Moving Out on Military Compensation Reform

President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress April 30 expressing his support for 10 of the 15 recommendations included in the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s January report. They include: “survivor benefit plan, financial education, medical personnel readiness, Department of Defense and Department of Veteran Affairs Collaboration, child care, service member education, transition assistance, nutritional financial assistance, dependent space-available travel, [and a] report on military connected dependents,” states the letter. In a statement released later that day, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said DOD is “already taking steps to implement these first 10 recommendations, but in areas that will require legislative changes to do so, we will work quickly to submit proposed legislative language to Congress as soon as possible.” Both Obama and Carter pledged to continue studying the remaining recommendations—“blended retirement system, reserve component duty statuses, exceptional family member’s support, and commissary and exchange consolidation.” However, each acknowledged the “complexities” involved with the last four recommendations. “I believe there is merit in all of these recommendations and that they deserve careful consideration and study,” said Obama.