime soon. Think about it before you jump out of the ship for another one.

    • ET1 Webster

      why whould we risk our lives if we are not paid for it or out family is taken care of?

  • Vic

    Forgot to mention that I “retired” in 2000 after 25 years of service at the tender young age of 43 as a CW4 aviator.

    • rose

      Be honest with yourself, would you stay in 25 yrs if you did not have that guaranteed retirement? Probably not. I don’t think you have much room to cynical on this issue.

  • brnskin2012

    My apology to Mr. Spencer….You know Andi they also make a choice to volunteer to defend the United States of America….a choice that every America has…but few choose. Every soul is precious and to volunteer to sacrifice one’s life for freedom/democracy… not only for his family, his fellow Americans ,but foreigners as well (Afghan/Iraq/Korean wars etc)is a very unselfish act and in my opinion no amount of monetary compensation or benefits could ever replace a young precious soul that has laid down his life for men (known/unknown) I believe what pennies/benefits that our government pays to soldiers is unsatisfactory because they have EARNED that and then some. My opinion they are not compensated enough. If it wasn’t for those bravehearts we wouldn’t have a free society,democracy,and the right to live, love and the American Dream…..what say you?

    • Andi

      Well said!

      • connie

        I don’t think you could have said it any better, then what you did!

  • Heidi

    Just as another viewpoint…my husband will hit 20 years at the age of 37 this year. But since he is in the Air National Guard, he still won’t get his retirement pay until 55 or 60 (not entirely what the latest is). It would be interesting to know what the overall cost of this benefit is (how many people retire from the military, enlisted vs. officers, etc.) and I agree with the poster who noted that perhaps the 20 year minimum needs to be extended somewhat or consider a reduction in benefits paid out. Yes, a Grandfather Clause (or some kind of prorating) is necessary if they are going to make such a sweeping change.

  • Dana

    you joined cause you needed a job and some where for you to have some one take care of your family. this is why you joined. iam for all the soldiers, 100 percent, its the soldier baggage which you brought with you…. we should not have to take care of spouse and kids. a PVT with 5 kids, no wonder they on food stamps, we should not let them in if they are in that case, just a burden to tax payer….

    • emi

      So you know, if you are trying to enlist in active duty and have more than 3 dependants, you are automatically disquallified.

    • Lenore

      I agree with you on the PVT with 5 kids point, but technically, its better that this person at least serve in the military than be a total drain on society. However, the reason the military attempts to take care of spouses, is because it still runs an antiquated Cold-War system, where service members move every 2-3 years, making it very difficult for the spouse to find long term employment, or maintain a career. My husband has been in for 10 years, we have no kids, and this is the first time we’ve lived in a location where I haven’t been able to work, and it’s a horrible feeling. I would definitely have a job if there were anything to apply for here in the countryside of Germany. I can’t even work on the base, because they just cut all the GS positions on the civilian side, so there isn’t even anything to apply for. Tough times out there.

  • Dana


    it has pasted and every one with 14 years or below will be effective

  • pete


    reason we are in this mess if like your CSM, raking in all the dough and bennie and do nothing, we all no what CSM do. NOTHING.. good luck finding him a job.

  • SSG_B

    Does anyone have a link to the passing of this bill? I got 13 years and half years in, so if this is going in effect…I am out.

    • spouse2000

      And what will you do out?

    • Andi

      As I understand it, it’s not even in the form of a bill at this point. It’s simply a recommendation by the DBB. I’m not sure most lawmakers have even been informed of this proposal yet. And truthfully, I find it hard to believe it would be implemented as offered.

    • MilSp

      Here is the site that I submitted my humble opinions to regarding to the proposed legislative plan to overhaul military retirement:

  • pete

    Lenore well there is some things you give up for the bennie, noww that you made your choice you want to complain about it. if you so unhappy, have ur hubby get out, or do ur time and get out. asking for hand out is not working no more, sorry about your luck, but do the gov owe u a job cause ur hubby is in army ????

  • Kris

    I think we should begin writing and letting our concerns know the Mr. Spencer, who want to speak of “fairness”

    • Kris

      oops hit the reply botton without doing some major wordsmithing…

  • Julia

    Think clearly here. No amount of name calling and insulting one another on this board will help the situation. Also, there is NO WAY that they can get away without grandfathering at least the ones at !5 years and up. The military members who are at that number did not join because of the economy… most of them anyway. Further, there is no possible way this could have been approved by Congress today. It is not a done deal. I understand the financial issues on all sides, but don’t think this particular proposal is ready to go before our lawmakers. We need to work together and stop being rude to each other. We need to do exactly what Kris suggested, contact the members of this board… and it would be wise to be proactive and begin calling, emailing, writing all of our representatives in D.C.

  • PC27613915

    Unionize the Armed Forces

  • jemc50

    As usual, a committee thinks the military should have a retirement system similar to corporate/business when the military is nothing like a corporation or business. And, it shouldn’t be looked at in the same light as business. Most corporations do not have to put up with the s*** that military members put up with. When was the last time the mailroom employee of a Forbes 500 company had to deploy to Afghanistan as a requirement of their employment? Military members are put in harms way regularly; regardless of whether it is a training exercise or actual combat.

    A lot of lip service is paid to the military and how much they are appreciated, but as usual, it is insincere. These young women and men put service before self and, with this proposal, end up being unappreciated.

    If anything, any change that comes about should “grandfather” those currently serving or give them the choice of the retirement they prefer. My own idea of change would be to include a 10 year retirement benefit (25%) payable to the retiree at age 60, keep the current 20 year and over retirement. These young airmen, soldiers, sailors, and Marines earn it, more so than the civilian sector.

    As a side note, should retention suffer and an outflow of experienced personnel occur because this change is implemented. The loss of combat experienced members will result in a hollow force, something the President has said time and time again would not happen. Keeping a viable fighting force takes more than just counting beans.

  • SRW

    Here is the link to the brief from the Defense Business Board so you can see the details and not just what the reporters decide to print.

    • Andi

      Thanks for the link. I’ve updated the post with the link so that people can actually go to the presentation and take a look at the DBB’s findings. Answers some questions, leaves some unanswered. I encourage everyone to look at the slide deck themselves.

  • Theresa Pierce

    It always amazes me how the people that propose the new plan sugar coat it so much and make it sound like it’s such a better deal that what we all have now. Personally, cut the spending somewhere else but NOT with the soldiers. Especially when they’re there to lay their lives down for this country of ours. So after a lifetime of service, 20 years or more, the soldier is entitled to receive retirement pay and benefits IMMEDIATELY! Under this new plan – good luck.. you won’t see benefits until you turn 59-1/2. It’s a 401k plan by any other name. How does this benefit our soldiers and their family? When they get out, they look forward to that extra income as not all soldiers get that great paying job after retirement.

    Personally, I believe this new program’s benefits are one-sided. The government benefits – our politicians benefit – but not us – not the soldiers. If this passes, a majority of the soldiers that’s in now will get out – and I’m talking about soldiers who have developed and honed in on their skills… soldiers with fighting experience… leaders… NCO’s and Officers. Those are the ones that will leave. What’s going to happen to the new recruits? Who’s going to show them the ropes? Who’s going to be able to tell them what it’s like out there and how to keep themselves and their buddies safe? Recruiters are going to have to bust their buns again trying to keep soldiers IN and trying to get soldiers to join. This country is great and strong and keeps the world peace because of the strength of our military. Heaven help us all if this is implemented.

  • Tenn Slim

    As a retired USN 23 year vet, a retired Aerospace Worker, I have experienced both set of proposals, in action.
    I would offer. SAVE daily, SPEND Wisely, NONE of the payer entities will honor thier debts unless mandated by law.
    LAWS change, life is NOT fair. Cover your own six, as well as you can. Gold, Silver, Platinum, always works.
    Semper fi

  • AWED

    I am amazed how someone, who walk inwto their building, that is protected by members of the armed forces, can possibly say that thewould want to take the benefits of our service members away. It is amazing that congress never look at their own salaries or benefits. How often are they away rom their families. They complain when they have to work long hours. What about the people who are away from their families for months at a time. The ones who never see their kids because they were out defending someone else’s freedom. They are talking abo,ut going corporate, but I don’t see CEO’s, or members of Congress, for that matter sacrificing their lives outside of their cushy offices, sleeping in bunkers, with bullets fyling over their heads.
    Thois has to be a joke.

    • WhatintheWorld

      You are right!

      This so-called bill should not even be discussed. I see that this is the new thing. Sure, this is with the military…it’s target group #2, wonder who’s next? What I mean is, I see people like Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, some repubs trying to strip people of rights and benefits all the time. They are trying it with unions, too. Now, it’s the military’s turn. Anyone but their nice cushy jobs, fat retirements, etc. It’s ok if as long as it is not them! How one man or woman can just wake up and say “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s slash some working people’s benefits and retirements and that’ll save a ton of money.” Looks like these “leaders” are trying to lead by putting their feet on the necks and backs of the middle class. Creating an even greater gap between the wealthy and soon to be poor…there won’t be a middle class anymore if they keep it up!

  • james

    war is over, come home and deal with what the gov is offering you… or just get out.

    we will be ok with out all you whinners that sacifice so much, gee you being paid for all that. all I hear is give me give me give me…… we gave and you gave. game over.

    lot of you posting saying bullets flying and all this so bad stuff you went through, some Iam sure did but most did not, you just want to hang on to the coat tails of the ones that did…..

    • aviatorwife

      Maybe we should get rid of the volunteer military… pay them worse, take away their benefits and require every 18 year old to serve 4 years before they may enroll in college. This way all of the sons and daughters of America can understand and be apart of the sacrifice. Recruitment issues solved.

  • aviatorwife

    My husband has always been a die hard lifer type person. However, he has said over and over that if this goes through he is DONE. Millions spent on his pilot training will go to waste. I dont know how they cant grandfather current active duty people in since I am pretty sure their contract says something about retirement benefits. The DOD can hold you to their terms of that contract but we cant hold them?

  • james


    we made a promise an now we can not deliver. sorry

    we paid you for you sewrvice abd hate 2 see you leave but you have to do what you have to do.

  • Tim

    The annual defense budget is $700 billion a year on average. Military retirements make up $25 Billion annually, about 3.5% of the total budget. We all know how much waste that could be cut out of the budget and still be able to take care of the retiree’s. Sad. This was proposed before, DOD panels came up with their conclusions on the same issues in 2001, 2004, & 2006 and nothing changed. This has to be approved by the House & Senate and signed into law. Also, next year is an election year, no congressman or Senator is going to touch this with a 10 foot pole. If you read the article they used the word “could” a lot. Stay calm, people will be grandfathered. I believe changes will be made in the future (5 -10 years) but not immediately. Veterans groups are going to be all over this and they have a lot of influence on the Hill. If you are that concerned, start calling your Congressman or Senator in your district right now. Chill people!

  • This message is for Billy! I am currently working as a Safety inspector in the military. My job is equivalent to an OSHA inspector and CSI depending on the job of the day. I have numerous certifications under my belt that has made me a very valuable asset to the military. If I decide to get out of the military and join the corporate world, I can easily triple, if not quadruple my current E-5 pay in the military. As of right now, if I retire from the military, I will probably retire as an E-7 which will equate to approximately $2000 a month. If you say I am not going to receive my full retirement benefits (which is the only reason I will continue to stay in the military) simply because I am not grandfathered in, then you area dumb jackass who has OBVIOUSLY never served your country. I am so tired of defending your rights to freedom of speech when you clearly are not grateful for what we do for you and the rest of this country. If you don’t like what we do for you, get out of our country. What a idiot!!!

    • RICK

      This is also for billy….. I am an E-6 in the military with 6 years of service and i do plan on retiring with the 20 year retirement plan. If you think i can’t find a job….. you are wrong. With my SOF(special operation Forces/operator) specialties and Security clearance, i can find a lot of jobs in the civilian sector that require my experiences. The Us army already invested millions of dollars in to my training and many of my friends training who would leave the military and work for private contracting.

      Actually many of us do go over the call of duty and selfless service to protect the constitution of the country, but we do not do it for the stupid idiots like you. After deployments after deployments and training other countries….. you think i didn’t fulfill my patriotism for the United States after my 1st contract…….. I did my part….. What have you done…….?

      Joined the military and experience any combat related units and then speak. What a Donkey.

  • Jim, USN Ret.

    I think everybody is forgetting something: military retirement was is not/was not guaranteed in any contract signed by anyone who has ever entered the military. It is based solely on statutory requirements (i.e., Federal law) and is subject to change at any time. Contrary to many of the comments, the retirement system has changed at various times during the past 30 years, along with other changes to benefits that were previously “sacred cows.” These changes affected me, but instead of crying over spilled milk, I served 20 years and then some (26 years total).

    Remember: It’s a privilege to serve in the military; not a right. And the key word in the last sentence is “serve.” There are no guarantees–whether in the military or corporate America.

    • WhatintheWorld

      The very people putting this idea out there are being protected by the very people they are stabbing in the back!

  • james



    • The Jabbawocky

      I pay for your medicare, social security, welfare, medicaid, government pension…guess who is paying more for who. Please get back to work Pops. Im getting out anyway and doubling my salary, I love the civilian world. I have no debt, and live within my means…oh yeah I can spell too.

  • Sparks

    I agree with the part that the people not serving 20 or more would have something. But I dont agree with the no grandfather in part as i am at 20 and will be fifty this year, where does that leave me and the others at this point.

  • I gave up my pension to follow my husband around with the military. He has 13 years in, and we crunched the numbers and are counting on his pension after 20 to support our family. The system SHOULD be overhauled, but start it with recruits and those on their first enlistment so that they have the facts BEFORE wasting their life.

  • Proud_Mil_Spouse

    I think it interesting that only two of seven executives on the task force ever served in the military. Both left before 20 years and without any retirement benefit. How about getting a balanced “task force” to examine the issue??

  • Thx4YourService

    Interesting comment from “Jim, USN Ret.” concerning military benefits compared to the contract a military member signs when they join.

    So the question is whether our benefits are implied only by existing regulations at the time of joining as well as their changes (bad or good) at the time of your completed 20 years; or are they guaranteed “freeze frame” benefits owed you at the end of your 20 yrs service based on when you joined?!

    I would like a military legal expert to chime in on this topic since no one here seems to be able to reference any law specifically! We are just saying what we think and what we have seen happen over the years!

    I personally don’t remember all my retirement benefits being spelled out on my official contract that I signed back in 1991 and I doubt many do? I would actually have to go through all my boxes to find those initial service documents and see.

  • Thx4YourService

    My mind drifts back to the legality of Jim’s statement “It is based solely on statutory requirements (i.e., Federal law) and is subject to change at any time.”

    Currently I have a federal/DoD/military regulation (USAF AFI36-2303 Service Retirements; 8 Sep 06 with updates in Mar 2010) that states that “ It prescribes procedures for carrying out laws, policies, and Department of Defense (DoD) directives that govern retirements for service.”

    Within this document, my military retirement pay plan is spelled out legally. To me that’s a contract/law based on my service dates of enlistment and retirement and should be counted on beginning to end. The unique thing is that it explains the changes made in past years to the retirement plan but incorporates the grandfathering process for the year period that took effect. I fall under the High-3 plan.

  • Chief 1893

    A EXTRAORDINARILY BAD IDEA submitted by DBB. How about we get our heads out of our butts and boost the manpower instead,! THE writings on the wall America, we’re going to need every healthy war fighting American we can muster to protect and defend this great country. How do you expect us to fight 4 wars with reduced manpower and Stop paying us or slash our benefits? Come on really! DOD is an unique organization made up of the finest Americans the country has to offer, we build, we fight and we go where no one else would dare go, and face death daily! Leave our Sailors and Soldiers the hell alone so we can focus.

  • Chief 1893

    The single worst idea DBB can think up! Who is the team of experts that is actually dreaming this junk up? How about instead of removing the one retention item that countless DOD warriors sign up for in the hopes of getting one following 20 years of being directly in harms way and giving the ultimate sacrifice, our lives, you leave the 20 year retirement alone. The writings on the wall America, we need to boost our manpower in order to meet the global demands placed on our Sailors and Soldiers , how do you expect us to fight 4 wars and then stop paying us, really?

    • Chief 1893

      And another thing, we build, we fight and we die defending this country and the citizens of this great land. During this time of uncertainty, we should be certain of this, leave our Sailors and Soldiers alone so we can focus on fighting the wars! This is stinking ridiculous!

  • Thx4YourService

    I know in our fast paced world our attention spans for reading long articles is VERY low, but I would seriously read through the “” site. This EXACTLY mirrors what the military member experiences with the double speak of the military and goverment (legislative and judicial) and scarely it most likely will be repeated in Congress to deal with our current Govt debt and military benifits that apparently were never PROMISED to you in writing anyay!!!!! I wish my supervisors would have pointed me in this direction long ago. Maybe they were just as unlearned on the topic as I was. Blind leading the blind I guess.

  • Greg

    If they want to make the military more civilian-like than I have a suggestion. Pay us overtime for more than 8 hours per day plus extra for working holidays. Physical fitness will be done on your own, no pt test. I could keep going on this. The wear and tear on your body from military service is uncompairable to any civilian work force. Plus civilians do not voluntarily leave their families behind to go to face death in the unknown. Why would anyone want to serve in the military if they are going to destroy the benifits that keep people in. Suggestion to fix the debt problem. Congress gets paid for the rest of their lives after serving as little as 4 years. Send them all to battle and determine if they deserve the lifetime payments that they recieve.

  • Tony

    The military is a uniquely separate component of American society that is authorized by the Constitution and common sense. It is not a civilian workforce and carries a much bigger burden in the DOD than its civilian counterparts and it seems we’re more intent on sustaining a bloated bureaucracy and “supporting” activities than the actual warfighter. These “supporting” elements are definitely intent on slitting our throats to support their careers and paychecks. Now I’m gonna slam the DOD civilian side as I just finished a year in Afghanistan where the average contractor was being paid double or triple what we are paid (and there were lots!) only to return to my current job which is 75% civilian. I keep being denigrated by these GS/contractor folks who according to a federal ranking scale technically outrank me (E7/16 years active)…..however in my dealings with them which I have done everyday for the last 2 years all I see are what would be considered equivalent to an E-4 mentality with them both responsibility and performance-wise. They don’t move unless they want to, deploy for long periods of time unless there is big money in it, are free to quit or look for employment elsewhere anytime, are able to go home EVERY NIGHT to their family, can focus solely on one job or task while having little professional requirements/standards other than their job description, have high tolerance for incompetence and aren’t required to DIE as part of their deal. All this while being slowly sidled up more and more to the military in all the “nice” spots so they can be jealous of a 20-year retirement pension which is subject to individual service stipulations and possible recall to duty. Not Fair??? The service takes a toll on its members that it seems some people just aren’t understanding so I say to all civilians who see fit to examine the military from their cubicle: GET YOUR A*& TO THE FRONT, DO IT FOR 20 YEARS AND THEN TELL ME YOUR OPINION OR PROPOSED PLAN

  • Petra

    If you’re really convinced that this is the average service member’s daily schedule, I suggest you lay off the colored pills for a while and go check with a combat unit. Or a MEDEVAC unit. Work with the guys for a month and enjoy all your time off. Also, the “you get more vacation” is getting an old one. If an office worker takes 14 days off, with good planning those 14 days can turn into 3 weeks. A servicemember takes 14 days off, and 2 weeks is exactly what he or she gets. That much about free weekends…

    You, sir, seem to absolutely hate anything military related, which is your prerogative. But to come to a support website for military spouses and spout this nonsense is more than just baiting, it’s respectless and uncalled for.

  • Alton

    Ok, we are talking about this 20 year plan. So uhh, how many federal and state and city jobs ALSO have a plan like that? Answer, all of them. Now they also have a 401 plan (we used to have the US savings bound plan, (which was useless) and now we too have something like the 401 too. Here is another point. Some State employees employees do not pay into SS because they have a retirement plan that is comparable (so is ours). Why do we also pay into SS if we had this retirement plan (20 years)? Me? I was offered early retirement at 16 and a half years, and i took it, then i found out when i worked for the government again that THEY get 2 1/2 times what i got for the same job, plus overtime and leave/ sick time in excess of 60 days. And if I didn’t like the place i could put in for another job somewhere else. Of course in the end I had to take another disability retirement (or a constructive discharge) but the pay for civil service is better. With the retirement at 20 well it’s hard to overlook that.

  • Dave

    I have been in for 16 years and been deployed 5 times. I have over 80 days in vacation because I havent had the time to take it. Do you really think I have had more days off than the normal joe. Do the math. By the breakdown of your times there I see a former military member. No doubt wishing he would have stayed in, or maybe forced out because he did something he wasnt supposed to be doing. Come try my boots on for a little while then run your mouth. I am an American Soldier and have spent a third of my carrer in a different country, and still not done yet. Go grab a latte from starbucks, have a seat in a nice air conditioned room and come up with something better to write about. VR, the guy still slinging and dodging bullets for you.

  • PULP

    Billy, Billy, Billy! If you have made life plans based on the fact that you would be earning a pension in twenty years instead of trying to establish a career in the civilian market during that time.Then to have the rug swept from under your feet:(
    “Gravy train” really! You should be ashamed. I encourage you to share these feelings with a service member in person and see how that works out for you.

  • Jen

    My husband plans to stay the 20 + years. The main reason he enlisted was for the GI Bill and retirement benefits. Granted he enjoys the idea of working for a greater cause but still the insentives where the enticement.. He will graduate nursing school long before his enlistment is up so if they do change the benefits he will not re-enlist as he will make more more in the private sector vs. the military. The military is not just about men and women on the battlefield trained in combat. There are thousands of positions in healthcare, technology, intelligence, etc. that required special education and university degrees. If the military takes away retirement benefits they potentially lose the talent of doctors, lawyers, nurses, computer techs, and all the other high paying jobs I don’t even know about that the military pay pennys for. The military would spend for civilian contrators to do this work. Do they honestly think a civilian doctor for example is going to work for the military on military pay???? NO…They will want civilian doctor pay…so where does that leave the government saving money? Thanks!

  • Brian

    James, I don’t know what military you are familiar with. Here is mine: Formation at 0530. PT until 0700. Report at duty station and begin work at 0800. Lunch from 1200-1300. Work from 1300-1730. Take work home and work from 1900-2100. That’s a 60 hour work week and doesn’t even include the times I also have to work on the weekends or include deployments.



  • SgtPsWifeyHooah

    My husband has been serving for 11 years has 5 tours under his belt, while he is army, this is still a one team one fight battle. I started a petition on to gain support and momentum for those of us who disagree with this. I am trying to fight this on my own which is fine I will, but battles are won with armies… Please, help me in this fight, go and sign this petition… I have contacted congressman, senators, I have done a lot of footwork against this and will continue to do so. SOMETHING has GOT to give in this situation.

  • GuahanSoldierForLife

    If I could do this unitl my bones become brittle I will. I’m here for the long haul regardless of where my military career takes me. I didn’t join for all the “glorious” benefits, I joined to contribute something to my country. I’m not even from the United States but I’d rather do this then to leech off of government aid. THAT’S THE TRUTH!!!

    I, J.O., do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

  • Soldier for life

    James, whoever you are, you are obviously a very sad person who has never served a day in uniform. Unfortunately our service and sacrifice make it possible for you to spout your hate for miliary personnel. I have some advice for you. MOVE TO CHINA!!!

  • Navwife

    First of all every branch made of exceeded recruiting goals because of sharp cuts in personnel.
    I really don’t know of any military member that would stay for any period of time with out the 20 year pension. My husband wouldn’t stay in. He could get paid the same for a much safer job that would allow him to spend holidays and birthdays with me and our children. Oh and he wouldn’t have to work sometimes for 48 hours or more straight. My husband and I have talked about this and we honestly believe our government is working on phasing out the military all together and making it a fully civilian force. I do think this is leading to more degradation of our nations patriotism.

  • Petra

    You are an embarrassment for the US education system. Oh and those caps? There’s a button for that…

  • Dr Bjerkebek

    Great comments all. If you only want to vent great. Better is to google your senator and congressman for contact information, cut and paste these same comment (be polite) in an email to them.

    Make your voices heard – this change to retirement benefits will likely happen since most of America sees it as a ridiculous benefit. And its true. Without these enlightening comments for context, the 20 year retirement looks “gold plated”.

  • joan

    This crazy idea will not grab hold, don’t worry. The 20 year pension is the holiest of holies

  • Craig

    I just picked up the new Marine Corps Times and could not believe what I have seen. I’ve been in the Marines now for 18 ½ years striving to retire at twenty. The biggest incentive for me was the 20 year fixed retirement. There is no way in bloody hell I would have gone through all of the deployments, the time away from my three kids and wife for the same old civilian retirement plan. The Defense Business Board can sock rocks! Don’t compare apples to oranges……the civilian sector is not the military, and we don’t want your proposed retirement plan. My wife is just as unhappy about this new “proposed” plan as I am. The sacrifices that my wife has made, my kids have made, and I have made mean nothing to these people. What a slap in the face to us all.

  • Joseph

    I retired from the Air Force in 1995 and I was told that when I retire after 20 yrs I get free MEDICAL and VA Benifits. Bull they lied – I have to pay for medical, no schooling, and I expect by the time they finish cutting – when I die I’ll get a wood box and boombox playing TAPS (No Honor Guard). Yes – we joined to die and support our country. It is a hard life for 20 yrs if you are mentally able to take it. I vote for no change to the current system, our military members deserve it.

    • Kirra

      Great post!! Lets hope you get your boombox…gee, by the way it’s going that might be too much to expend for someone giving their blood sweat and YEARS of sacrifice. Thank you for defending our country!! I am with you on this!!!!!

  • Insanity

    We have a voluntary military force at the present time. Make the proposed changes and lets see how quickly this changes?? One word…can you say “draft!”

  • David

    I’ve served 10 years so far. I was willing to go 20 as long as I recieve my pension. If my pension isn’t immediate after retirement then I just wasted my time. The rank I am at now is management. I can’t just walk in somewhere and expect to receive that position with comparable pay, maintaining my lifestyle. If my benefits are not going to be present after 20 I don’t know how I can manage my life while I am starting somewhere at the bottom at the age of 40. I have been specially trained to suit a military function that honestly doesn’t translate to the civlian sector. Many jobs in the service are like that. I devoted my time to military for the same reasons people devote their time to a coporation or company; job security, advancement, and loyalty. It just sucks that our top execs are running us like ENRON.

  • ringleader

    I really hope this passes! Now all the shit bags with tenure will get out and leave only the dedicated.

  • corsair

    One thing that many forget is that the current 20 year retirement was established when life expectancy was many years younger, and when military pay was not on par with civilian pay. When the military went all volunteer, pay had to be adjusted to be competitive with with the US job market. The DoD is now faced with servicemen retiring in their early 40’s and living another 40 years. Where do you think the dollars come from to cover this and the family medical?

    • Les

      Are you jealous of someone that put thier life on the line for your freedoms?? You could’ve joined!!

  • quillerm

    The military should be compensated for being being forced to work 24/7 with no opportunity to object to the length of their workday or place of assignment. They should be compensated for high risk assignments in combat areas. That should triple their salary and then we can talk about retirement and 60 year old Infantrymen fighting in the field. The Thrift Savings Plan Federal Retirement System is a ripoff. Military members barely make enough to make it to the next payday and deployments always wipe out their savings. The average TSP recipient makes less than $900 per month after 20 years, far less than the average military retiree. And Federal employees on average have more income to inves tt in the TSP and do are not subject to deployments. This is a terrible scam being run on our military members.

  • quillerm

    For those who retire at E-7 and below your military retirement is just enough to make you ineligible for State and Federal assistance programs. In other words, if you were a normal guy on the street and lost your job, State and Federal compensation programs would pay you over $2500 a month. As a retiree you make about $14-1800 a month. Thank you for your Service.

  • quillerm

    The military should be compensated for being being forced to work 24/7 with no opportunity to object to the length of their workday or place of assignment. They should be compensated for high risk assignments in combat areas. That should triple their salary and then we can talk about retirement and 60 year old Infantrymen fighting in the field. The Thrift Savings Plan Federal Retirement System is a ripoff. Military members barely make enough to make it to the next payday and deployments always wipe out their savings. The average TSP recipient makes less than $900 per month after 20 years, far less than the average military retiree. And Federal employees on average have more income to inves tt in the TSP and do are not subject to deployments. This is a terrible scam being run on our military members.

    • corsair

      So, what you are saying is that a E-6 with 16 years should be making $145,000 a year?

      • quillerm

        If you added in overtime, which for combat troops would be 8 hours regular pay plus 16 hours overtime (base pay plus 1/2 per hour) in a combat zone it would easily come to $145,000 per year. The soldiers life is at risk 24 hours a day in the combat zone.

  • quillerm

    Last year the Federal Government spent 50 Billion on military retirements. In the same year the Federal Government spent 155 Billion on benefits for Illegals. Now where should the cuts be made?

  • Steven Laick

    This is Fair?

    Is it fair that the military soldier must move several times in their career while the private sector works to pay for their family home and have it paid off in 30 years. We move a lot and spend more money everytime we do move to reestablish residence enroll our children in schools to serve this nation. Funny though when you think about the whole thing a congress man only has to serve one term and yet they get a check the rest of their lives. A soldier who serves only 20 without a grandfather clause will get nothing. These are the people making the descisions on behalf of the people who provide the very freedoms in which they enjoy. What is fair. Who are these people anyway? Oh I get it they must be all Y generation everyone gets a trophy even if they lose. Is that really fair to promote everyone is a winner when they don’t give a Gold Medal in the Olympics for last place. If you are reading this contact your congress person and notify them of what you think. Don’t allow your voice to be heard venting amongst friends and family allow them to hear your voice, demand it. Our families and our sacrafice are worth it. The four most honorable professions as spoken in all halls is Doctor, Lawyer, Politician, and Military service. Only two of them today hold more weight than the others. (Doctor and Milititary Service) if you did not catch my innuendo. I guess the Lawyers and the Polititians don’t like having us on their list anymore almost like Teachers. Lets face it if we did not have the teachers none of us would have obtained the position of the Four “most honorable professions”


    Steven Laick

    soon to be retired and without a retirement for 23 years of service.

  • ADC Fury USNR Ret

    Well !! Most of us old Guys ,Have been Saying !, BHO wants this country to Fail , so the Muslims can walk in to Take over all ,of what we have Worked for ,Freedom !!! Hitting the Military in the Stomach,Will get the Youngens ,to hang it up ,Others will have a Hard time, keeping the Tempo as it is !!. We are Streached as it is ,You Cant run a Conue Club ,without good people, that will get crapped on every five minutes . Is there Waste !? . Sure Is ! 432 Congressman,100 Senators, And a useless piece of crap at the Top ! They keep getting Raises ,plus Perks ,and you all get the Sludge .What makes this country great!, is its Military Securing the Freedoms ,they enjoy . Its Discusting ,to see these people go around the Country ,Begging for your Votes, Then Kick you under the Bus like Road Kill!. And THE TEA PARTY IS WRONG ??,Terriosts ,they call them .No ! Warriors !, It is these Professional Politicians .are the Enemy of this Country, Notice ! none will chop their Salries !!! You do their Dirty work and then take it in the Shorts !! I love My Country ! But They cant be part of It. A 41 yr Navy Veteran

  • quillerm

    The fact remains that military members are not compensated for overtime, which would triple their salary. By keeping military salaries low, the government ends up paying less in retirement benefits than is owed to the military member. DOD, Union employees, State and Federal Workers are all paid for overtime, and their retirements are usually based on their ‘high three’ compensation years which includes overtime. But military retirement is based on ‘base’ salary without any adjustments. The sad truth is that reducing military retirements is like the government stealing from someone that they have already mugged on several other occasions. ‘No good deed shall go unpunished!’

  • quillerm

    Lets talk money, the average Teacher in Wisconsin makes $56,000 per year in salary and a total of $100,000 in benefits per year. Keep in mind that the average Teacher works 9 months of the year. That equates to a Major in the Armed Forces if you adjust for the 9 months of duty. The teachers also get 1 1/2 per hour additional overtime pay, not afforded military members. Not bad for a stable job, no deployments, no risk t life, and the ability to create personal wealth in real estate, etc. Are our combat troops due more in compensation than teachers? Yes.

  • This is a slap in the face to the military, I have 19 years of service and now they change our benefits for there benefit…

  • Spivan

    They want to axe our retirement plan that we serve 20 years for and yet I hear no mention of changes to the fact that one term served in Congress gets you benefits for life. These people need to get their reality checked.

  • chiefm

    I retired as a CMSGT in 1997 with a total of 39 1/2 yrs and a total of 24 1/2 yrs of active duty. I had active army, army reserve, air national guard time and then went back on active duty in the Air Force at 41 and retired at almost 58. I had continuous service from Apr 1958 to Oct 1997. If anyone thinks they can retire on their military pay when they do retire, I would sure as hell like to know how you do it when you are married, they take out SBP, Fed an State taxes. I received 61 1/2% of my pay, worked an additional 6 yrs after retirement so that my previous Fed Gov retirement would not be off set by my SS. I had 31 plus yrs paid into the SS system. I worked up until I was 63 3/4 yrs and started drawing my SS just past 63 yrs. I am 100% VA compensated and unemployable from injuries and medical problems while on active duty. Believe me, it is not easy out here, I eat hamburgers, hot dogs, hamburger helper just like anyone else. No, I do not play golf as it is too expensive. I do still hunt and fish when I can. If someone can tell me how to live comfortable on just my military retirement, I will be more than thankful to them.

  • Army Of One SFC

    One has to remember that TSP is already available to all soldiers and has been for years. I served 6 years active army and have now been in the full-time National Guard for 9 years. I have seen so much waste it is unbelievable. $14,000.00 worth of lawn mowing equipment at an armory that has about 200 square feet of lawn, making jobs where they are not needed, and paying soldiers to stay in hotels were other accomodations are available. I can understand starting a new type of retirment system with new troops as long as it is clearly explained to them. Bonuses for deployments and things of that nature. My problem is changing the lives of those whom have made plans already and have committed so much time to their service. The government needs to shrink, not it’s military!

  • Mark

    We are not civilians. You could not hire a civilian for what we work for. We put are lives on the line. If we are going to be treated like civilians the cost to keep us will sky rocket. There will have to be a draft again just to keep are military full and the quality of our forces will no longer be there. Everyone in the service can find a job making more money on the outside. Our retirement is why most of us stay around. We want that security we have fought for. Yes we get it after 20 years but it is still only a fraction of what it will cost if it is taken away. Some pencil pusher looks at the upfront cost with out looking at what the real cost will be without it. I have been in 16 years and I would leave in a heartbeat and I would have never reenlisted.

    • USMC Vet

      Enough with the ‘life on the line’. My wife is a bank manager. She puts her life on the line everyday. The difference is she manages a bank & you go to war. Its expected of you to ‘put your life on the line’. It’s not expected for my wife. You may be armed. She isn’t. Some of the branches of her bank have been robbed by gunpoint. One of her girlfriends had a revolver stuck to her head. Thing is, YOU get more benefits than she’ll ever see. My grandfather put his life on the line everyday he went into the coal mine. One day the mine exploded; he didn’t come home from work. YOU will see more benefits than he or his children ever saw.

  • Moni

    Military FAMILIES factor the retirement benefits into future planning – as a spouse, I have made concessions in my career, knowing that my Navy husband is going to be eligible for a good retirement at 20 years. If this wasn’t the case, we may have made different choices as a family allowing ME to build a secure retirement for our future through my work.

  • exSPC_nowwife

    Corporations, municipal and state governments are pulling the rugs out from workers all over the country. Welcome to the 99%, folks!

  • Lordsguard

    401K or TSP style plan for retirement. Long term affect……can you say draft?

  • Lastdays2020

    Let’s start the cut at the top with Congress/Pentagon not at the bottom. A three 4 years, consecutive or nonconsecutive, not to exceed 12 years of office with 1/2 the current retirement. Retirement pay starts at age 59 1/2 effected immediately. Also effected immediately all spouses and family members will no longer have free medical, there will be a cost effective co-pay till age 59 1/2, there after you must invest in a family plan or utilize the federal care system at age cost. Unlike past changes to the retirement plan, which shielded Congress/Pentagon current serving members from the changes, the plan presented by the Governing Board would no longer grandfather current serving members. The plan would go into effect immediately and includes current and future Congress/Pentagon servicing members. Under this plan, new congress members would start immediately earning TSP contributions, but, would have no incentive to stay in or hold their positions for terms mentioned or more years since they would not get a fixed-benefit pension. Current servicing members would begin receiving TSP contributions immediately and would earn a grad u ated percent age of their pay if they stay in the appointed position for term appointed.

  • Lastdays2020

    Their fixed pension rate would be based on their years of service when the new plan kicks in. For example a current servicing congress member who has 15 years of service would get 37.5 per cent of their base pay at 59 1/2 years in addition to the new TSP contributions. It’s important to point out that this is just a plan and has not been signed off on by lawmakers. So this is by no means a done deal, but the proposal is causing consternation among current serving Pentagon and Congress members. Please don’t ask why…

  • Lastdays2020

    I also agree with brnskin2012 comment: my opinion no amount of monetary compensation or benefits could ever replace a young precious soul that has laid down his life for men (known/unknown) I believe what pennies/benefits that our government pays to soldiers is unsatisfactory because they have EARNED that and then some. My opinion they are not compensated enough. If it wasn’t for those bravehearts we wouldn’t have a free society,democracy,and the right to live, love and the American Dream…..what say you?

    Last days2020

  • Drtop

    This is not a fiscal issue, the current President does not care for the military.

  • DMT

    It has been said that now the Army is involuntarily retiring soldiers in MOS that are overstaffed. However, this process will also make them ineligible for there due retirement. My wife is due to retire in 3 years and her MOS is on this said list making all the promises worthless. Now we love our country and we too understand that as you said belts have to be tighten. But this route is unfair. I mean we have lived on many post and have seen many overwieght, PT failing, heavy drinker, just down right unsoldier like character. Why not start with these guys also stop all the enlisting bonuses. Some jobs are still offering 90,000 dollars of bonuses. Wow.

  • Sherry Vonde

    I once read somewhere that “Grandfathering” is the method used to prevent a situation of Detramental Reliance. It seems to make sense if you read the definition below. I wish I can remember where I read that.

    detrimental reliance
    The relying by one party on the representations of another to the detriment of the first party’s position.

  • As one vet to another, the current powers in D.C are no friends of the military, no matter what spews from their lips. The reason they want to make benefits more ‘corporate like'(as described in the article) is that they intend to contract out the military to a corporation just as they want the whole world to be run by corporations(reference film Robocop and Omni Consumer Products) and the only real use they will have is to keep the U.S. population under control. What? You thought the constitution shredding laws passed the last ten years were to stop Al-Qaeda?

  • Rico

    I am not in the military. If this president does this to our military they should have the same benefits! No more 4 years and retire at 100% ! Let them wait till 65 years old to get there retirement and pay for there own medical benefits just like. Everyone else! They should pay there own flights back home and pay for there food at a resonible rate, not $2.99 for steak and eggs!

  • Thomas Kranjcevich

    I was dicharge from the army in 1982. I was told that my records show that I had completer my 20 years and that my 20 year letter would be forth coming. When I applied for my retirement in 1960 I was told that I was one year short. As I remeber there was at that time a regulation that guareenteed that a service man within two years of retirement cab=nnot be forced out of the service. Is there anyone that can telll me how to go about obtaing that regulation

  • Mary

    you dont make enough just to retire in your 40’s you still have to work another job to make ends meet

  • Rene Dube

    Career Military have been screwed by those in Congress for years. I served from 1953 until 1979 with 3 tours in Vietnam, all the while being promised free health and dental care for me and my spouse for as long as we lived. The day I retired I lost dental care. When I turned 65 the DOD informed me I was no longer eligible for medical care on military facilities and that I had better enroll in Medicare. I did and had to buy USAA supplementary insurance, While we now have TRICARE for life we still have to pay for Medicare. My advice to any youngster is find another career. The government, most of whom have never served in the military and have no clue on the hardships, not only the member but what the families suffer, will screw you at the drop of a hat.

  • Col Robert Rutkowski

    Do not mess with the current system. You will destroy the VOLUNTEER MILTARY FORCE. Todays soldier is committed to making unbelievable sacrifices in the name of Duty Honor Country. The current president has done maybe irreparable damage steadily emasculating the force with social engineering. Do not takeaway the last thing that is worthy of achieving.

  • navyret86

    They keep saying that our retirement is so great and costs too much. The politicians in Washington can do 1 or 2 terms and get full pay the rest of their lifes along with medical forever. That should be stopped before they even look at the military. The nerve of those jerks! The kids of those jerks don`t even have to pay back student loans and they say we have it too good.

  • j. logan

    the person who goes into the military first is putting their life on the spot. they can be kill in action.

  • geoffandmarie418

    It is becoming more and more clear that if you work hard in America you will be punished, but if yoy are on welfare you will be rewarded. I can see why people sell drugs at times, or are on welfare, when you see so many good people getting taking advantage of. Some of the people that run this country are more of a threat to the average American than Osama Bin Laden ever was, just in a different way.

  • Jen

    Can a person get a partial retirement if they’re in for 10 years?

    • Reba

      No, early retirement options start at the 15 year mark. Early retirement is called TERA , more than 15 years but less than 20….with certain conditions of course.

  • Greg

    Unfortunately, every American over 25 and definitely ever American over 40 have to equally take the blame for allowing the Government and Congress to let the national debt get so far out of hand. We have entered into a period were no one wants to tell the American public how dire the future is if we don’t drastically change our spending habits. I remember as I first entered into the military in the early 80’s that the debt was already a major concern and responsible members of Congress tried to legislate spending limits and put the brakes on continuous unchecked borrowing. The military even accepted for a short period a reduction from 50% at 20 years to 40%. It doesn’t take any genius to figure that in the next 15-20 years we will be paying more interest on the debt than we can take receive in annual revenue. This is an exponential event and as we go over 20 Trillion in debt the interest to borrow will go up and less and less countries like Japan, China and Saudi Arab are going to even want to buy our debt because they know its going to turn into Junk Bond status. If we don’t all accept some hard pills now, NO ONE but the 1% will have any money or benefits. I lost my 22 year military pension and had to start all over when it came to retirement because from 1981 to 1997 when I started my Roth IRA, I always figured that my military retirement and SSN would be enough. In 2003, I realized that I couldn’t count on either being around when I reach 65-70. So, now I know that my retirement is all going to be based on what I save in my Roth IRA and my 401k, So I max out both, live conservatively and save as much as I in other investments. I have a modest house that will be paid for in full after 10 years and I drive a car that is nice but paid for and will keep for another 10 years. So, we shouldn’t even begin to LIE to our newest military members joining today by telling them they can retiring in 20 years and receive a pension as young as 38 for the rest of their life knowing that the Government won’t have the money to keep that promise. Really, are we going to tell 70 year old retirees, sorry no social security for you, but that health 38 year old military retiree that can work is going to get their retirement????

  • james

    I think if they change the retirement years the ones that was forced out with out promotion at over 10 years should have the retirement all so.. they wanted to stay the 20 but could not.. some times the cut off score was so high in the mos that they could not get it.. if they were outed hon vet they should get the retirement too .. even if they got out years ago.. the rule should be for them all too..