The Air Force Association will continue to pay “close attention” as the Defense Department implements recommendations from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to “ensure the benefit does not diminish or damage the very recruitment and retention tool we have worked to enhance and preserve,” said retired Maj. Gen. Mark Barrett, acting AFA president. AFA “strongly supports” the commission’s recommendation to reduce retiree pay from 50-to-40-percent of base pay, as well as the House version of the defense authorization bill, which calls for an initial one-percent employer contribution to a 401(k)-style retirement plan. “Furthermore, matching contributions must continue until the end of service, not just until a service member reaches 20 years of service,” wrote Barrett. “The services must retain senior military members with the experiences, know-how, education, and leadership skills to lead the force.” Barrett said each service must have “the flexibility to offer continuation pay and lump sum annuity payments, as necessary, to retain a quality force.” Finally, wrote Barrett, the one-percent cost-of-living adjustment must be repealed in order for changes to military retirement to be successful. “AFA has been committed to supporting a blended retirement plan that would grandfather all currently serving and maintain the overall value of the current retirement system,” he wrote. (Read the full opinion piece.) (Read letter to House Armed Services Committee leadership.)
A pair of B-1 Lancers flew from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., to Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, to start a Bomber Task Force deployment on Feb. 23, marking the latest stop in the Air Force’s effort to showcase the reach of U.S. airpower and strengthen ties with allies and partners.