Military Compensation, Retirement Report Released

After 18 months of hearings and testimony, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission released its much-anticipated final report Thursday in Arlington, Va., outlining 15 recommendations intended to modernize the military services’ compensation and benefits programs and help keep the all volunteer force “sustainable,” said Chairman Alphonso Maldon. The centerpiece of the report calls for the current retirement system to be tweaked by allowing more flexibility, lowering the government’s liability to defined benefit pensions. The current system, where a service member becomes fully vested in a defined benefit retirement at 20 years, would eventually be replaced with a “blended system” using thrift savings plans and 401(k) accounts to boost returns, lower costs to the Department of Defense, and ensure retirement assets for the 83 percent of service members who leave the force without being vested for a defined benefit retirement annuity. The commission also calls for overhauling the TRICARE system, for users who are not Active Duty military members, and implementing a “basic allowance” pay for health care plans chosen by family members and retirees. Other recommendations include changes to commissary and exchange management, joint medical readiness, and financial literacy. (Link to full report; Caution, large-sized file).