MOAA Warns Retirement Under Attack

June 24, 2011 | Terry Howell

The Military Officers Association of America is warning that the military retirement system is facing assaults from various fronts including outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, incoming Secretary Leon Panetta, Congress, and Vice President Joe Biden.

According to a recent MOAA article, “Gates has criticized the “one-size-fits-all” 20-year retirement structure and has directed the Defense Science Board to establish a working group to develop alternative options.” Gates testified to the Senate Appropriations Committee last week that he liked the idea of an early vesting system because, “70-80% of the force does not stay until retirement but leave with nothing.” This type of plan could enable servicemembers to leave the military with some form of retirement savings prior to reaching 20 years of service. However, unlike the current system, they would not be able to draw benefit payments until age 60 – similar to a civilian 401K program.

It seems clear that military retirement cutbacks will be an outcome from the deficit-reduction talks between administration and congressional leaders, which are currently being headed by Vice President Joe Biden.

Here is a quick list of ideas being discussed:

  • Converting to a civilianized 401(k)-style system under which full retired pay wouldn’t be paid until age 57-60.
  • Authorizing the services to make variable annual retirement contributions depending on changing retention and skill requirements.
  • Vesting retirement benefits after 10 years of service.

While none of these ideas are likely to affect current retirees, the impact on future retention and recruiting efforts could be as bad as seen after high-36 and other changes that were implemented back in the 80’s.

Let Congress know how you feel about this issue!

Read the full MOAA article, ‘Military Retirement on the Chopping Block?’ to learn more about this important issue.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

Comments

  1. This could be utterly disastrous.

    What the civilian world sees is military "retiring" at age 45 or so with a retirement check for life.

    What they do not see are most military also being forced to leave, after reaching the peak of their careers, and pushed out into a job-market that is dubious at best. And a key – most have never been able to invest in a stable house (still the only way 90% of the middle class ever makes it), as the constant moving over 20-25 years just doesn't allow this to happen. So that supposedly juicy retirement check basically may just cover the mortgage on a house finally bought for the family – at the current high price and not something bought 20 years prior.

    Now another conflict and different from the civilian world – service members have to leave at 20-26 years, to help make way for youth pouring in at the bottom end. If we fail to continue this system, military capabilities will rapidly erode with an aging and stagnant force.

    But the worst result of all if current system changes? All we career folks, many of us who guide our children into the military as we believe in the system – will no longer do so, because we know discontent, leadership chaos, lack of reward for again moving all over the world for 20 years, and possible catastrophe could result.

    DG

    • Outstanding rebuttal. However I feel we who are currently retired from the Military have no voice. We never had a voice when we were on active duty, and being retired is the norm. With representatives that have never served and the ones that have, have betrayed us including the retirees who represent us. That's why I say we have no voice. They will do what they have always done when our country is in a deficit. Come after the retirees, and change a system that has been productive by retaining the best. Semper Fi.

      • While I agree with 98% of what you posted, I say we as military retirees start educating other retirees as to what some of our so-called 'Representatives' stand for. Our voice can be heard loud and clear on Election day by retiring these clowns from public office where many of them had fed at the trough for far too long.

        • Draftee says:

          Many of you vote for those clowns in the first place and put them in office time and time again. BTW, most of the Bush Administration officials were chicken hawks, and you gave those guys a free pass for avoiding military service while you condemn many Democrats for avoding miliary service. Furthermore, many Republicans who serve in the military never care about the military except when they benefit from it from a financial interest.

      • We absolutely have no voice about anything that congress has or want to take away from the retired service member. We are sheep for the slaughter house. Government offiicials should have their retirement and along with dental, medical and other benefits taking away from them as well. Why come out trying to cut military retirement, when you're getting higher pay and higher retirement for life? Why not take away your free dental and medical. I'm sick and tired of hearing we need to cut military spending and we need to change or reduce military retirement. Why not we as congress men and women, need to seriously reduce our pay scale before we go after the little man.

    • 1984 retiree says:

      I have been telling anyone who asked if I had it to do over would I have spent 20 years in the Air Force for my current retirement and tell them that ever since the early 1980's the future as a career service member was not a very promising undertaking. First they put in the up or out policy, then they input the high 3 years policy then they adjusted the weight standards and the physical fitness testing while cutting the numbers in the service but the work load never decreased. My nephew asked about coming in and I advised him if he was going to go on to college then sure come in for 4 years get the GI bill then get the hell out and go to school, but as a career only one job that I know of is worse than the military today and that is a family farmer.

      • Draftee says:

        Tried being a coal miner for 20 to 30 years. That is one of the worst jobs you can have.

      • Draftee says:

        I agreed that the up or out policy was a mistake; however, it started out in the late 40s and took off during the 60s and 70s. The late Colonel David Hackworth talk about it in his book About Face. The Air Force also keeps changing its mind about its lower ranks. They never had buck sergeant, then they introduce in the 70s, but then they introduce Senior Airmen, so many people never got the chance to make sergeant. and then they got rid of buck sergeant.

    • Joe Sailor says:

      Let us be honest. The reason they are contemplating cutting the pay and benefits is that our veteran organizations still think they are in uniform and always say "Aye-Aye" as the pinheads they were in the service.
      Most of us went on with life in the civilian world after retiring.
      It is time to demand that Congress take a cut in their 7.3M USD pension and 275K USD survivor benefit plan for which they pay nothing into or pay social security for.
      Take this to Fox News as the rest are no longer free press resources.
      Also, petition you representatives and Senators and threaten, threaten them with a military block petition to remove them from office if they do not champion and pass this cut to their benefits.
      Lastly, we need our own third party where veterans are the only candidates as the public trusts us far more than those unethical, self-serving and often criminals up on the Hill. After the income tax fraud case and not to mention the rabid sex scandals for which any one of us would have been prosecuted, lost our benefits and retirement or pay, and been jailed, they have set themselves up as an oligarchy contrary to our Constitution. If we were sworn to defend it, it is time to do so, and quit using the excuse we are either too busy or do not have the right to do so, a lie fed to us by our own self-serving military types as the outgoing Mike Mullins and Dr. Gates.
      Since our leadership have become what we and the public despise most about America today, we need to fight on the home-front as hard as we did or do abroad. It is our duty. For those claiming we have no right to voice or take such action, I call them liar or ignorant and brand them with the same sickness that plagues our public mob as well as our leadership.
      Either you took that oath seriously or you did not. If you think these military organizations or Joint Chiefs are in your corner, forget it. Remember those on your left and on your right are your only true friends and comrades at arms – act accordingly, and our take our country back from these political usurpers up on the Hill, and a public mesmerized by TV reality shows, Oprah-like gab fests, and sports. While Nero fiddles up in the White House, we are losing what we fought for including our voice and our family's future and security.

    • Bill H. says:

      The current situation of our National economy is bad to say the least. It didn't get that way overnight and it's not going to get strightened out overnight either. As I listen to all the talk from the so, called experts in Washington who are supposed to represent "We The People" about we need to cut this and we need to cut that maybe "We The People" need to rise up and DEMAND that they start CUTTING THEIR salaries, benfit packages and their retirement funds first before the even begain to think about cutting those who have sacrificed so much for so long who have and are serving in our military. Maybe they need to to take a close look at all of the Congressional and Senatorial men and wemon who have already retired and maybe cut on their retirements a little. If they would STOP trying to police the world, giving BILLIONS to third world countries to be a GOOD BOY and behave and DELEAT PORK BARREL SPENDING from their agenda then we might and I just say might balance this countries deficit. Oh by the way to all you LOBBYIST up in Washington…YOU need to be RUN OUT OF TOWN,,,YESTERDAY!!!! SHAME ON YOU WASHINGTON!!!!!
      B. H.

    • Kimberley says:

      Well Said!

    • Tom Lynam says:

      I believe that the number of reinlistments will suffer greatly. So many things that looked good thirty years ago have or will have been lost. One of the greatest incentives for carreer servicemen was the retirement and medical benefits. Now, a decrease in pay, medical care nightmares, seems our country dosen't need us until there is a problem. Why doesn't Mr. Biden take a cut in pay?

    • retired SMS says:

      …and what Congress doesn't tell anyone else is they are fully vested after one term and retire with it all.

    • I have already told my children that the service is not for them. I put in my time, low pay, advancement hampered by equal opportunity (first women, then "minorities", sea service separations, watching retirement benefits eroding.

    • Sad days for those us who gave so much for this beautiful land. After 24yrs of AD service, my body maybe broken but my mind and soul still strong, and as long as I live my voice/vote will never be taken away by this government. They [politicians] and others are diminishing our infrastructure that made us what we are right. Strong, proud and free…

    • vote them out says:

      Ridiculous! No savings with this plan. Welfare programs are growing, while the miltary members, who earn their benefits are being punished. As a 20 year military family, we are putting our retirement package in now! Let's get out of a program where Congress does not appreciate our work, or service. This program will result in a more junior force, with no senior leadership. The military training transitions nicely into the civilian world with no incentives to stay. We would consider politics as a future career, but not willing to sell our souls!

  2. retired462 says:

    Changes to retirement systems ought to start "at the top"! Congress ought to look at changing "their system" FIRST"; i.e. going under social security! How can they single out the military, when they collect a retirement for life (and at 100%, whereas the military gets 50% after 20 years), after just one term in ofice! LEAD BY EXAMPLE, YOU PHONY BAS****S!

    • Love it, show by example

    • Al Brown says:

      Ya betcha, could have not said it better myself. That is why I got out with 12 years and TSgt. We had the other Id. Jimmy Carter that is still screwing things up. He proposed the same crap back in the '80's 35% at 20 and 50% at 30. Only if you were able to serve to that point with TopCap. The stupidity doesn't change only the spots. Just remember Jimmy cut back on the Forest service and the cutting of underbrush, look at the results. Not to menition the 50/50 Active and Reserve thats why guys get out after 5-6 deployements, can't keep a job when you are being deployed every 6 months for a year. Civ bosses need people to man their operations as well. Oh that's right 20% unemployment no jobs to worry about Heck no business's to worry about unless you work for a Chinese co. anyway.

    • First, I'm no defender of Congress on either side of the aisle.

      Second, members of Congress DO pay into Social Security and have done so since 1982 I believe.

      The average retirement pay to a former member of Congress is a liittle more than $40K annually.

      Member of Congress contribute 1.5% of their salary into their retirement fund. Less than five years of service, no vesting and the former member receives a lump sum check and after that, they receive nothing from the taxpayer. More than five years of service, members are vested just like any other American in a retirement system…401K, 403b, etc.

      Members of Congress make the same choice as any other federal employee on their health care insurance plan. The government offers a number of different plans, a person ops for the one that best serves their needs. At retirement, they have the option to convert their plan to an individual plan if under 65 and they pay for the coverage. As in their retirement fund, if a member has a combination of years and age, they qualify to be subsidized and they begin to receive a pension, but they have to have served at least twenty years in Congress unless they turn age 65 during that time.

      So the you are misinformed based upon what you posted.

      Regarding military retirement, well, it is an all volunteer military and no different that working for a corporation. The job descriptions in combat arms may not coincide with a company one, but the world is now entirely different regarding the miitary. And like it or not, we cannot affort such a military for much longer if we're going to be involved in so many wars and military actions.

      • Tarheel Soldier says:

        Betcha a million dollars, UH34D didn't serve in or retire from the military.

        The fact of the matter is, persons who join the military and decide to make it a career do so with the knowledge that after 20+ years of hard, nomadic lifestyles they will be able to retire with 50% of their pay and still have to find a subsequent job to support their families. It's not a matter of whether or not the federal government can afford it, it is a matter of keeping the US Government's promise to millions of Americans who were and are still willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to defend the American way of life.

      • UH34D it is very obvious you do not know what you are talking about so why put out all this misinformation?It's for sure you never spent one day in the military probably could not hack it.Can't comment on your corporation comment as I have no experience there anything said would be utter conjecture just as yours about the military is.Have a good day sir and as an afterthought why not join the military and get some experience then comment?

        • retired2007 says:

          Specifically, what misinformation you are referring to?

        • See the senate website for details. What UH34D describes is exactly how the system works. Members of Congress are under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System), same as our civil servant brethren, and are under FEHBP (Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan), again just like our civil servant brethren. They have been since 1984.

          And yes, I served in the military and retired. Anytime someone uses these "Congress Gets xyz" arguments and presents a false picture (trust me, Congressmen and Senators know exactly what their retirement and healthcare systems are, since they pay for them), they give Congress a reason to ignore them.

      • How many military retirees have a pension of $40K annnually? Congress is still making bank if that is the truth.

      • scottyct says:

        who dat
        what squadron ?

      • No different than working for a corporation? What are you smoking? At the very least you are terribly misinformed. What corporation requires its employees to move every 2-3 years, separate from their families for extended periods of time, deploy to foreign countries and put their lives on the line daily? What corporation requires their employees to use up their bodies through rigorous training and real world combat? Our Soldiers deserve every bit of compensation/benefits they earn. It is ridiculous to try to compare military service to almost any corporate job. Wake up, get your head out of your ideology and show a little respect and support for the men and when who put their lives on the line in defense of yours.

      • UH34D stated that an all-volunteer military is no different from a civilian workforce. WRONG!!! Members of the military cannot unionize. Members of the military while serving cannot protect thrmselves against injustices by their enployer through litigation. Members of the military cannot simply elect to “not go” if being told to deploy or relocate without suffering dire consequences. Members of the military put themselves at far greater risk of life and limb and really don’t get compensated well enough for their sacrifices when you don’t consider the pension.

      • Hmm Congress contributes 1.5% of their pay. I gave 2 herniated disks in my back from 4, 6, 8 and 12 mile ruck marches every year and carrying that and a flack vest in Desert Shield/Storm. How much is that worth? I gave my sanity from watching fellow soldier's die, How much is that worth. I gave the birth of my son while deployed to a combat zone, how much was that worth? I missed the 3/4ths of my first year of marriage because of deployments. How much was that worth? They cut the bone out of my heels, how much is it worth? I'll tell you, it was worth about a $14,000 a year retirement check and a decent insurance plan that they are trying to take away. I like most here, are not asking for more, we are asking them to leave us with what we earned, no more then that. If they paid us enough to be able to contribute 1.5% and have $40,000 a year saved up for retirement and afford health care I doubt you would see many people on here complaining.

    • AMEN!!!!!!!

    • Michael Dieckmann says:

      Thats not quite correct, our politicians work unted the Federal retirement system. So for example you have a congressman who started his career at an age of 30. He serves for twenty years right. He's finally elected out of office at the age of 50. He now has to wait until he reaches 60 before he can draw a retirement. After twenty years, he's only looking at 50% or 87,000 per year, thats it he wasn't serving in a leadership role. Yeah I know that's still way, way too much….

    • You said what I was going to say.
      Thanks

    • Would love it if Congress would do the following.

      If congress wants to mess with the military as they seem to be doing all of the time, maybe they should take a long look at themselves and do the following:

      1. No Tenure / No Pension.
      A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

      2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
      All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

      3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

      4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

      5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

      6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

      7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.
      The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

      THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!

    • I absolutely agree. Congress and all other government officials should start reducing their pay scales and reducing their retirement very serouisly.

    • I agree with you completely…. These Congressmen do not put their life on the line everyday like our fighting men and women do. They do not have to leave their families and homes for a year or longer at a time. They do not beat thier bodies up which makes their bones, muscles, and joints age twice as fast. Then when the American public votes them out of office after just four years because of poor preformance, they get rewarded for life while those brave men and women of the Armed Services who do not stay for 20 or more years are basically kicked to the curb and left without anything.
      If this type of abuse of our militay members continues, it wont be long before we no longer have a military to depend on.
      WAKE UP GOVERMENT OFFICALS YOU AREN"T WORTH MORE THAN THEY ARE AND IN MANY CASES YOU ARE WORTH LESS!!!!!!

      • Draftee says:

        Smedly Butler, Marine Genera, stated that his organization (USMC) was use as private force to protect American businesses and all the Marine private got was a lousy 13 dollars a month.

    • JohnDave says:

      Yep. Congress and all these so called 'experts' need to cull their own pay first.
      Personally, I've been retired for 21 years. Any attempt at cutting my retired pay, and hopefully this is not what is being considered, would be met with a very nasty bad reaction. I would never tolerate cuts.

    • Bernadette says:

      Well Said! I am so sick and tired of these jokers always looking in someone else’s pocket. Yes, How do they justify getting 100% of their pay after only one term? The military provided compensation to its members by providing housing and other amenities. Once retired, all you get is 50% your base pay and a thanks for serving. How does a retiree with young children live off of that 50% now that he/she has to pay rent, utitilities etc.? They don’t, that 50% is just a supplement to the job that they are forced to get in order to survive. Get real you congressional buffoons.

    • FYI. Your comments are right on EXCEPT there is a misunderstanding regarding your retired pay. While it is 50% of your base pay at retirement after 20 years, it is actually closer to 37% – 42% of your total compensation package. Your standard of living just prior to retirement is based on your total comp package. Half of your base pay is not the same thing.

    • Charles Munn 2/77 says:

      While I agree with your sentiments, it's an urban myth that congressmen/women can retired after just one term.

    • Retired 686 says:

      I totally agree. Let just shut the military down and let the congressmen fight and die for this country. Sure would be a change. The US congress doing something useful for a change.

    • I love what you said and you are so right about they need to clean there house before they start cleaning the men and woman who have faught for this country including myself in Viet Nam THEY ARE FHONY BAS****S!!! for sure All they are doing is looking out for themselves….They need to go under social Security just like everone else…thank
      you

    • Frogmaster says:

      1. Congress has been part of Social Security since 1984.
      2. Congress does not receive 100% of pay for life as so many claim. Depending on date of entry to Congress, they are covered by the old CSRS or the current FERs or a blend of the two + social security if they have teh quarters for coverage. They receive retirement based on a combination of age and years of federal service (any government position). Full retirement comes at age 62. Early retirement with reduced benefits is available at age 50 with 20 years service.
      3. Congress has the same medical/dental program options as all other federal employees and they pay a portion of costs.
      4. I am a 25.5 year military retiree. Both air and ground combat tours.
      I was forced out by a SERB in 1993 at age 45 with two high school kids. Military retirement is a nice adder, but it is not and was never intended to be a sole source of income for a family. I was deployed over five years and TAD for another 3-4 of that time. I moved 20+ times in my career.

      • Frogmaster says:

        Contnued…
        5. 20 yr military, police and fire dept retirements were established at a time when retiree life expectancy in those occupations was only 5-7 years average after retriement.
        6. I have been drawing 63% of my final base pay + COLAs for nearly 18 years.. I have already received more retirement pay than the total base pay I earned in all of that active duty time and I plan to draw another 20-25 years worth.
        7. Some, not all of the changes are for the better. Vesting after 3 or 5 years in a retirement fund (maybe 401k or similar) vs no benefits at all until 15 or 20 years depending on PEBD is an improvement.
        8. Many people claim any change is a break with a "contract" but the fact is the proposed changes (so far) only impact new entries and not those already retired or those past first enlistments.

        • Frogmaster says:

          Continued..
          9. We in the miltary community need to get real about the skyrocketing costs of tne current system and recognize the need for changes. We need to be working to insure the changes are fair and reasonable. We need to stop acting like the a-holes in Congress (both parties) who are more concerned about re-election than they are our national economic security.
          10. We need to quit whining about what we "think" Congress or others get and learn the facts. When we propose false arguments loudly and with absolute certainty we are doomed to lose from the outset.
          11. Change has to happen, get real, learn the facts and work to get the best possible changes and let go of what was in the past.
          12. I have two sons currently serving so I do have "skin in the game" so to speak.

          • But here is the issue. Why always cut benefits and not other aspects of the military budget. Instead of paying $280 for an oil change, how about paying market value and keeping the benefits intact. I am sure there are thousands of small improvements that could be made and reduce the budget without penalizing the most important assets, the actual member. But of course, that would mean that the main political contributors would loose money.

            Because, that is what it comes down to, making sure there is enough money to pay $12,000 to ship a car instead of the market price of $700.00.

          • warshot says:

            ,Frogmaster, I'm with you,. Ilike the idea of getting are military folks vested, especially when we're throwing them out (high year tenure) at least they would earn something. I'm not a fan of messing with current retirement or those receiving retirement. I didin't serve 37 1/2 years to have congress change it. What bothers me is, vesting or not vesting, that's going to be a strain on budgets later on, what's going to happen then?

          • Start donating 100% of your retirement check to charity.

    • This is messed up. We have been trained to lead by example. Congress should do the same. but you know they won't.

    • stephen says:

      right on , lead by example !

    • I could not have said it better myself

    • Jeff Walk says:

      I totally agree, the American people need to take a stand on this and force the Government to change the system that Congress gave themselves. A Serviceman in combat does more in one year then a Congressman does in 6 years. Either they change the system or we force them out of office.

    • That goes dido for me too. We have men and women fighting for own freedom night and day while Congress is trying to find ways to SCREW them out of their retirement. Can it get any lower than this? These brave men and women need all of us to shout from the highest mountain top the insanity of trying to pass this bill. My son has already serviced 9 years in the Military and of those years, 3 tours of duty in Iraq. He is out raged as I am I that Congress would even contemplate such a change. Congress needs to pull their heads out of their ass and take a good whiff of reality.

    • That goes ditto for me as well. It is a shame we have men and women fighting for our freedom everyday while Congress is fighting every day to line their own pockets. How dare they even consider changing the Militaries retirement plan? Its bills like this one that makes me ashamed to be an American. MY son has service 9 tears so far in the Military in those yrs. 4 tour of duties have been in Iraq. He received the Purple Hear and Bronze Star fighting for our Freedom. How many sons, daughters, Mothers, Fathers, Aunts, Uncles, etc. have to be lost for Congress to understand we as Americans should be supporting their efforts, not trying to see what can be taken away from them. Shame on Congress. I think they need to pull their heads out of their asses and take a good whiff of reality. Why don't they stop lining their own pockets first before they take from those who desire what they can plus so much more? Sign, Mad and disguised Mom

  3. Raoul Salan says:

    We need to hold the line on this.
    I'm a disabled from Iraq if they mess with retirement then VA benefits will be next.
    Cut welfare and section 8 housing first.Veterans are a force in this country and polichickens tend to forget that.

    • Joe Sailor says:

      No one in the public knows what a sham military disability is.
      But being a mouse is not going to get the truth out.
      I feel for you as I collect a paltry sum that is taken from my retirement pay as a non-taxable amount and not an addition to….
      Section 8's and welfare types back here get a better deal by not doing anything, as they vote for the left…with our money!!!
      Bring back the draft, get the welfare roles out on the battle-line for us to straight out one way or another, and take on Congress with petitions for their removal, or form a third party and retake and save the Union while it lasts.

    • I agree Raoul we must hold the line on this one and VA benefits are next.

    • Just remember that a large number of young military are eligible for welfare and section 8 because of the low military pay. Lets get our ducksl lined up before we talk about welfare cuts.

    • you forgot one group that obummer wants to do and qualify all illegals for retirement benefits even though they don't qualify , that includes the ones from east asia and afganistan and iraq !

  4. Our "leaders" are more than willing to spend $1 trillion plus for healthcare reform, but now they are worried about the deficit and want military personnel to suffer.

    • Chief97471 says:

      Actually, it is our military leadership that doesn't plan for our veterans. Take the two most recent wars on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaning the expensive lessons of Vietnam, our military leadership FAILED to budget the cost of care for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. In peacetime – we preach safety first. But what we are trained to do is project lethal force to cause the enemy to change their position and agree to our terms. This means our enemy is trying at all cost to maintain their position using any means necessary to repel our lethal force – this means casualities of war! Typically war planners understand the risk and 'acceptable' loss ratios when planning operations and it is the exceptional occasion when our soldiers are asked to be the first to run across a bridge in the face of lethal fire or storm a hostile beach as soldiers did in WWII, Korea, and in some cases Vietnam.

      The $1 trillion for healthcare you mention is a drop in the bucket to the mounting healthcare cost Veterans will need over the next 60~80 years as a result of service in the Middle East. The beauty of modern medicine is we are saving more combat servicemembers lives – the tradgedy is the quality of life for some ended before they were taken in action.

      There is no doubt we need to reform military. It is a calling – one of which I am proud to have served for over 25 years. I truely respect new ideas that would allow military members to have a pension program similiar to a 401(k) or 403 plan they can carry with them should they leave before 20 years. That alone could eliminate the dead weight the military carries in the E-6 to E-7 ranks and 0-4 to 0-5 rankes between 14-20 years in the service. While there ARE exceptional E-6, E-7, O-4 and O-5 in this year group – THERE ARE some real dead weights who were not only slow to learn their skill, but also are not fit to lead people. Is it right to just keep these people in because of a social responsibility to the military member? I say no – let them go and continue to foster the growth of the people who want to learn and lead.

      So – instead of instantly stiffing up our backs at military reform – take a look around at all the logistics we've built into our war fighting machine. Like the $20.2 billion per year we provide in air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan to comfort our troops – you can bet the enemy is not using air conditioning.

      • While it's true the enemy is not using air conditioning to the same extent our forces are, remember that locals grew up in the environmental conditions there and have maximally adapted to compensate. Additionally, they're not wearing body armor, helmets, boots, and other gear, nor are they pounding sand the same way infantry troops and Marines do or riding in the 150 degree ovens called tanks and APCs. It's very important to recharge the heat compensating systems in our soldiers by giving them time with less heat stress — especially air conditioned sleeping quarters. We're not talking 72 degree meat locker conditions — the best many get is 90-95 degrees in the "air conditioned" spaces. This is just smart war fighting to preserve the heat compensation for times when heat stress is unavoidable. As someone who suffered a heatstroke due to continuing my mission for days despite a severe stomach illness while in Iraq (in 2003, before there was a single air conditioner in-country), I can assure you that once a soldier suffers a heatstroke, they are much less able to cope with heat afterwards. That one heatstroke cooked my internal organs and finished my career. Despite finishing out the deployment with my unit, I was medically retired. Heat injuries sap our fighting strength and cost lots of money, more than that $20.2 billion, I would guess. No soldiers in the past have had as much, or as hot, gear or operating conditions with as few comfort modifications possible as our troops right now in the sandbox.

    • Marilyn Rand says:

      C imon Jack, We need to give the wealthiest 2% of Americans their tax breaks.
      Seriously, remember-it was George Duhbya, elected by the wealthy and the stupid, who got us into Iraq, causing us to ignore Afghanistan and extending the war to its tenth year, Duhbya and Clinton enabled Wall St. to send us to the poor house by allowing unregulated granting, repackaging and sale of home mortages.
      It sounds like a good idea for soldiers and sailors to be able to walk away with a little something after 10 years. And the affordable health care act is supposed to decrease the deficit over time by providing almost all Americans with health care.

    • that's the democrats !

  5. retired462 says:

    Congress should lead by example! They should put their retirement under Social Security! No way should they get a full retirement after one term in office! Lead by example (and no grandfather clauses)!

    • retired2007 says:

      Since 1984 Congress has had to contribute to Social Security. They do not receive full retirement after one term.

    • I agree 100%. I do not understand how congress can say everything is on the table to reduce the deficit when their benefits, salaries, retirement, etc is excluded from the table. You are right "Lead by example!"

    • Chief97471 says:

      Retired462 – before you just blurt out irresponsible comments – take the time to research a couple of seconds – every since 1984, Congress has been paying into Social Security – here's the reference for your convenience http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL3

      But you probably listen to MIke Savage or Rush Limbaugh – so I will copy and paste the highlights of the congressional retirement system for your convenience – now read it!

      Congressional pensions, like those of other federal employees, are financed through a combination of employee and employer contributions. All Members pay Social Security payroll taxes equal to 6.2% of the Social Security taxable wage base ($97,500 in 2007). Members covered by FERS also pay 1.3% of full salary to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Members covered by CSRS Offset pay 1.8% of the first $97,500 of salary, and 8.0% of salary above this amount, into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.

      Under both CSRS and FERS, Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at age 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.

  6. Night-owl says:

    You don't get it… Gates was saying we should provide at least a CHOICE, not just taking away the 20 year retirement, which is a bad deal – all or nothing – the lifetime pension was meant for someone who after 20 years of military service was unable to work (realistically) and was had a much shorter life expectancy… it is an old benefits system designed in another day that needs to radically updated, like Social Security, which I think most on this forum would opt out of if they could… btw, I am 12+ years in the USAF so this would affect me also but I know that not even the USA can afford this program anymore… so change it the right way: if you are already in the military and want to continue under the 20 year pension – fine; if you are in and you want to convert to something else like FERS – fine; if you are not in the military and join at some later date like any date in 2012 and beyond, then you are under the new system…

    • nraddin says:

      Glad to see someone read the piece before responding. Thanks Night-Owl for a voice of reason.

      My son is being forced out of the Army as the force size is reduced in the infantry. 12 years in and had been hoping to get to 20 but now he gets nothing for retirement. What gates wants is for people like him to get something on the way out, and an option to put money in the same kinds of places a civilian does (401k for example).

      • Mherren says:

        Have him try the reserves. I left active duty after 10 1/2 years. i then spent the next 16 years in the reserves and loved every minuet of it. I went to work for a city and now have two retirements.

      • Top Cap forces a lot of guys "out"…you reach a number of years"in" and have not progressed in rank, you are out on your butt.Then they go after the ones who want out to reduce the forces. They also ask if you are willing to retrain to stay in making it un-necessary to get a new recruit off the streets. The services unload the fields that are over crowded with people especially if its one not receiving any "promotions". Thats why they use written tests etc … gets rid of the loafers and dead beats. I know it burns you up for some guy who can't hold a "wrench" gets promoted over you but he can read a manual on everything and retain the info. with minimum qualifications and a nice score on the job tests etc he makes it and you slow pokes don't, even if you got years in grade.

        • Assume much? He was told he could move to another open MOS (Lot of choices with how high a score he got on the ASVAB) or move to SF. SF wants him to sign up for more years than he wants to (But not enough years to guarantee retirement) and are going to deploy him more than he would like (4 times already is enough) and if he is going to take a desk job then he might as well come home and get a real job that pays well. He would have been happy to continue to be a 18b E6 but they want him to move away from his friends, change stations, and retrain and none of that makes it for sure that he will not be forced out when his re-up comes again anyway. So maybe you got passed up because you couldn't make rank or didn't have the intelligence to get a good score on the ASVAB but that's not what we are talking about here. Rangers lead the way!!

      • Navy DOC "V" says:

        He had the option to contribute to TSP. He will get severens pay. The service members that are staying in are the top performers in thier field. If someone is getting forced out they are not performing to the standards the army needs.

      • There is a reason he is being forced out. Good people are not kicked out. I am not trying to bag on your son, but top performers stay, all others are just dead weight. and NO he doesn't deserve any retirement benefits at 12 years, he didn't earn it. It's that simple.

    • For those who get out with less than 20, and those with 20, night owl is missing a key point – gates wants no one to collect anything until age 60.

      who goes in the military, moves around, say does 8 years and gets out at age 28 – and is willing to wait to 60 to collect some monthly, small pension?

      nobody will go in.

      • Night-owl says:

        Then the new options would need to include immediate vesting and ownership of your retirement benefits….with every paycheck you get an automatic deposit based on your base pay into your TSP account, allow the individual to annutize whenever they want for regular payments… there is a reason that almost all corporations have given up on the traditional pension, it is just too much liability or cost to cover someone for the rest of their life given our longevity these days (thank you God for that)… if you make the match sweet (i.e. start at 5% at first increasing to 10%) and also start to intelligently manage your force structure (i.e. stop producing so many officers from our accessions sources every year and recruit and retain the better enlisted giving commanders at lower levels the authority to wash out the slugs) our manpower issues would subside…

        • I agree for the most part. However, if we must be treated as a civilian, the treat us 1oo% like civilians! Overtime after eight hours. Time and one half on weekends, and double time for holidays. Pay an hourly wage instead of a stipen We should at least beo the civil service wage schedule. Just saying!

          • Since they want it to be more like a civilian system how about unionizing the military with collective bargaining. Wouldn’t that be great if the President decided to send us to war we can go on strike if we don’t agree or simply go on strike for any policy changes we don’t agree with or hold protests outside the White House

          • The military is largely made of conservatives who don't believe in unions. It is funny how many of these militsry conservatives become police officers, firemen, or other kinds of government workers and thanks to the unions, they get good wages and beneifts plus civil service protection while at the same time, they don't like unions nor do they want people in this country to have collective bargaining rights, good wages and benefits, etc. After the second Gulf War, many government workers lost their jobs or got letters of reprimand for being AWOL from their jobs because they got called up to fight in that war. The US Department of Labor, the US Department of Justice, the Pentagon, and the various state attorney offices had to band together to crack on these violations of the employment and labor laws.

      • Chief97471 says:

        DNG – I think you completely miss the mark here – there are millions of people who would serve 4~8 years in their early 20's and leave with a 401(k)/403 retirement pension collectable after 59.5 so they could have a stable environment to build an education, family, and career. Education and sign-on bonuses are the only carrots to get people to come in today – but skip the sign-on bonus during a draw down and add a retirement penion would be an exceptional feature for future enlistments.

    • tdhowell says:

      I think the current thrift savings plan (TSP) option already fulfills at least part of what Gates was referring to. As a retiree, I also realize that the current program is not sustainable in these times.

      • Chief97471 says:

        I was excited to see the TSP as I was retiring – but looking at it from the outside – it is not good program unless you invest in the TSP in the combat zone. Better money is invested in a ROTH IRA when assigned in garrison outside of combat zones. Plus the investing options are significantly better.

    • Wayne Robinson says:

      Night owl have you ever spent sleepless nights in pouring down rain, civilians don't have to, have you ever baked in the hot sun inside of a tank for 48 hours,civilians don't have to, have you ever been shot at or hit most civilians don't know that feeling. have you lived away from your loved one's and one of them get's sick and you find about it after the fact, most civilians don't have to worry about that. have you ever sit in an airport and had someone spit in your face or dump coffee on your uniform because you served your country, civilians don't worry about that. When you tell me that retireing after twenty years is outdated then look around you at some of the vets who have served in these conditions and then take a good hard look at yourself because you are one of the problems. Thank you

      • Night-owl says:

        Well, Wayne I have been shot at several times, almost killed by our own forces several times, flown thru thunderstorms and wx you would not believe and put up with more bull*** than can imagine and been away from home all added up together I would say (in the sand box) about 3 years of my life, this does not include stateside TDY btw…

        Some civilians don't have to worry about these things but some do: law enforcement, fire fighters, border patrol and others, they don't have the 20 years and 50% pay for life and I would argue that the average inner city police officer or other civilian security professional or first responder over a career has been in far more danger than the AVERAGE military member…

        When you say I am the problem, I say I am the solution, I am honest enough to realize that the nation owes much to our military, particularly the ones killed, injured or who were ACTUALLY in the most danger, but the others who did sacrifice and risk their lives but not in the way that you are implying ALL members of the military do, that is just not the case… we have all served but honestly, some much more than others, those individuals or ACTUAL WARFIGHTERS could / should be eligible for a benefits package that others who do risk themselves but not nearly so much as others would not be eligible for…

        There is an attitude that pervades the modern military that we are owed way more than any other American for any amount of time spent in the military, that is plainly false… we are well compensated and our current benefits package is EXCELLENT comparative to others, yes we risk our lives but so do others for less pay and fewer benefits, honestly admitting that we have a problem with one aspect of our total compensation package is not ingratitude, it is mere honesty…

        Btw Wayne, give me a call when you get to see RPG's and MANPADS come up to see you over southern Iraq or what a AAA shell looks like when it gets really close to your jet… or what an flight of F-15C's look like when they are co-altitude at night moving at 400 knots on a colliding course and realize it oh at less than 1/2mile away… or when T-storm pushing up over 40K feet looks like at night when you have to get close to it (real close) to get the mission done…

        And Thank You too! :-)

        • MSgt2000 says:

          Think what everyone needs to understand is retirment pay sucks, I have been out fo 10 years now and my COL incress as only given me an extra $150 a month more. after 10 years not a good thing and on top of that we pay our own disability benefit. VA now charges for sevice based on income, benefits started falling in the mid 80's and I still stayed in. I think I read that you felt the retirment was so we didn't have to work anymore after 20 years of service. what small amount we got wouldn't even buy food for a month. I think it's hard for civilans and active duity to fully undertand what its like t be retired or what the cost of losing benefits mean. wait until your out and have to start paying for housing, elect, gas , medical , detal and higher prices for food. cut your paycheck in half, drop off the cola, rations and all other alowances and see if you can live off of that

        • Retired NCO says:

          Night Owl…not everyone receives 50% of pay upon retirement. There is actually 3 types:

          High-3. Applies to those who entered service from 9/8/1980 onwards. Similar to the Final Pay system, except the 2.5% multiplier is applied against the average basic pay for the highest 36 months of the service member’s career (generally will be the final three years).

          Final Pay. Applies to those who entered service before 9/8/1980. Each year of military service is worth 2.5% towards the retirement multiplier up to a maximum of 75%. A service member retiring at 20 years receives 50% (20 years x 2.5%) of his/her final basic pay

          REDUX. For those who entered from 8/1/1986 onwards, if the service member elected to receive the Career Status Bonus… Each year of the first 20 is worth 2% towards the retirement multiplier, and each year after 20 is worth 3.5%. The multiplier is then applied against the average basic pay for the highest 36 months. Thus, a service member retiring at 20 years receives only 40% (20 years x 2%), but it increases to 75% at 30 years (40%, plus 10 years x 3.5%). A COLA is given annually, but it is 1% below the Consumer Price Index (with a recalculation at age 62). This complicated mess is the least favorable of the three types of military retirement.

        • retiredarmynurse says:

          I'm sorry you feel as if you, and others that do the "real fighting" deserve more than those of us who supported you. I thought we were all working as a team. What happens if you are injured? Should the doctor and nurse who put you back together again get less because they were not in harms way? Oh, and by the way, nurses do get hit by incoming and die! Retirement benefits were promised to most of us if we elected to stay for 20 years. We now pay for medical and dental care after retiring…something I was told would be paid for. Can you imagine what happens when a company tries to take away benefits that were agreed to? People go crazy. And, that is what you are hearing on this blog.

          • Night-owl says:

            I don't think that I was or am the only one doing the fighting, in fact, compared to the soldier on the ground, the threat to me far less and only a few times was I really really in danger not like the far more constant danger to that guy (IED, sniper, suicide attack, ambush, etc)…. one open secret or truth in the military is that not everyone faces the same danger as others, I don't think that I have faced anywhere near the danger that soldiers and those doing the actual ground fighting have or the direct support to those ground guys/gals… sorry if you were offended, my comments were not meant to slight anyone's service but the truth is we were promised more than can be delivered or is want to be delivered to us and we are going to have to now change due to that fact…

          • USMC CWO-3 says:

            I agree Night-owl, some troops face more danger than others. But, How will that distinction be made? The cookie cutter "All Infantry troops face more danger than Non-infantry troops" just wont work. I know plenty of combat service support guys who were shot, hit with IED's etc. I also know some infantry guys who werent. So who makes the determination on if you assumed more risk? What's the criteria? I see the potential for alot of people getting screwed in what would have to be a subjective process or an inflexible process.

    • SF retired says:

      Night-owl you are a jackass or democrate! How about all those who are on welfare? Why don't we cut that out? I agree that many of them need assistance but there is waste beyond beleif with that system. As a retiree at least I gave something to my country to get retirement. As for congress I have 2 words without a pension "Term Limits"!

      • Night-owl says:

        Wow, how can I respond to such an intelligent assult on my basic premise: The military's current retirement system should allow CHOICES to give the roughly 70-80% of service members some sort of retirement benefits for their service, not a full pension but something… I agree that there is much waste, in the military and in the federal budget in general but there is this mistaken belief that there are just enormous programs for welfare, as compared to Defense, the entire budget for Administration for Children and Families a portion of the Dept of Health and Human Services was about 58 billion for welfare, child support enforcement, adoption support, foster care, child care and child abuse prevention – for ALL of those programs designed to help those who actually need help, the allocation of the DoD budget for pensions was about 54 billion so the arguement that we favor one group over the other is not true, we spend about the same amount… those veterans EARNED those pensions, I am not disagreeing with that basic premise but there must be reform that doesn't take from those recieving their pensions, those who want to remain in the 20 year system and an option for those who want to SERVE their country less than 20 years and still be justly compensated for it…

        BTW, neo-cons are the ones who ran us into the ditch, not that I am enamoured with the libs either, they have been promising more than can be delivered… I am an ACTUALIST… I am for things that can actually be done with the resources available…

    • I am a 20 year retired disabled ARMY vet. Most Army doctors KNOW that if an NCO has done his job, by the time they reach the 18 year mark, they don't have the HEALTH to even get a civilian job. I know. I've been there! No civilian wanted to hire me because I had a disability rating (except Fast Food). Insurance companies don't want to ensure you! It took 4 YEARS for the VA to rate me 100% disabled, even though the PROVE was in my medical records. My children and I became HOMELESS, and all I did was give 150% of myself to my country. You see, like my father, I believe in GOD and country! My father, who served 28 years (ARMY), is STILL suffering from PTSD and some unknown infection in his legs BECAUSE of Nam; who the VA is still sending through tons of paperwork. He's 83! ARMY and MARINES are ground SOLDIERS. Training and preparation for WAR is THEIR business! NO WAY should their retirement be held till age 57 or higher! Their are officers who spent their career in the "mud and guts"; and then there are alot of officers who don't! If they did, they would be FIGHTING for the future NCOs' retirement!!!! Yes I agree, some sort of 401K should be setup for all but once they reach the 20 year or above mark – GIVE THEM WHAT THEY EARNED: Retirement Pay!

      • Chief97471 says:

        Thank you for your selfless service. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who 'made-it' to 20 years then immediately after retirement are rated 100% disabled. Is there a magic switch between being "fit-for-duty" and 100% disabled or was the service carrying the individual on a social military program instead of medically retiring the individual.

        • Senior Chief says:

          Actually is more that their bodies have been working on stress. My father in law is the same way. Works himself to death, and when he comes to visit and relaxes, he gets sick.

        • Navy DOC says:

          Hey Chief,
          For those of us that have been on the go DEPLOYED for FIVE (7 Month Deployments) since 2003 we don't have time to have all our little bumps and scratches looked at. We don't try to get out of the next deployment by saying we have PTSD because we saw a truck that was hit two days ago.
          What we do is, miss out on over 4- 5 years (actual time away from home) in the last 8 yrs. We don't get that back.
          The family starts to fall apart cause dad is so mean. Why cause he has been suffering from major depression and PTSD (real) for the last 7 yrs. BUT continued to serve with VALOR and bring his boys hmoe to thier families. By the I do get 70% and I earned it.

          The one claiming the BS 100% should be forced out long before retirement. The one that came in and can't perform should go away.

          My retirment pay check will never be enough to give back all my time away from home. Not enough to live off of at all.

          Save monay fro the country?????????? Stop givining to Pakistan and stop giving free health care to illigal immigrants. No more one term retirments for CONGRESS.

          NAVY DOC "V" CHIEF

    • Charles Munn says:

      Off course the USA can afford this program. Merely raise the taxes on the upper 1%, particularly the oil companies. After all, if you are in the least bit honest you'll surely agree that the only reason we're still in Iraq is to protect it's vast oil deposits. And we're in Afghanistan mostly to protect the oil pipe lines cutting across that miserably poor country. If the American people had to pay the military cost of those wars via taxes on gasoline, we'd all be riding bicycles.

      • What!!! Raising taxes is not the panacea for everything.
        Why stop at 1%? Why not just seize every penny those lazy, good for nothing, evil, blood sucking rich people make?
        Think that would solve our problems?
        Stop being so gullible to the politics of envy!!

      • Charles Munn,

        I do not know you. But as I read your post….You seem to be a Twit. Grow up and serve our Country.

    • That sounds very reasonable. Unfortunely, that leaves those who have served and the spouses (who serve in a very different way) without any real resources when they get out. As one of the spouses who would have had a very good career and a retirement if I hadn't married a soldier, I can say that the compensation that he will get when he retires doesn't make up for even a portion of the retirement we would have had if I had not had to move every few years giving up positions. I moved overseas with him and when we got back the economy had dissolved my prospects of even getting a job in my career field (at least where I have been) leaving us not only without my eventually getting a retirement pension (which we had already given up on getting) to my not even having an income. That means that (depending on where he is stationed) we have $46,000-$66,000 less each year that I cannot work in my field. My husband went in when he was older than most recruits, so he hasn't completed his first 20 though he is close.

    • dontfgothere says:

      your idea would pretty much guarantee that this highest ranking member in the military might be an E-5 or a 0-3. why would anyone want to waste their time on a job that wouldn't get them any benefits after a specified number of years? even in the civilian world people are VESTED after a certain number of years and the longer they stay the BETTER the retirement.

      • Nigh-owl says:

        Adjust it as required but the key to keeping people in (the best people) is a combination of being paid well, a good benefit system, a better overall structure (less vertical and more horizontal – we have too many chiefs and not enough indians) and a high level of expectation… this will cause most of the slugs to leave on their own accord…

    • daywalker says:

      You best look at the underline adgenda. This is only the begining. Who is Robert Gates to recommend change of the retirement benefits. He's retiring and making millions off the system. So he does not have to worry about retirement. So it's not just about leaving out with something; rather what you deserve. Did anyone ask us as retirees…

    • Night Owl, you have probably the most reasoned approach to this subject of anyone on this blog. Logic unfettered by emotion.
      Cheers.

      • Night-owl says:

        Thank you, no matter how much we may not like it, it is inevitable, at almost all levels of our society we have been promised more than can be delivered due to the legacy problems and issues we have inheirited. Now we must, redefine what is appropriate and proceed from there… these problems are completely remorseless and must be objectively dealt with…

    • Night Owl,
      I love all you service to country guys. I spent the time, and got the gold ring. I did not ask anyone for anything. They made the rules, I simply complied. Got one question for you, What about UCMJ and the provision of loosing your retirement. Do you change UCMJ, or do you keep it as is. So do you refund their investment if they loose their retirement? See the Military is not like a civilian funding. It has special provisions. That is why they dont have a normal "Civilian" retirement! Just like the gay issue, your going to have to change UCMJ, and if you dont well you have alot of laws that gives discretion to the command to bust you. So I ask you do you really think I am going to let my kids serve in something that they have to argue these points every two to three years?

      • Night-owl says:

        No – once again, this would only be by choice, the 20 year pension would be the default with a reasonable span of time for someone to convert to another retirement plan, say within the first 10 years of service, then you are on one track or the other… I completely agree with you that military service is not like a civilian occupation and all of the other issues that would inevitably come up from changing the ret. system can be adequately addressed… but we are facing a contraction, no amount of us wanting things not to change will stop it, essentially as a nation we spend (as of the last few years) about 40% more than we take in, we will have spending cuts from all sectors of our government, even the ones that don't deserve to be cut but will be because we simply don't have the money and we will all pay higher taxes (particularly the very high income earners) – I am not for any of this by personal choice (benefits cuts/changes & tax increases) but I know that it is the only way forward…

        In reference to some particular points you made:
        - No guarantee of return on investment, offering the switch to a defined contribution vice a defined benefit plan but offer more options in the TSP (fund types)
        - As far as incentive to stay & protection / fairness for the individual member, I would propose a generous match (10%), with the guarantee of involuntary sep pay when you choose to leave, allow you to send your sep pay directly to your TSP allowing for tax deferral
        - Offer sanctuary at 15 years but require service to 20 years for your pension

    • Where is your head at. I guess its an air force thing. maybe life is to easy for you in the air force. Sir you should try living in the shoes of someone who was deployed from there family for over half their enlistment. I am not saying that you do not know what you are talking about but you should do some kind of live research before you make statements like this. Let me tell you one more thing sir if you let them change the retired pay system for anyone they will change it for everyone. and if they change mine they will break a promise to me that was made upon my enlistment in 1977, and if you allow them to break this promise what will stop them from breaking others promises like health care for life.

      • Night-owl says:

        First, thank you for your service, really I mean that, in all of this discussion on this topic I think that as I am arguing the minority opinion that is somehow getting implied… not at all…

        It is a risk, that some weasel bean counter would try something underhanded to the people who are either receiving their pensions now or want to stay in the pension system, that can be dealt with serious safeguards and guarantees but read my response to Nancy above, why if this institution is sneak, so ready to go back on its promises would anyone want to depend on them for 30+ years for pension payments if you thought they will cheat you at the first chance? Wouldn't it be better just to get your money and move on?

    • Sorry but you are wrong about the retirement pension for those who were unable to work after 20 years of service, The pension was given as a incentive to stay in the military. My husband spent 22 years in the military, was in two wars and paid his dues..He was dedicated to the military.He__retired at the age of 40. The original papers of retirement states(which we have) guarantees health care for life for both of us, (big joke.) I cannot see a military doctor unless space available, which does not happen. I use civilian doctors. At one time the congress changed the SSP from 55% of the servicemens pension and merged it with Social Security which lowered the amount awarded to the widow even though we paid into the program, it was fought for several years before being restored to original amount for those who had paid into the program.

      • Night-owl says:

        I don't believe anyone currently receiving their pension or who wants to be under the 20 years 50% pay program should not either receive that pension or not be allowed to serve… thank you for husband's dedicated service and your support for him during his time in the military… I don't know why so many people are so adamant about a policy of "one size fits all for the military" that we all have to be in the 20 year pension program or it is somehow taking from someone else… this is about personal choice… again, I argue that many on this forum would opt out of social security if they could but we are not allowed to (clergy being the exception of course) so how is that different than the pension system of the military? some are demanding that others participate in a program that may not be right for them on the assumption that what they have will be taken away from them if others choose something different…

        Also, I am sorry that the military is not living up to its promises, not providing health care even though it is in writing on his retirement papers, but isn't that just proving my point? Why would you want to depend on an institution that will either not honor in truth its stated obligation? Isn't it better just to take your hard earned pay/benefits and leave with all of them when the time is right, knowing that you own them and not have to depend on them to allocate them to you and then if they don't, have no real recourse or at best difficult means to get them to honor their obligations?

    • Night Owl, you are a hopeless individual!! If you desire to have an IRA above and beyond your pension then do so. Many men and women have served within the armed forces without complaint, or away from their families for long periods of time. Receiving no thanks from our beloved congress. Most benefits have been taken away from hard working members of the military during the last 25 years. When is the nonsense going to stop? If we as members of the armed forces allow OUR congress to chisel away at our benefits that WE have all worked and sacrificed for during our careers then WE as a whole deserve what WE get. What congress proposes is blasphemy because the military or Social Security have always been their aces in the hole to make up lost monies. If congress does not revamp their own benefits, how in the world can they justify stealing from the military coffers? Without our blood, sweat, and tears their is no America!! Wake up America, for God's sake man fight for your benefits or WE will forever lose them to a bunch of
      scoundrels!!!

    • No Night-Owl… You're the one who doesn't get it! If you don't invest at least 20 years of service, you don't deserve anything! This entire proposal is based on a comparison to the civillian world. Guess what… it's not a civillian job! How many civillians are deployed for months at a time? How many are forced to uproot and move their families every 2-4 years? How many holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, births, funerals… do they miss? How many civillians have had friends killed right next to them, or die in their arms, wearing the splatter of blood and body parts? Show me a civillian company who will give anything to those who walk away with 12 years on the job.. or lost their job due to down-sizing. Top performers don't get down-sized!
      more…

    • You mentioned FERS as an option. Do you even have a clue about FERS? My wife has paid into FERS for over 20 years! It's a joke and an insult! 89% of all people who retire prior to age 55 die within 10 years! So, when you die prior to "normal retirement age"… guess who receives NO money for their years of service and sacrifice? Critics of the current system claim that our retirement benefits are unfair and disproportionate to civillian jobs. Ya think? Our jobs are unfair and disproportionate! I guess your 12+ years in the USAF pretty much makes you an expert on retirement. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, " man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards."
      MMC/SS USN Retired

  7. Squiddily says:

    How about congress and senate take a pay cut and retirement cut first. IE 50% pay cut and 100%retirement cut. no-one after 4 or 6 yrs. need 100% of their pay or allowances .

    • Terri Hunt says:

      Don't forget that if the Congressman dies, his spouse gets 100% of his pay without having to pay for surviving spouse benefits.

      • retiree says:

        Care to provide a reference, or is this another urban myth like "congress gets 100% pension after 1 term"?

  8. Martin Stewart says:

    Most Military Retirees join the work force after 20 or 30 years of service and normally work for 10 or 20 years more until age 65 or later. A military pension, earned through many years of service, is basically a hedge on poverty. Social Security is a joke, since no one can live on Social Security Benefits…Sadly, the cost of Dog Food is such that those trying to survive solely on Social Security, can’t even live on that food source.

    For the past ten years or so our elected officials have been raping, pillaging, and plundering from the American People our treasure and savings. They have mortgaged our security to the Chinese and only now acknowledge that the bills are coming due and we need to belly up to the bar and pay our bills.

    The last place our elected officials need to look too pay for their blunders is the backs of those they have been so quick to send into harms way. They are playing with a powder keg that could explode real easy. All one has to do is look at some of the comments of some of the folks on this site and realize that this is a powder keg you don’t want to ignite.

    • I agree with you, because if they take away or reduce military retirement benefits, this might have a very bad consequences for all branches to maintain retention in their critical services.

    • You are 1005 right. People in our government dont' even think that this nation of our citizens are "capable" or would be desireable to physically take this administration to task and phsysically kick them out of office. They are mistaken and the temper of many Americans are thinking that our fore fathers took action and maybe we should also. There are many retired and experienced military capable to take on thje government, and brothers in arms of actice service might not uphold any mandate by a corrupt government. A power keg indeed. I hjope some of these candy-ass politicians read these forums…and heed.

    • Darin Hayes says:

      Amen to you sir! I can’t for life of me figure out how it has come to pass that our elected officials, servants of the people of this great country, continue to get fat on the harvest of the rest of the populace, and yet short of sporadic chest pounding, nothing has been done to put their exhorborant incomes and pensions in check. If it were up to me, their pensions and pay would be merit based and they would all be held as accountable for their misconducts and lack of true moral character and sacrifice in service to this country and it’s people. Maybe, just maybe, then we would have true leaders in positions of power. Positions of power that were entrusted unto them to serve those who elected them. I furvently believe that if a cut in benefits and pension revisions is to take place, it should come from the very pinnacle and trickle down.

  9. I thought you didn't get full retirement now till your 10 year inactive reserve time is up after retirement. Anyway, i think the 401K plan is good IF the gov matches your input amount up to a certain amount like big businesses do.
    Longer life is becoming common now and lots more money is needed for retirees along with tri-care for life which i hope does not change because we already pay $100 a month for it if on medicare. Also maybe let Military retirees take their 401K out early with no penalty.
    I think if they cut people, they should cut officers and Sr NCO's first, especially those with over 30 years in and high ranking with no command or 1st Sgt., NOT the real workers.

    • Isn't this what the TSP is for? I been out since 2008, but they were allowing Military to contribute to the TSP. Which, is essentially the same thing as a regular 401k plan. I contributed to that for a few years, while I was in the Reserves.

    • i retired 11 years ago at 20 years, been receiving a check monthly since then as per my initial contract. that's the point they keep reducing the amount and when you can receive as time goes by. Now they want to make it available at retirement age and to people with 10 years or more. will probably do this by reducing the benefit to a lower amount possible 35%-40% instead of 50. They expect to save money doing this by the odds of survival to the age of 65. Retired master chiefs in the navy have a life expectancy of 5-10 years from discharge date. I read that somewhere but can't remember where. But if you die they don't have to pay out anything.

    • If you are in the military for 20 years and didn't become a Sr NCO, then I probably wouldn't consider you one of the worker.

    • CptPopeye says:

      I am an officer with 20 years enlistedtime and 8 commissioned years. I take exception to your comments in two ways. First, I "work" just as hard as the next guy. Second, youshould be ashamedof yourself for separating the team. Where I'm from, we leave no one behind,we are one Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. You need to reassess your priorities.

      • I agree with you, anyone who thinks that people in the higher grades do not work have never been in a higher grade and probably never will be. I entered the Army in 1953 with an eight grade education and retired after 20 years of service as a CW3, and i worked all the way to my retirement.
        CW3 AS

    • I have to disagree with you that a 401(k) is a good option. A 401(k) is a variety of investments – in the stock market. If you had a 401(k) in 2008 then you would have watched it tank while you hope that some of the moneys return as the economy improves. If someone spends 20 years fighting for my country they deserve to know that they will have a fixed income! I do think that congress shouldn't have benefits for the rest of their lives once they've completed one term. I also don't think their health benefits should be any better than the benefits the rest of the country has.

    • Sr NCO's? Where do you get the idea they do not work? Wake up!! Speakl for yourself!! I know several that worked beyond necessary to get the job done and do it right while some other lower ranks sat on the bottoms complaining!! You must be ion some other planet if you think our government which by the way, in case you have not heard, is broke, is going to contribute to your 401K . They will have to ask the chinese to contribute to YOUR 401K and I really do not think the chinese has any interest in you. Good Luck!!

  10. Oh, i agree Congress needs to cut their pay and take no pay raise like us retirees have too do. Make term limits for Congress like president and also make them wait till 58 to collect anything also, although most are that age anyway. Congress is off more than working and gets per diem along with all the tax incentives of writing off everything they do in Washington. To cut the deficit, they need to cut tax loop holes where the rich write off everything they do to include buying expensive planes and also entertain with hookers and get away with it. Congress should clean house there before even thinking of where the Constitution legally says taxes should go too which is the military to include benefits and pay. I do think in the long run though if nmatched from E-1, a 401K would amoundt to more than retirement IF a person spends it right after age 57.
    I am one that took many years since i retired in 94 to get disability because of cuts by Clinton. After 2002, i got it because manpower was increased to take care of our claims. Now are we gonna go back to the 90's and not be prepared for war or attack in manpower and weapons and such? I hope not, but if the current Senate and prez do what they want, we will be in trouble.
    The constitution says taxes are for defense!!!!! that includes taking care of us even after retirement in order to keep good people in.

    • I agree that Congress and the Senate need pay decreases, they aklso need to let the people who vote for them decide if they get a pay raise. Also they get a retirement after Six years of service. Yet they want to change the military retirement ? Why not change theres first? Show us how to deal with the changes in pay and medical benifits!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Easy solution for Congressional pay raises

        Tie them to the same CPI as Social Security and Military retirement.

  11. And yet still the people with their hand out in the ghetto will still get welfare, medicaid, HUD housing, food stamps…The elderly will still get full Medicare and Social Security benefits…I don't mind the elderly getting what's coming to them, most are retirees…The ones I don't get are the ones that have realized that a helping hand has turned nito a handout…The entitlement bunch….I will fight til I'm gone before they cut retirement but not the entitlement programs…

    • Look, their are just as many whites on welfare as blacks,now what you just said was racist. What about the immigrants who found a loop hole in the american system. How is that they get welfare,drivers licenses,a place to live,put their kids in our school and receive federal aid and they are illegal in this country. Now blacks have worked and died for this country, but yet, you talk about blacks on welfare. WOWWWWWW

      • Hey there Jerry, Just where do you see that Gregg H said anything about race. He was talking about areas where people live and the fact that some people just have the misfortune of having generations of family that just don't know how to find a job. Or that they are to lazy to go work for their money they would rather get a handout and sit around and complain that they have nothing. And yes I agree that illegals have figured out this loop hole that the Politicians have so graciously provided for those that are lazy. You need to get a grip on yourself because you seem to be a racist yourself. There was no mention of black or white there

      • Jerry you must have a guilty concience or something try reading what Gregg wrote and you will find he did not mention anything about color what so ever.Saw absolutely nothing racist about his comments but can not say the same about yours thin skin I guess. Just an observation. Illegals is a different topic for discussion we can probably agree on that one.

    • Patrick Denny says:

      Well Gregg H, I grew up in the "Ghetto", I am Black. My parents were never on welfare, and I believe one is only entitled to whatever you earn…guess what, there's a lot of people that grew up the same way I did, many of us served in the Military because we chose to….guess there's something in common with wherever you grew up and the "Getto", huh? But I will give you this, the welfare system is getting better, it still needs work. There are research grants for useless experiments, foriegn aid policies, grant to oil companies that ruin our ecosystem…..could you tell me why we cannot start there instead? You appear to be focusing on a particlar ethnic group or groups……

    • Dwane Brown says:

      Even the illegals and immigrant workers are on Social security! In congress was a bill waiting for Obama to sign giving the immigrant Mexicans the ability to draw on our SS program if they paid in AND to count their earnings from the system they paid into when employed in Mexico! BTW, if a Mexican drew off his SS at retirement in Mexico, he/she would be able to draw out only what he paid in, period.

    • conraddobler says:

      Don't forget to mention all of the "suburban" welfare queens that nobody likes to talk about…in addition to corporate welfare and schemes that has enriched folks 'like' George Bush, Dick Cheney, Carl Rove, Oliver North and such- I know it's not popular but facts are facts…

    • Don't forget white trashy trailer parks

    • I agree with you completely.

  12. I left the active duty Air Force in 2001 after 8 years and and got hired with the Air Force as a civilian and the USAFR and have been serving in the reserves ever since. I'm fast approaching my TFAMS 20 year mark, with 14 years active time (did 4 1/2 years as an AGR in the reserves). I won't see any retirement funds until the age of 60 from either my civil service or reserve pensions. Both my pensions will be OK whenever I retire in 2035. I planned for the future, and not the next day, week or month.
    The fact that a soldier, airman or sailor is deployed and can't "homestead" or lead a normal life, is a way of life that they volunteered for, not forced into. If they don't like it…leave voluntarily, but don't complain about. If a soldier gets a partial retirement after say…10 years, but can't utilize it until age 60…then that's better than nothing under the current system. Retirement is an entitlement, not a right.

    • MSgt Eric Roseberry says:

      Well no. The current system is a contractual obligation. The government of the United States is obligated to pay retirement benefits as agreed to in each individuals enlistment/commissioning contract. So yes, each of us does in fact have a right to expect to recieve the retirement plan offered to us.

    • Melissa says:

      You're dead wrong. Just because you made the choice to leave active duty and serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year does not mean it's the correct choice for others. When you left active duty you gained a lot. You were paid for overtime, if you were asked to work more than a five day week you were paid double time. My husband worked seven days weeks and 18 hour days when out to sea for six months at a time. Once duty the war it was 8 ½ months. He once had a six pack cruise. After two months at sea with no port call the crew of his ship was given two beers. This happens for six months…hence the six pack tour. I wonder how many beers you drank during those six months. How many times did you hug your kids or be intimate with your wife. He was not home for dinner he did not get to see my first child learn to walk. He missed many holiday dinners and anniversaries. You did not because you chose not to serve on active duty. He chose this life based on being a patriot. You are what's wrong with this country and what will be the ruin of our military.

    • AGR really? Try deploying 5 times in the last 9 years. I could careless about you and AGR. AGR is the biggest scame in the military.

    • retired guy says:

      Did you really read your post? The retirees hear are telling our active duty brothers of the problems of being on ACTIVE duty can cause. Your RESERVE duty, is noble and awesome, yet it is not the same. You appear to have a civil service job to boot! Good for you. You probably have lived in your current home for 10-15 years. Heck, it may be paid off. Try going coast to coast 3 times in 12 years for four year tours. Try raising a family at the same time. Try starting over at 44-48 years old. Your situation is not even close to the same.

    • Johnny G. says:

      You makes a very good point CBS. A partial retirement at 10 years is better than nothing under the current system. However, have you considered what is best for defending this great country we have. It's easy to say if you don't like the proposed change you can leave voluntary. For whetever reason you left the service after 8 years, taking your experience with you. (By the way thank you for your service) What do you think would happen to the military if it was required to replace experience people every 8 years. In the words of the late JFK. "Think not of what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country." No I thank a better way to cut funding is not on the backs of our military but instead U.S. Politician should be required to give up some of their salaries and retirement benifits.

    • Marine 1 says:

      Using your logic, " The fact that a soldier, airman or sailor is deployed and can't "homestead" or lead a normal life, is a way of life that they volunteered for, not forced into. If they don't like it…leave voluntarily, but don't complain about.", one could also say something like, "The offer was made regarding a 20 yr retirement and we took it and based our futire lived on it… if government doesn't like it NOW they should NOT have offered it in the first place."
      In addition, how many political "jobs" have a divorce rate, family separation rate, suicide rate, life threating rate (combat), etc… close to that of a military person?!?!?!
      And please, none of this, 'if you don't like it leave" logic because A LOT of people joined out of respect/duty for country which can NEVER really have a value placed on it. However, ALMOST EVERY political position/job has a value that one can capitalize on even if it they occupy it for a short period of time OR if they screw up and get canned!!!
      Though I agree we have a fiscal problem… let's try to explore ALL other avenues BEFORE we "tinker" with people who have actually "put it ALL on the line" (i.e. when you enter the military, you have a better chance of serious injury/loss of life then 95% of those who receive some form of UNEARNED government assisatnce).

    • Russell says:

      I have spent almost 30 years in the military I have been in this long to get a good retirment and it is my right after this time.

    • LSH/ MSG Ret. says:

      I went on active duty in 1969,it wasn't exactly voluntary. Seventeen years old and the draft going on?If you were drafted or volunteered it does not matter. There is a contract with the service members that cannot be broken without serious consequences to the military readiness of our country. The retirement received does not compare to what the civilian sector receives, so what we do get, we have earned .Congress should lead the way, not push from behind! Save money on their benefits first!

    • dumb grunt says:

      Pogue, who cares how well you are doing, have you ever deployed? had to actually fight for your country, left with problems to deal with on your own, how about have you had to do it over and over with the single goal of a early retirement at the end? I count on that retirement because the things that I have been through has left me a little screwy and I will be able to supliment a job at mcdonalds with a little cash to buy my kids school clothes.
      I am so happy that you are such a good planner. I am able to plan a couple things: what I will do on R&R and that I will be going back to war again soon. I cant believe how many good buddies I have lost and d-bags like you are breathing, able to post this crap

    • jbeck1985 says:

      I have served 8.5 years of my 26 to the USA. I at one point of career worked 100 hours a week with barely Sunday off at that time making E5 pay. I spent my 21st & 22nd Birthday in a combat Zone and will spend my 27th as well. Yes as you might remember before you started to Sham in your career, we do join for more than just a Paycheck. If I tell you tomorrow that the contract you signed is no longer something I, your boss care about. Would that not cause you to have an uproar and take him to court for suite? If he says well you have done 19 years for me and you have submitted your retirement.. BUT I am going to Fire you now so you don't get it. Would you not sue… When I joined before we Invaded Iraq, I made a promise with my life knowing if I broke that promise the US Army would throw me in Jail. But on the other side of that promise now the US Army is saying we are not going to honor our side but you will honor yours.. Is that not the perfect example of injustice? I think CBS you need to think hard about if you are a servicer member or a civilian because as of now you have turned your back on all Service Members..

    • That's not true. Military retirement is a right, and more importantly it's a legal contract that the service member has signed for. People have stayed in the military for service and financial. I realize they may change it, but do they have a right to change it on someone who has 19 1/2 years of service???? My husband has served and I have moved and lost jobs with retirement in the company that would of grown could I have stayed. I had 12 years with a major airline and was acrueing a retirement and I had to leave because they wouldn't give me a leave of absence to move to a foreign country. Military retirement is a wonderful program and I realize they might change it, however, I don't think it's okay to t ell someone at 20 years that we lied to you and are breaking a legal contract. Sorry!!!
      I

  13. I had a goal – get a retirement. That was the main thing which kept me going. I achieved my goal – 23yrs. Even though it is an Army Reserve Retirement and I wil not get my money until I am 60, it was something I planned on. This is a good system and needs to be kept going. It keeps a stable defense force for our country and allows men and women to achieve their goals.

  14. XParaman says:

    The problem with this Gates and other plans is you cannot compare the Military to a civilian job. I spent more time away from home then at home. And home changed quite often, it was called change of duty station. We as retirees need to speak up for our younger brothers. The 20 year system was put into place to reward us for the scarafices we made during our enlistment. Why would anyone want to do what we did to get a retirement that you could not get until 60 and had to help pay for. Even cops have a 20 year retirement because they lay it on the line. Stress from combat, divorce is rampart, you have no stable home, otherwise, you give up a lot to get that 20 year retirement. They are going down a path that is wrong, and the all volinteer military will suffer if they do.

    • Cops will never come to your house after they retire to answer a 911 call. The whole "lives-on-the-line" thing is b.s….if it's so hard why not compensate them while actively employed and address the implied work conditions. There is no correlation between a tough job and collecting $100k for the next 30 years of your life while NOT on the job.

    • Woodman says:

      Very well said

  15. One critical factor that no one here probably knows is that the DoD pension plan, TSP, etc are insurance products. People are ignorant or plead ignorance when faced with the facts and challenged to come up with answers.

    The DoD must continue to pay an annual premium to the pension programs (insurance) which invests in different vehicles to gain a return on investment to pay salaries to retirees. Right now, and in the foreseeable future, budget constraints are preventing the DoD from being able to cough up large insurance premiums (cash) to fund pension programs and money managers are struggling to find investments that are stable and lucrative enough to provide the return on investment to pay out retirement salaries. This is why they want to move to 401k type investments, instead of garnering income from an insurance policy, retirees would draw retirement income from their own principal investments. At 38-40, most veterans will be working another job anyhow – why the need to start drawing on retirement immediately? This, by the way, has no effect on medically discharged or disabled veterans…money for that compensation is different than from standard retirement.

    And this isn't just the military…public employees are going through this right now as states and cities will be moving from pensions to 401k deals as well.

    • MSgt Eric Roseberry says:

      You are really discussing risk. The government could simply pay this obligation from the current DoD budget. Instead it pays a premium and transfers the risk to a third party. Shifting away from the current plans (which are defined benefit plans) to a 401k arrangement simply transfers that risk to the individual. 401k's were a great deal for Business and individuals are starting to understand no so much for individuals. 401k Millionares are starting to understand just how "at risk" their future security really is.

    • Why is it that the government can pay airline retirement programs (which it took over about 5 or six years ago) and other pensions for certain companies that were going bankrupt, but they can't find the money to fulfill their obligations to the very people they send into harms way?

      • Because those other systems paid into the Pension Benefits Guarantee System for years. Oh, and when they took over the airline pension systems, most retirees say drastic (say better than 505, in some cases 90%) cuts in their benefits.

        Feel free to advocate the same for the military – but I don't think you do.

    • Sea Marshal says:

      You have several good points in your statement, which to me is the central issue in the discussion – the 401k plans. I, however do not like the idea of 401k's. People think they will be better off because their money (retirement) is in their hands. Keep this in mind though, "How successful will most members be in guiding their investments during their careers with the military?" Another factor to consider is each time you will make a move with your money an investment broker will get a cut (administrative fee) to manage your funds. If you have good investments you may be okay with paying fees each time you complete a transaction, but if not… Keep in mind too that with your money invested in a 401k, if your stock tanks or the economy tanks again, you've lost. It is not my theory, I heard it from a fellow worker, and it makes perfect sense, Wall Street wants private investment throughout the work force because that is where they will make money (managing yours). Whether you win or lose they will make money on moving your around.

  16. So the Govt will gripe about how good the militay has it but won't address Unions? There are a lot of good ideas here but I think before we talk about taking from the military, there are many other programs that need to be addressed. If anyone thinks someone can leave the military after 20 years and live off their retirement, they are dreaming. The folks are just getting what they earned. Like the man said, after Congress gives up their retirement benefits, then address other military or government programs.

    • Retired NCO says:

      Amen Don L!! There is no way my family could live off of my 22 yr retirement check….I think some in the civilian world have the idea "that the grass is always greener on the other side". We still pay federal and state taxes out of our retirement checks, must pay survivor benefits in order for our spouses to receive a portion of our retirement upon our death, add the cost of Tricare and dental>NOT MUCH LEFT

  17. I feel so bad for our young people serving these days. They are litterally dieing for our freedoms when so many so-called conservatives won't even take the time to vote the liberals out of office.

    • soaringeagle says:

      Did ever stop and think that that maybe the tea party is one behind all of these cuts. It's the Congress not the liberals. Who controls the Congress?

    • No they aren't dying for"OUR" freedom but are keeping our country safe. The wars we are engaged in now should not be our problem..but the countries themselves do their own dirty work. Has anyone ever asked the congress what the hell we are doing it for???? They spend trillions of dollars on crap like this and expect us to keep quiet about it. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE DOING.. nuff said

  18. I retired two years ago as a Major from the USA and I am also a disabled veteran. I purchased my home prior to retiring from active duty and it is now upside down. I have yet to find suitable employment and I already had a Masters in Public Administration. There are too many qualified people and not enough jobs. This may be difficult for those of you still on active duty to understand but when you will leave the service, you need your benefits upfront. Your civilian peers are way more attractive to employers right now, because they have the relevant experience you do not. You can lead, manage, and supervise and you have lots of other skills, but your missing the most important element, networks. You have moved your entire life, so finding helpful contacts is no easy task. I have survived inspite of this due in large part to my retirment & disability checks. My wife also has a decent job. Protect the current system, it provides retirees a revenue stream that will somewhat offset your eventual reduced standard of living. Lastly, despite popular belief, pay does not increase your entire life. It may take you another 15 to 20 years of work on a civilian job, just to catch up with your peers.

    • USN-Ret.. says:

      thank you major, a lot of our military peers are not so informed, they (we) all are in such a bubble while in the services that when they leave the service, they don't realize how "handicapped" they are compared to their civilian counter-part..like you said even the experience of leadership, management and on hand skill set are not enough to be hired. However, what really disappoint me with everyone who writes on this site is that "are we doing anything about the situation, we have been trained to act and re-act to adversities, WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?" except whine and dine…

    • Lou is correct. I retired in 1995 as a Lieutenant Colonel and went to work again at the bottom of the pecking order, as a bilingual elementary teacher in South Texas. It was like being a PFC or Corporal all over again. I am now teaching college (Political Science) but you never really catch up again. Civil Service was not an option because of the prejudice against military retirees and in some areas there is an idea that you have a "retirement" why do you want to work–you're taking a job away from someone who needs it [as if we all don't need to work too].

      jcb

    • Major, this is the exact problem I have, not the disabled part, I am not. The part on finding a good paying job to match my skill. One in eight years of retirement. That one for an oilfield support company, which laid myself and thousands of others off in 09.

      A 20 year old out of tech training was hired at just three dollars an hour less than I was, with 23 years experience. We come out at 38-43 and start near the bottom, even if we get to start at all.

      EW1(EW) USN, Retired

    • PAUL LILLING says:

      Major Lou from Major Paul (USAF). Retired in 1977, two tours in Viet Nam cast on my left side hip to toe–no bands played- agent orange and numerous service connected injuries. Have four degrees including D.Sc. from major universities. Never knew that my VA documented SC injuries compensation would be deducted from my earned active retired compensation. NEVER was informed about the offset. Turned 77 in Jan. Anyone considering a military career is just NUTS! I was promised FREE lifetime medical for my family for career service. Education and military management and experience practically worthless in job search. Look up Concurrent Receipt HR 303 and 333. As long as there in NO DRAFT military personnel will be always be on the short end of the stick. Best benefit–10% discount at Home Depot and Loews. The Congress is dealing with honoring the national debt and consquences (faith and credit bond rating)–military service promises—regardless of party forget it!! You are AT Will with no effective representation.

    • Lou, you sound like me. Here is what I did. I startred mu own biz in vacation rentals and also work as a defense contractor.The contractor gig is only short term for the big bucks but the rental biz is long term and and excellent source of income. Good Luck.

  19. There you have it folks. These are the people you have been workng for. These are the people that send you into a combat zone. These are the people you fight and die for. These are the people who are now showing their true colors about what they think of your service to your country. Biden and Gates and obama only want to further their agenda. Your life and your familys life mean nothing to them. 20/25 years of moving, separation and doing without are your reward for serving your country. The pay raises that we have gotten these last few years are a slap in the face. The country and the military are going down the toilet folks.

  20. 24yrs. in the navy and i will tell you. i dont think iam going to live past 50yrs old. I gave my youth of health to the military. Since i have retired, I have a broken down body that hurts everyday. My mind is almost gone, i cant think anymore. i have lost 2 marriages to the military. I have older kids in college that dont want nothing to do with me,even though i took care of them their entire lives. Now my mortgage and bills take all of my retirement. Their is no way you can do active duty 20+ and live to 60 to get a check. reserves i understand because its 2 days a month and 2 weeks a year. People that complain want last 2 years of active duty. Condition we live under on navy ships, a homeless person will turn it down. I will like to see gates sleep on a ship in a coffin for 20yrs.

    • Sorry you are hurting so bad Jerry, but you didn't have to stay in the Navy all those years. You could have switched at any time after each enlisnment. The Air Force isn't so hard on your body.

    • Jerry thta was some funny shyyt. Sleeping in a coffin. i know exactly what you're talking about.

  21. fulletk says:

    Quote: Congress should lead by example! They should put their retirement under Social Security! No way should they get a full retirement after one term in office! Lead by example (and no grandfather clauses)!
    ______________________________________________________________
    The House and Senate are under the Federal Employment Retirement System. This is a 401(K) plan. Nobody in Congress gets full retirement after one term. Participation in Social Security is part of FERS. Essentially what Secretary Gates is proposing is some variation of FERS. So the militry would be under a system comparable to what Congress has today.

    • tdhowell says:

      @fulletk: Good info – most of us have heard they get full retirement after a single term in the Senate. Here is how it really works:

      "Retirement with a deferred, full pension is available at age 62 to former Members of Congress with at least five years of federal service."

      Full pension is determined by multiplying the annual pay by the retirement rate (1.7%) and then by the number of years in congress. Hardly the huge the retiremetn many of us thought they get.

      • I'll switch to their retirement system if I can start out making $174,000 a year and can vote myself a payraise.

        • IT1 Mark H. USN says:

          Absolutely Hector! Again, it isn't the same! They don't have to deploy and get paid more than a 4-star!

  22. MSgt USAF (Ret) says:

    In my humble opinion, many of you have got it wrong. Implementing this system won't leave us with an aging force, it'll cause a constant rotation of youngsters in and out of the services who stay only long enough to attain vestment in a retirement, then high tail it out. No one will stay in for 20 if they can leave with benefits at 10. The current system wasn't intended as compensation for veterans who could not work due to ailment incurred during their service. It's intended as as compensation for the piss poor pay and crappy conditions we put up with for 20+ yeas in the defense of our country. Compensation for ailments is provided by the VA; a different system. Gates wants to give everyone with 10+ years of service something rather than let them leave with nothing. Where's this new money coming from? Also new retirees won't be able to collect until later in their lives. Sounds a lot like Social Security to me. I say leave the system alone. If you want to pension, suck it up and stay for 20. Every time the DoD does an early out program they they offer financial incentives. I think the proposed changes are a bad idea all around. Few will stay for 20 if there's no incentive. And this will only end up costing the taxpayer more in the long run.

    • TC1USCG (Ret) says:

      You have a point however, I have to disagree. We have a whole new group of warriors who have had to serve back to back tours (and then some) in different theaters. Then, come home to unemployment, broken homes and lives and face an uphill battle to get treatment and compensation they deserve. They will be spreading the word and our infinite supply of youngsters that you seem to think are in great abundance are not there. My point is, I live in a sub with over 1000 families. Not many kids. Most have 1 or 2 at most. A good gauge is my sons 2009 graduation class of 300. Only 1 was going into the military and that was west point. The supply of grunts and tarmac sweepers are drying up faster than a 90 year old tit and I don’t see many families eager to provide a supply of fresh young blood to fight our nations wars. So, I hope those brave military personal who are sitting in some air conditioned safe room flying a drone 10k miles away is comfy, he/she’s gonna be there a while.

      • USN-Ret.. says:

        hey TC1..don't worry about fresh USA young blood when we do run out of those incredible human sources .. congress would just outsource the military services or hire the illegal to do what we use to do..

  23. There is no civilian job equivelent to the military. Civilian jobs pay overtime at time and a half – not the military. In my 20 year career, I never got paid overtime, although it happened every month that I served active duty. 60 to 70 hours weekly were common and still are in the active career, with no overtime compensation. Put that in your civilian job comparision and give me the back pay for all the overtime I put in for a 20 year career! I'd be able to purchase any house I wanted and live the life style I earned! Most career personnel do not live to the age of 60 years old either – so it's a win, win for the government pukes that sent us to war – no retirement, or health benefits for the retired military! The national average for life after 20 years of a military career is 6-10 years, and the politicians know it. Some of us are lucky and survive until after the age of 60, but there a vastly more of us that do not make it to age 60! Look at the statistics you morons!

    • Sounds sort of weird that "live only" 6-10 years after 20. I'm retired after 23 years and I'm 77 and still kicking. Not in my prime but doing ok. My brother died last year and he was 83 and my other one is 80. They were both retired military also. So where in hell did you get your information…out of an outhouse somewhere?

      • Smoking too many cigarettes shortens life significantly. I can guess you or your brothers don't smoke. Thank you all for your service.

        • Yeah, I'm sure the asbestos on the ships, the mandatory shots we were required to have by threat of Courts-Marshal (some never FDA approved for obvious reasons) and the constant exposure to cancer causing radiation from the power plants didn't have anything to do with the shortened life span!

    • edward walker says:

      I with you one that pay me for my over time my house would be pay off.

  24. Ivan Cohen says:

    This is the other side of the coin which recruiters don't get into because they are out to fill a monthly quota. The swift kick in the rear end by elected and appointed officials. Seems to me that they take the same oath as service members do. Of course they could have had their fingers crossed behind their backs while mouthing the words. Sooner or later all of this will catch up to America……one fine mess!

  25. What happened to the "Support the Troop" garbage?

  26. Get rid of ALL retirement for everyone. That includes the already filthy rich politicians of this country (that are living off the working taxpayers along w/ the lazy folks). THAT way no one can gripe and complain. People in general are just sick and tired of the rich running the show, ruining it, then the working taxpayers getting screwed.

  27. Bobch47 says:

    Let's screw with the politicians retirement pay as well and see how they like it. We do not get "retired pay" what we actually get is the money we should have gotten if the government paid us full rate when on active duty which makes the money we get in retirement from the service "DEFERRED COMPENSATION" and as such, it is owed and payable.

  28. RetiredUSN says:

    What a blithering idiot…another liberal conspiracy theorist.

  29. polcat9a says:

    It's funny that the President, Congress and the high ranking military officials who keep wanting to take away more of what we have already earned. Why can't we scrutinize there pay, pensions, healthcare, perks etc and let's cut them and see how they like it. It probably won't matter anyway because most of them are born with the old silver spoon.
    The security of this country is going to go down the toilet with this proposal! Do they actually believe we will have the same type of military?

  30. I am a military wife. I am ashamed of what this country is trying to do to my husband and other military (AD & Retired). I am tired of whole families living on welfare, for YEARS…it was started as a helping hand…not a permanent hand out. CUT that. Stop paying welfare to children whose parents have never paid a tax to our government. The reason the country is where it is …. too many people sitting on their ass doing nothing. Too many overweight or alcholic people getting disability…why are we paying for the fact that they cant put down the bottle or the fork. This is common sense people. CUT or restructure where the most loss of money is from…and it is not the military….it is welfare and disability. People keep finding loopholes and use them. Why work when you can still get paid for not working. The military works hard, they die so that some idiot can say…cut military benifits. If you think that the military gets too much…live their life…you will change your mind. Stupid people who have no idea of what the military does need to shut their mouths and go away. Fix welfare, fix disability, fix what needs to be fixed…leave the military alone…

    • springchickenot says:

      That's a myth that welfare is the big problem. Of course, nobody likes to see somebody getting an income that shouldn't. But it's a drop in the bucket compared to the "welfare" that corporations and the rich get. 80% of farm subsides go to large corporate farms, not the small farmers who need it. Some get millions per year and aren't even American companies! Then you have subsidies for oil companies who make billions in profits, drug companies, bankers get bailed out, and we give billions to foreign countries (foreign aid) to buy our weapons, which are then sometimes used against our own troops. On top of that, they cut the taxes for the rich, many of whom don't pay much in the first place because their income is protected in offshore banks. Check it out. It's far more than what we pay on welfare for poor people.

      • BigRed47 says:

        Since the War on Poverty, started by LBJ in the mid 60's we have transferred in Welfare payments over 7 trillion dollars. This is a fact. You can look it up. And the fact is we have more poor today than when we started it. It was never intended to help the poor. It was a vote getter and still is. Have we given 7 trillion dollars in retirement to military since the mid 60's. I don't think so.

    • Steven Stiller says:

      I agree with most of your post as a veteran, however I didn't ask to get disabled by the things I saw and the things that I knew as a soldier. So not all of us on disability and state aid are from a foreign country.. Laying down for any guy that will give them another chunk of money for a kid.

  31. mickeybost says:

    you can bet that the congress that are over 65 are getting there social security
    and now take our retirment wake up american.stop the waste dont pay the congress a retirement unless they do 30 years or more.these people are not getting shot at.lets get these b##holes out of office

  32. helloagain says:

    funny, remember that ole saying "he's a snake in the grass", funny how retirement is the first thing to be changed when the washington bunch cant balance their own check books, let alone, the countries! lets build somemore of those f-35 billion dollar fighters and make the military members eat hay. just a shame!

  33. quillerm says:

    Gates and his supporters would not come up with any plan unless it saves the government Billions. The welfare of a military retiree is the last thing these guys are worried about. They are going to cut your medical, dental, disability and retirement benefits if you don't vote them out first. Do you really want to be fighting in some desert rat hole until your 60 years old just to get $1500 a month in retirement. If you buy into this new scam that is just what you will be doing.

  34. Army Vet says:

    my Army retirement is frozen, my civil service pay is frozen for 2 years, possibly longer, and FERS stinks. a 3-legged stool. bull. social security may or may not be there and then they want to raise the age limit. the investments (TSP) is only as good as the market is and for the past 10 years it has taken big hits. and the FERS retirement is a third of what the CSRS folks get. so add all 3 of my pieces and still equals half at best of what CSRS get. and to make it worse, let's raise TRICARE premiums and co-pays. Congress needs to take some cuts and so do the big brass.

    • Why is your Army retirement frozen?? Is it because you work as a civil service type as well?

  35. quillerm says:

    There are about 1.6 million CSRS retirees versus about 280,000 under FERS; similarly, there are about 590,000 CSRS survivor beneficiaries compared with about 27,000 under FERS. The average monthly benefit for CSRS retirees is about $2,600 and for FERS retirees about $950; survivor benefits average
    about $1,200 and $400, respectively. The difference in benefit
    levels reflects the less generous FERS computation; FERS was designed
    to produce benefits roughly equivalent to those under CSRS after
    taking into account Social Security coverage and enhanced TSP
    benefits.

    The Gates proposal is just like the plan offered to Federal employees who changed from CSRS to the FERS. As you can see average benefits under the old retirement system is $2600 a month, FERS is only $950. Both the military member and their surviving spouse will lose under this new proposal. DO NOT LET IT HAPPEN. WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN NOW.

  36. MSGT USAF Ret, I like you probably know what you mean by piss poor pay 57/76. Now these were the times of poor pay going yrs with little or no raises.When I retired in 76 in my 18th yr as a SCPO E-8 my B/P was $1000. so that 1st ret. check was $495.
    I'm really wondering what has people like gates take so long to get around to ret.pay. I believe E-9's r allowed to go to 40 only they know why but I guess it's because of the total compensation package I understand a E-9 on 30 pulls down over $125,000. At 40 yrs he's allowed to draw his full B/P in ret. not a bad deal. After that many yrs I'm sure there's connections to get some sweet duty.

  37. We have served our nation honorably,given when asked t give went where we really didn't want to go, slept in horrirble conditions, went days without a shower, ate crap for meals and got dust and mud,cordite and diesel, agent orange, bullets, malaria, tb, and other sorts of diseases but we kept going, i want the Government people to know that if they had to live in the conditions we as service members had to live most would not serve even one term in office because most couldn't handle it, but some forget what it was like to serve because they have been twitter patted with Washington D.C. watch bambi

  38. Msgt . Scott Ret says:

    Thanks for everything Congress My 21 years in the military and service in Vietnam mean shit to you All vets should vote against anyone who votes for this bill__Msgt Allen R. Scott Ret

  39. tc1uscg says:

    DNG. You hit the nail right on target. I have FORBID any of my 4 children to join the military. 3 of them are military brats and 2 in HS and 1 in college. Recently had a AF recruiter ask me if my 17 year old daughter considered joining. We almost went into a throwdown. I basiclly told him after my 20 years of military service and seeing how congress likes to treat our retirement, medical coverage, the educational bill(s) that are always on a rollercoaster ride, he could pack sand. Then we got into a patriotic duty discussion and I ended up just giving him some advice. Pull your head out of AF azz because congress and this country doesn't give a toot about you and he had been brainwashed in recruiter school to even be spewing that crap.

  40. Lt Col, USAF, Ret says:

    If Congress wants to make changes to military retirement they should also look at their retirement plan. I can't believe the perks Congress gets after only a few years of service as compared to 20 plus years a military person has to put in to receive benefits. Lets compare plans and let the public see the results so they can let their Congressional leaders know how they should vote.

    • springchickenot says:

      I wrote to all my representatives and challenged them to match their health care benefits to ours and show some leadership. I did not receive one reply. So I'm afraid they are going to whatever they want because they do not seem to represent what the people want and/or what is fair. They are being paid to represent us. if they don't represent us, or at least what is right by us, then they don't deserve to be paid at all because they are not doing their jobs, as we have.

      And by the way, it doesn't seem to be a matter of which party they are, or what their stated ideology is. Until honest people start running for office, we are only voting for members of the same team. I would rather vote for a candidate that I believe to be honest that I don't agree with, than one that I agree with that doesn't do what he says.

      • You really do NOT want us under thier system. They (like our civil service brethren) are under FERS and FEHBP. They actually pay more for less than the military.

    • Most americans are too stupid to vote the bastards out. They just bend over and say please dont stick it in too far. This group that's in now were voted in,you got what you asked for. If the bastards won't vote cuts for themselves, vote them out of office. Together we stand divided we fall. Voters wake up!!!!!

  41. I retired in 94 after 20+ years, I have 11 service connected aliments and zero percent. The VA tells me I am not a vetran because I fell in a gap between benefits when I enlisted. I worked for eight years after that and had to have surgery on my arm ( one of my 11 aliments) and lost my civilian job because I lost 50% use of my arm. Now the only income I have is my so-called retirement that just covers the mortgage, insurance, and utilities. That leaves me with about $100 for food and fuel if I need to go anywhere. If it weren't for my wifes social security we would not be able to do anything. What happened to all the promises? Oh I forgot they were never in writing so it never happened.
    The politicans should not receive anything once they leave office until they have done at least 20 years. Then they too should start having their retirements cut and benefits reduced.

    • You retired after 20 in 94? Why did you retire? Rank not forth coming and you were forced out. The ailments you say were service conected? Why didn't you get a percentage for disabilty then? Or were they showing up after you got discharged?. You paid SS all those years but younever mentioned a check from them only yourwife's. They didn't pay you? Your paycheck in 94 as an E-5 was more than mine was in 76 as an E-6. Can you explain the diffence….??

    • Dennis Habern says:

      Personally, I do not want to have politicians in office for 20 years,

      especially our ill-advised President, if you follow. Congress is in office

      for no longer than 8 years, the same as a President. Return the DRAFT,

      and curtail congressional careers, then, and only then will a change

      be maintained in Washington, D.C., but not the change that Obama

      envisioned or lied about.

  42. Wil Juare says:

    Rome collasped because of political intrigues surrounding the military. Corruption and mindless spending ruined an empire. The corrective was to gut the military. There are those in this congress who hate the military and all it stands for because of the socialist ideas they learned in college. Politicians take care of those who voted for them and rape those who didn't. The oath of service doesn't include what the government is swearing an oath to as its part of the oath taking ceremony. Apparently the government can change their minds at will and God help the solider who changes his. So future solider beware, you maybe signing up for service that is only one way and you only have your life to offer. The government giveth and the government taketh away. And who got us into this financial mess in the first place, this administration, what a mistake this administration has been. One thing we Americans are good at, we correct mistakes. The dreamy idealism of voters is long over, soberity has returned, the hangover is over. Reality is approaching fast. And those who saddled us with a debt we cannot pay get to retire with perks no one in history enjoys, what a scam.

    • Sparky's Wife says:

      It is easy to blame the last one to the party for the mess. But consider this, all of this has happened before. Do you remember the climate in the military during the Reagan years? Spend, spend, spend with one of the highest deficits ever. Then, the "15 year retirement" and VRA. The result, a major brain drain that yielded no significant cost savings. We, as veterans, should be vigilant against repeating the errors of the past. We should be careful what we ask for because we might just get it.

    • Dennis Habern says:

      We Americans are forgiving, but we do not forget, therefore expect

      to observe a Republican change in 2012.

  43. So when would all this go into effect? My husband is due to retire in 2 years.

  44. Spectre says:

    I've read quite a few of these blogs and I feel that the majority of you are being too nice and appear to be afaraid of hurting some feelings in Washington. Here's my take on it. I see the spineless, gutless and pampered wonders in Congress AND our own outgoing SECDEF are at again. Smile and shake your hand during election season and then screw the hell out of us the remainder of their term. Most of these back-stabbing a$$h*les have never picked up a weapon let alone have to use it in order to defend theirslves and/or their country. They're armchair quarterbacks that think they know ALL there is to know and make the right decisions EVERY time. This however, is going too far. It's a hell of a way for our elected officials to say thank-you for a career dedicated to the protection of our country. This crap has got to start before it goes too far and can't be stopped.

    • Dennis Habern says:

      Congress is viewed so negatively because the DRAFT has not been

      re-implemented. In the Military, its members are taught to be

      responsible and held accountable by the UCMJ; but where is the

      guidance for Congress to follow? In the military, discipline plays a

      major role, but in Congress, it is ALL play and no sense of

      responsibility. Return the DRAFT to its rightful honor, and then, and

      only then will we observe a "CHANGE" in our nation.

  45. USN-Ret. says:

    Jerry, need to read the paper the chairman of the joint chiefs agreed with gates and his an admiral…

    • Admirals do not count they live too high up for us common folks they belong with Gates.WE really need to stop electing lawlers to congress.

  46. Joe Hatcher says:

    So this is how we thank our men and women who served their country, sacrifice time from their families. Why do we vote people in office who put people in positions of power and authority. They do not meet the same standard they serve the term of the President for 4 or 8 years and collect a pension. I served proudly for 24 years and you want to give service personnel a 401k plan… Gee thanks

    • Dennis Habern says:

      What is wrong with the voting system, is the fact that there are not too

      many reputable candidates to choose from;

  47. As was mentioned earlier a military retiree doesn't own his "long term" house until he retires. So we're in effect 20-30 years behind our contemporaries there. Let me give you a great example of how this hurts us. My brother bought his house 15 years ago for about $200K. Today it is worth $520K and is almost paid off. I made my last move to NJ 3 years ago, bought a house for $465K and can't sell it at the current sale price of $390K. So while my brother made $320K in 15 years my net house result will be AT LEAST a loss of $75K (before realtor fees and closing costs which will eat up another $20K). On top of that my oldest just started college and I have 2 more to go after him. To date, looking for a job now for 6 months…no luck. My retirement pay is only allowing me to go broke at a slower rate.

    • Why did you buy such a damn expensive house when all you had to look forward too was retirement pay…15 years makes a lot of difference you know in prices asked.I bet he can't sell his now for what he thinks its worth..the economy has killed everything especially in the housing markets. Looks as if youwilll need to take on a manual labor job to survive…

  48. Old master Chief says:

    I think Our congress needs to be put on the same retirement as the military. No retirement untill they have competed 20 years and then only 2 1/2 percent for every year served . They should get pay raises onlly when the military gets pay raises.
    I remeber one year when I was only in my home port where my family was for 9 days. But I had duty 3 days so could only go home on six of those daysdays.
    I think congress should spend 10 days a year with the troops on the front lines being fired and and working 24 hours a day getting shot at. Then maybe they would appreciate what the military does. they should eat the same food that a a deployed military person must eat . They should not be reimbursed for thier cost of living any more than it takes to feed a military person.
    I remember when the government had it figured out that they could collect enough income taxes from a ships crew to pay for the fuel the ship used..
    When I went in the Navy my base pay as an E1 was only $65 per month before taxes. I never recieved more than $100 until I had made E4.
    Now you want to reduce my retirement and that of those who will retire in the future..
    Get ready for the draft because no one will enlist or stay long enough to retire under thier new plans.

  49. While many comments on this issue address the notion that our elected officials are stripping benefits from those who have served and those that are serving, and, most, if not all of us, are getting quite disturbed about this, we are not really addressing the correct issue! It seems strange that election after election we keep voting these same politicians back into office so they can enjoy their benefits. When we we, as veterans and servicemembers stop complaining about what they are doing, stop worrying about voting along party lines, and vote any "politician" out and vote in true "representatives" of us, the People! Quit griping about it, election time is coming!!!

  50. Jim Putnam, MSgt ret says:

    Give up! Consider what I say:

    The Politicians Creed
    The meek are not and will not inherit the earth for they are but lambs being led to the slaughter. Don’t forgive them, for they are but ignorant and unable to think for themselves. Yea, as I walk through the Valley of Plenty I will not share with my fellow man and shall not be called upon to answer for my transgressions. For I am the Power and Law before which the lesser must bow and offer obedience. Only I may rule.
    I AM POLITIC!

    In this day and age, they and their friends are the only ones meant to be "cared" for.

  51. Folks. I would shy away from rhetorical attacks on our elected officials. They are going to make decisions based on what they perceive as their core interests. Rather, devote your energy on assisting MMOA to develop alternative plans that will protect all of our interests. I don’t see congress making adjustments with little notice, especially while fighting three wars and on the cusp of a general election. I suspect any changes will be subjected to grandfather provisions.

    In the meantime, let’s take a deep breath and get to work on alternative options.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Nick

    • GunnyJames says:

      Nick, don't count on Congress to take a steady, studied approach to this, or any subject. Look how quickly the Patriot Act came about. Even as controversial as health care has been, both Clinton and Obama used closed-door sessions with no doctors involved. If they think they can get away with it, they'll sure try! History lesson–WW I vets were "promised" a bonus, then Congress renigged. Vets marched on Washington in protest, built a shanty town so they could stay in the news. Orders came down; McArthur burned down the shanty town, and fired on the vets to dispurse them. Those 500+ decision makers in our government have a lot more power than all the veterans of all our wars combined. The only solution is solidarity of our purpose, electing responsible representatives, and a politically educated and involved public.==Gunny J

  52. why me ?

  53. CMSgt USAF (ret) says:

    The US Military needs men and women who will stay 20 plus years to provide expereince and leadership. But I think less than 10% who serve ONE term while young actually stay the full 20 plus years.

    I did 24 years. THE ONLY WAY I could stay was knowing that I'd have that retirement at the very time our children would be in high school and college and the demands on my finances would be the highest. Without that retired pay AND the GI Bill I could not have gone to college after I retired. Then, in my mid-40's I was competing for entry level jobs and pay with the 20 somethings. The retired pay filled the gap.

    I can sum up my Air Force career in one word: AGAIN.

    BUT without a retirement check when I retired I never could have done a career.

  54. Don't tax the rich!

  55. As the wife of a Navy Retiree, I personally don't think the military retirees get taken care of enough. First of all, IF you retire out, you have to BEG for your benefits from the VA, fighting every dotted i and crossed t to make sure you get a part of what you should. Retirement is something that the men and women of our fighting forces who choose to stay for the full duration, promised to them for their sacrifices during those long years away from families and friends. Retirement shouldn't be something you have to fight for again when the time comes. Also, retirement should be the same amount they were getting paid while in the service, to make up for all the "overtime" they put in and DIDN'T get paid for. Incentives are nice when asked to reup, but they are gone before you know it and you are still putting your lives on the line for the rest of us here at home. And unfortunately, many of the people at home don't appreciate your work, long hours, loss of watching your little ones grow up, or being home in time of personal crisis.
    I agree that Congress, the Senete and all the "upper level" goverment employess should take a drastic pay cut. This being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars each year is outragious. They are getting the money that our military retirees have bled for.
    Cut their pay and cap it to say $100k a year max, this includes the president, vp and down the line. No more bribes from companies should be allowed. If big companies want the people's approval, let them come to us instead of being the slimy snakes they can be. I would bet that if this changed, our planet would be better off and our AMERICAN brothers and sisters would be more willing to stay in if they are more appreciated.
    The other thing is close the borders and get rid of the illegals here. We need to clean up our OWN house before we clean other countries messes. No country has ever offered to help us after they attacked us. We always run in to fix the wound that is inflected, whether we did it to defend ourselves or clean up someone elses war mess.
    We could get out of our money problems if we stopped jumping in to help all of the time. And we would be stronger for it as a nation and people.

  56. I guess that I am a exception. I served 22 years in USAF and retired in 71 worked over 5 years in construction than worked for the Rail Road for 14 years and retired in 92 will not work for anyone anymore.at age 83 I walk 3 miles 5 days a weak and still flyfish.I say this because my AF retirement was very small so I had to work Thy still ask be to donate to congress dont worry I did not and will not.I encourge all of you to get out as soon as possiable and get a job if you can and don`t vote for anyone because they are all crooks.

  57. GunnyJames says:

    Gary has hit it on the nailhead–today, the average enlisted retiree draws 18 checks! That doesn't get them to age 60. So, the new "system" doesn't have to pay diddly-squat to the average retiree. But this money won't be saved; it'll go to the vested-but-not-retired folks pool, if they make it to age 60. Thus , they are making a career less attractive. Since the pay at 10 years is almost always less than 20+, this is where the savings comes in. The original reason for wanting career people is that you would have a core of experienced people to train and lead the new folks when the next war came along. Twenty years was the traditional average between wars. Look at what happened in Korea; it came too soon and took forever to get a fighting force organized. Now, Congress is going to need a 10 year war cycle for the system to work.–Gunny J

  58. AlleninReality says:

    The whole point of this article is to find savings that taxpayers are having to
    pay so that the current administration can continue to operate within or outside
    a budget. The congress and the senate are playing political soccer with our
    economy in order to operate as usual. It is a cinch that the defense budget will
    apply as planned for multilevel reasons. Beans and bullets re the priority and pay/benefits will be the scapegoat. They do not want to piche off the active duty folks so they will come after the most vulnerable, the retired and
    the disabled.
    Republicans are the biggest perps on making cuts to pay back that big debt
    to the big banks and the foreign investors. The big problems is that they think by not taxing the businesses and the wealthy fairly (ass they do you and I) they actually believe that they are actively giving jobs to the unemployed.
    Democrats have a vested interest in the impoverished and the unemployed to keep their voter base happy by keeping benefits and welfare coming at your
    expense. And there lies the root of the problem, 39% of the total population
    that pays taxes are supporting the rest of the unemployed, underemployed and the ones who are working illegally but pay no taxes or pay for free healthcare. It all adds up, so those (such as ourselves who worked all our lives and built up this nice comfortable retirement from the military) who produce must make more sacrifices for the non productive so that the filthy
    rich and businesses, banks etc. won't have to pay higher tax rates. Besides,
    along with the poor, sick, lazy, illegal etc., we have to support the government civilian force as well. (and that is huge!!) doing the math, we retired and disabled are totally screwed! Like George Carlin said years ago, "they own you and they are comin got get your social security, retirement and you guns.

  59. I have read a lot of the comments on this blog, and quite frankly I think everyone has a vital message.

  60. And suppose the Reservist doesn't live to collect it? All that time wasted for nothing…

  61. Robert West says:

    I retired with 22yrs. saving your asses and you have the gall to cut our retirement pay and care treatment. Why don't you vote to cut your pay and wonderful healthcare and retirement care, all you on the hill look out for is what you can get out of our goverment,just a bunch of card carriers. I think youall set a fine example of what we the people want, and hope all of you get voyed out of office.What a wonderful country we use to have to come down to this, shame on you.

  62. As a retired military wife,I am appalled once at our current leaders thinking. There are so many other programs to cut,why focus on the ones who protect our country? There is welfare,disability,and now illegal immigrnt programs that cost our government billions…please dont get me wrong,I support those programs for people who truly need the help.But when you start seeing the kids of the parents on the programs believing it to be a way of life,we have issues. The retirement pay for us pays for our mortgage,where other people our age are on their downside of their payment,we are just starting….we have had a good life,but not an easy one. Maybe congress should open the floor to current retirees and military members to speak…and get the real picture

  63. GEspinosa says:

    Sec Gates should be ashamed of himself. It is amazing how when some of those so called leaders reach the exit door, the close it in the face of those who have sacrificed for this country. As for the elected officials, not surprised, they leave with a pension whether or not they served their entire terms. The system needs a look at, not an axe. SHAME ON YOU SECDEF!

  64. Gary Gray says:

    Hey that’s a great idea! let’s just screw the hand that feeds you.you send our sons and daughters into battle and they get beat up mentally and pysically if they don’t lose thier lives in the process and now you want to take thier garuanteed pension away and trust it on a 401k plan that has more up and downs than a roller coaster? Have you idiots on beacon hill lost your ever loving minds? how about “WE The People” vote to turn your pensions into a 401k plan and see how you like it? and while were at it how about you having the same high cost low service health benefits that i have to pay for for my family?Stop messing with the military pay and benefits unless your willing to be apart the same yourselves.you bunch of vultures!

  65. Chuck B, says:

    I can see our military dwindle away gradually due to the eidemic caused by the poor management of this country's govt. and the greed and corruption you see on both sde of the fence, govt. and private sector. I dont think there will be many more people who dedicate their lives to the military, much less even go in to serve. We have no body to blame but ourselves for allowing the govt. to continue in its destructive course, what a shame for our natiion.

  66. They need to look at cutting also the Congress Retirement Pay and Benefits.

  67. Mike Jesse says:

    Secretary Gates gets in the beltway and quickly forgets what a deck plate sailor's life is like. You're a sellout Gates, and from one retired Navy man, all I can say is you embarrass me.

  68. Why is it that everyone thinks that is it after 20 years you get the money. We had to wait until my husband turned 60 before he could get his retirement. Everyone acts like you do 20 and then draw from then on. WRONG.

  69. I was a civ – but worked right along with you guys (CONUS) – and I will fight with everything in me to see that the GI's don't get the shaft – i have already written our "representatives" Ha! what a joke! and President. – Let the congresscritters get THEIR bennies cut -let the wall street pirates and fat cats STOP getting their disgusting putrid and excessive tax cuts on the backs of the the GI's and the average American. They couldn't do what GI's do, or put up with the bull for one day. It seems our country has forgotten our POW's – they will not forget our GI's.

  70. THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE WORST THING CONGRESS AND THIS ADMINISTRATION COULD DO, IT WILL TOTALLY DISTROY THE ARMED FORCES. EVEN UNDER THE CURRENT RETIREMENT PLAN NO ONE CAN LIVE ON IT. AND HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK. AS IS WELL KNOWN A YEAR IN COMBAT TAKES A YEAR OFF A SOLDIERS LIFE, IF ANYTHING COMBAT TIME SHOULD BE CREDITED AS ONE AND A HALF YEARS FOR EVERY YEAR SERVED TOWARD RETIREMENT. WHAT THEY'RE PROPOSING IS A NO WIN SITUATION. IN A VERY SHORT TIME THERE WILL BE NO LEADERSHIP LEFT IN THE MILITARY. MILITARY DUTY IS HARD ON THE SOLDIER'S AND THEIR FAMILY'S BERY FEW WILL MAKE IT A CAREER WITH OUT THE BENIFIT!

  71. I was discharged after 21 years of service. But denied retirement beifits .cause of a injury I got servingin National Guard.

  72. Everyone should write their congressmen and tell them how you feel. I see the writing on the wall. They cut all the benefits until no one wants to volunteer to serve, then come back and reinstitute the draft, making it mandatory for people to serve for cheaper pay and no retirement. Watch!!!

    • Dennis Habern says:

      How would Congress react if nobody served: no volunteers, no Draftees. Nobody. No military.

    • What good do you think writing to your congressmen will do. They don't even read the bills they pass in congress. Like the Obama health care some of the congressmen (the Asses) admitted they didn't read the bill they voted on. Such a pity for the american people

  73. bill nye says:

    The real truth is simple u work ur butt off and retire wait till u r 60 to collect but they are hoping u will die before then so they keep your retirement and waste it some where else WE r living too long and those who retired back in the 70 and 80 collect more than they wanted to pay out It's all about the money

    • Dennis Habern says:

      It's always about the money. Congress will attest to those words of

      wisdom. $174,000.00 to start in Congress, while an E-1 barely can

      exist on their pay, but our military takes all the risks.

  74. Active Duty Military are nothing but worthless welfare recipients. It’s about time active duty finally come in line with the rest of America’s retirement system including reservists who have to wait till age 60 to get retired pay. Career active duty is nothing but whiners and complainers. Active duty are nothing but spoiled government workers, corrupted and unaccountable for their actions. Welcome to the real world suckers! Your generals and politicians sold you out. Your asses will be just like the Reserves now. You just thought you were better. Your a bunch of suckers and would follow your sorry leadership into the mouth of the draggon. 90% of the military are nothing but worthless sheep easily lead to the slaughter.

    • jbrunton says:

      Ben, you the ultimate internet Ninja! Hurry up and get your snide comments in because your daily two hours of internet time your Mommy has allotted for you is about to expire!

    • Reservists shouldn't be entitled to receive retirement before age 60. Active duty serves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can't go ANYWHERE without a pass or leave from. Most spend their days working from 5am to 10pm. By the sound of your writeup, I'm sure ALL Reservists are EMBARRASSED by your comments. WAY TO GO!!!!!

    • Proud to Serve says:

      Gee Ben – Either you are one heck of a bitter reservist or you just were turned down by the Armed Forces all together. Either way I feel sorry for you and those in your bitter life.

    • I'm not sure where you get you're opinion of our active duty armed forces. But it's a shame. I have never been more proud of my husband, who is gone for ~7 months out of the year, and who wakes up at 4:30 am 5-7 days of the week and works until 5:30pm. This, of course, doesn't include the 20/7 hours when at sea for a month at a time. He could be one of the few, or he could be one of a majority. But regardless, don't write off ALL of our active duty servicemen as "worthless welfare recipients" but as men and women working day and night to ensure you get to sleep soundly. Again, it's a shame you feel this way. But it's wrong. Disgustingly wrong.

    • Ben you sound like the enemy! And you are an idiot, simple as that.

    • I bet you can't say that to our face sucker. You must have a mental problems to write such negative comments. Go kill yourself because you are nothing.

    • What is wrong with you? How can you speak of your brothers in arms in such a disrespectful way? You are very wrong! Also, until very recently, it was the reserves that were on the gravy train and were never put in harms way. May God help you to see the light!

    • It seems as though Baby Ben got rejected or denied the honor to serve on Active Duty. Or may he was the dumb ass Shepard that lead his sheep to the slaughter house. Baby Ben your dumb ass need to accept your low life,_and wait till your funds loaded onto your EBT card. I am sorry it came late this month.

    • Mad Mike says:

      Shut up and make me a burger.

  75. Edward Walker says:

    I feel that bull s_ _t I mean any one who been in the miltary for 20 years should get there check for life a lot of folks do not know how it feels to be away from your kids or love one why you are over sea. You miss so much of your kids growing up ! Then when you come back home your kids do not know how to take you because you have been there.
    I mean if you want to do some cutting lets look at our leaders pay I mean come on your in office for 2 3 4 years and get a check for the rest of your life that were the pay changes should start. Your home with your family seeing your kids play sports, go to there plays, and sleep in your bed next to your wife every night when your not at your other girls house or working late in the office. I bet you will not want to trand place with and of the folks in the miltary or retired from the miltary.
    You see there nothing say that any one will live to see 60 or 65 yes we are living longer but that not everyone and if you gave your 20 23 26 30 years in the miltary then you should get your retirment at the end of your years in the miltary. ( and more )

  76. Dwain Prosser says:

    MSG RET USA–After 23 years of Service I only drew 55% of my base salary. So why do Congress members, House members receive a retirement with only 6 years and then vote themselves a raise at the sametime denying the COLA for Military retirees? I am referring to year 2009. They (Polictical positions) should not even get a retirement because they are public servants. This should change and offer this as a new bill!!

    • >So why do Congress members, House members receive a retirement with only 6 years

      As has been explained elsewhere, they don't. They may vest in the system with 5 years, but they don't collect until 62. And with 6 years their pension at 62 is about 10%.

      > and then vote themselves a raise at the sametime denying the COLA for Military retirees?

      They didn't. They voted to decline their raise. Military COLA is based on CPI-W, and was set by law in the 70's (well before the current congress). IN 2008 energy prices peaked in September, which is when CPI-W is measured for retirement. Because CPI-W did not exceed that level in Sep 2009 or Sep 2010, there was no COLA. Next COLA will happen when CPI-W in September of some year (possibly 2011) exceeds what it was in September 2008.

  77. Gene Seales says:

    I retired as as a 1SGT US Army after 23.6, right now my retirement check bearly covers my mortage. I have also read all the comments on this board and think everyone of you have one thing in common, your sick and tired of being screwed by the people we elect to office. Every one has a party line, Rep. Dem. Lib etc.
    But each an every one of us were soldier who endure what ever and where ever.
    With the power of the InterNet, I think we need to stop setting behind our key boards crying, lay our party line aside and do not vote Dem, Rep or Lib but vote military. How meny Active Duty, Reserve and Retired soldier and voting age family members are there in this country? We could put anyone we wanted in the White House if we would just stick together and get off our collective asses and do it.

  78. Why would our leadership even think about messing with our military retiement. I wish that some one in Congress would take a look at what they get after serving one term, and what we get for serving this country for over 20 years. congress need to take care of thier house first and then on what we are giving to other country. Our leaders need to listen and hear what we are saying, and also take a look at our military retire. After our service and what our body been through from staying in shape ready to move and fight on a moment notice. Some of our body arer breaking down from the hardcore training. What will be next if we can't keep good people in our military the DRAFT?

  79. Navy Dave says:

    I agree that there should be a change in retirement. I’ve been active duty for 12 years now, and due to the recent downsizing efforts I now am facing early seperation. I want to retire. I have a family I am trying to support. The unfortunate draw back of this force restructing is, that the military and our government is not doing enough for the service members being seperated. Recently I had a fellow Seabee whom I served with for 4 years hang himself because he was being forced out early. I joined when I was 19 years old, And I think some of you will agree with me that after a certain amount of time spent serving your country you become institutionalized. I’ll be honest it scares the **** out of me knowing that I spent all this time in the military serving my country and supporting my family to be kicked out with nothing to show for it but a 30k severance check. I’m not saying I’m not proactive. But to go from having insurance and steady paycheck, to having to find a job with insurance benefits that will cover my wifes medical needs is a daunting task. I for one would like to see some sort of retirement plan for personnel who have served 10+ years in the military, but not at the cost of reducing the benefits of others.

  80. hey has everybody here forgot along with your retirement for the 20 years you have put in have you forgot that as long as you hold a military ID card you are subject to re-call back into military service Think about it are civilian or other federal jobs subject to re-call back into service if need ???????

  81. navysupport says:

    What the politicians do not know because they have not lived in the shoes of a military member is this…. Our children have moved from state to state and country to country all of their child hood lives. There was no Thanksgiving, christmas, or holiday dinner at grandmas. These children and adults share these holidays and everyday of their lives with the only family they have grown to know (our military family)..

    They say well we give them plenty of money for housing. Guess what? The military towns cought on to this years ago and charge at or above what the military provides. There is no equity being built in a home. So if a spouse does not work or cant find a job immediately after each move it is extremely difficult to save.. Remember it is only you, your spouse,and your children with no family next door or even next town to help. This goes on for 20 or more yrs of your life.. Dont forget cost of childcare.

    When you get out, if you have no formal education through the credited colleges, but only from the military you have nothing in the eyes of most civilian employers. So it is either get in school and work or take a lower paying job to try to buy a modest home and make a life for your family on very little money from what you have earned in a retirement check for your sacrifice. Try to live on a retired E-7 pay or below with a house payment and all that goes with living these days. It wont happen without living in near poverty.

  82. PJ C'ham says:

    This is what you get when you have civilians in charge who have never been in the military. They don't even realize that it isn't retirement pay, as such. It's reduced compensation for the period of time a member of the military can be recalled to active duty.

  83. Marshall_Will says:

    Oh… ok, you wanna’ ‘play’? Let’s PLAY! If their inference is that “It’ll be just like a 401k” then great!

    I’ll take mine in CASH ( lump sum and in it’s entirety ) the -day- I go to retire! Oh… uh, well we didn’t mean like ‘that’ kind of 401k..?

    Well, if there’s no “portability” as passed by EGTRA in 2003 ( as any -other- public employee or non-profit employee ) then this shouldn’t be any problem?

    Look, when the Cities and States get a handle on all the “hero trades” ( Police and Fire ) pensions where they can retire at 50 with a HECK of a lot more.., then you come talk to us!

    Until then, pound sand.

  84. CORRECTION: I meant to say that the CSRS is no longer except for those grandfathered under it.

  85. How many employers allow the people working for them, to give themselves a raise, we do, Senate and Congress supposedly work for us, but they give themselves raises, benny's etc. Do we need so many congressmen?? It
    seems the more you have the more bickering goes on. The government workers should only have what we have, Social Security, Medicare, etc. I find it an insult to us on SS, who didn't get a COLA, when they gave themselves a raise

  86. The only thing I can say is WE HAD BETTER MAKE SOME REAL CHANGES IN 2012. Anything else would be deleted by the administrator.

  87. Robert Humphries says:

    Well it appears this may be like the recent Social Security decision, whereby the program will be changed for all future benificiaries – leaving current retiree benefits alone. Let’s see if our veteran and retired military organizations have more balls than AARP, who rolled over in order to save current benefits at the expense of future ones.

    But in reality I see more cuts coming, after all we have to make sure our congress members keep their lucrative pension plan – where someone like that pervert Weiner could serve in congress for a few years and get a $80k pension.

  88. itc sw/aw says:

    Here is my take…leave retirement alone. As mentioned before no one will be fully committed if there is nothing at the end of the rainbow. After we retire we are not compatible with civilians(hence not being hired in two tears with a clearance) because of the civilian work experience others have. And one thing we must remember that you can not double dip so your retirement check is reduced by whatever your disability is.

  89. Not all is lost if a veteran leaves the service prior to 20-years and lands a federal job…they can buy into the FERS system and the military time counts towards FERS retirement as a civil servant.

  90. I have contacted my congressman and US Senators, Gates, Obama and everyone I could think of over military pay, retirement and pay increases. I told them to leave the military pay and health benefits alone and if they succeed to cut, slash and reduce any part of our benefits and pay, I will start a national petition to cut everyone's pay from the White House to the State House and do believe I can get enough signatures to do it. No one believes that our Congress, Senate, and governing body is more MISSION ESSENTIAL than our MILITARY FORCES, most believe that they are the problem and would certainly become a very hot issue between now and 2012. If this talk continues, I will write again for everyone's signature for this petition and get National attention on this important matter.

    • Francis E O`Brien says:

      Hi Jack B I am retired Navy Master Chief and you will have my signature and support

      Best Regards
      Francis E O`Brien MMCM USN (Ret)

    • Steven Stiller says:

      you would defenately have my signature. I watch my father wither away and cross just 6 yrs after serving 35+ yrs for those a$$h*les in DC. I also served no where near as long as he did but I believe that everyone that served 20+ is more than entitled to the benes of the time they served to keep our rights and freedoms we enjoy

    • I would sign that petition in a New York Minute! After 20 years of sacrifice and being under paid, and being on the the hook for recall at the whim of Congress! I can't imagine a mission more fitting than that for our talents…

      Steve Lewis ET1 USN (Ret)

    • Hairyrat says:

      Jack, I know I can get at least a dozen supporting signatures for that petition.

  91. I can understand vetrans looking at some of these proposals with some skepticism, but we also need to check ourselves at becoming another group of people who want MORE and MORE from our Country. I am fine witht he benefits provided, and if TRICARE needs some co-payments from me so be it. This is just one more sacrifice all of us will need to make in order to provide a sustainable system. I understand that more than any other "Group" Vetrans certainly earn the benefits we receive, however I have noticed a growing habit among active duty and Vetrans of "getting more" for our service. That can't continue. We get enough as it is now.

    • Mike R have you ever served? Do you know what it feels like to tell yourself you are about to die??? You will never see your family friends or love ones again? Of course you don't. Leave our retirment alone, we earn it everday we put on this uniform. We are saying that at a moments notcie we will die for your sorry A**. I love this country so much only to wake up and realize how much I hate it.

  92. Steven D. Hess SSG USA (RET) says:

    As most of you who have written, I too feel that without the dedicated 20 yr soldier, we would be in terrible danger. Fore without their leadership, this country’s military would suffer. I retired in 1989 and served in Viet Nam as my FIRST overseas assignment. I didn’t like being there, but it was MY JOB. Many people today forget the Viet Nam VET. We were hated when we returned to the USA. Now to cut what I and many others like me have fought for is a slap in my face and all the others that have been in combat. All of the elected officials need to get a grip on what is important. It’s not saving their own A_____es behind an election.

    • Steven Stiller says:

      I personally thank you and every one that has served in a time of war, I personally didn't serve during wartime however I felt that it was my duty to serve for the country that I call home. Oooh raaah

  93. Many civilians believe that military retirees leave the service with big, fat retirement checks – similar to those garnered by many leaving the public service sector. This is far from the truth. In Omaha, Nebraska, firemen and policemen are retiring at ages 45 to 50 with pensions bigger than what they made while on the job! Many nearing the $100,000 range. Seems pretty large in comparison to my 29K after 24 years in the USAF. I'm not complaining – I knew up front what my entitlement would be. My reasons for serving my country went far beyond a retirement benefit, but it certainly was figured in to the overall equationas to my length of service. However, the man-on-the -street needs to know that the average military retiree is not reaping a gold mine. We still have to work, pay our taxes, and pay our bills, just as do other citizens. Maybe, in the long run, the proposed changes to the retirement system, and the resulting failure of the all-volunteer force, will have a positive outcome. We can go back to where most everyone will have to serve their country in one way or another, and we will end up with a population of Americans who have a vested interest in this country.

  94. What does the guy mean if they do this they will break the fabric of the country? If you haven’t realized the fabric no longer exists. The politicians are third world corrupt; the military is third world corrupt, the economic foundation of America has been corrupted by politicians, bankers, the Federal Reserve and central banks. There is no more America; the constitution has been corrupted by corrupt lawyers supporting legal precedence. The most recent economic collapse was the biggest fraud on the American public in its history. Even America’s military leadership is so corrupted and worthless they won’t even challenge a corrupt elected American government. The all volunteer military was a politician’s wet dream. Use your ass up because you volunteered to let them. Its over America, were just in the final stages before the U.N. steps in.

  95. retmil08 says:

    If the military does'nt want to pay retirement why then do they force an enlisted man/women E6 and below out at 20 years. Most of them are less than 40 – 45 years of age. They should be more usefull staying enlisted if they prefer, other than paying them retirement even at high 36 until they die. when an enlisted retires after 20 years at say 30 years of age that person collects retirement for the rest of their lifetime and the military gets no return! By god if the brass would get their head out of their asses, they would do away with (HYT) high year tenure for the enlisted. and let say an E5-E6 serve as long as they want to, with some set standards to stay in place to keep readiness in order.

  96. most -t99% of the idiots in congress never even served in the military but they seem ready to cut our benefits while increasing theirs.the rat ba—-ds ought to get of their a—-s for a day or two and realize that we do all their dirty work and they get the best bennies in the world for all the work we do for them.

  97. RetiredSS says:

    I'm in total agreement with having Congress take the lead and cut their pay and benefits first. We have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing Congress to ignore our voices. I hope I will not have to tell my Grandchildren how great this country used to be!

  98. Sam USAF Retired says:

    I retired at ge 42 with 24 years, 10 m9ons and 21 days active. Went to work for Civil Service for an0ther 20+ years under FERS. I should have ran for and been elected to congress. Sure would be a better retirement. Unfortunately when they set themselves up with their system, it was done without the full knowoedge f the people; and, once done, no one tried to do anything about it. That is teh way the government operat3ew today. Elected officials are not for the people they are for themserlves. I have yet to get an answer why, when they are elected to represent a atate, they are paid from fed funds. In conclusion, Washington leave the military alone; Yohu are there bevcause of the military.

  99. tdhowell is accurate. The Congressional retirement plan is the same as the Civil Service retirement plan, except for the multiplier. Civil Servents get 1% of "high-three" salary x number of years served for the first 20 years while Congress gets 1.7%. For years beyond 20, Civil Service gets 1.1% per year while Congress gets 1.0%. Their 401(k) plan, or TSP, (employer contribution) is the same and they draw the same Social Security as anyone else making that salary.
    Reference: Congressional Research Service Report. http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/ret

    A good explanation on the reason for Military Retirement being the way it is (20 year) is also a Congressional Research Service document. I didn't see it in the Public Archeives. My Senator sent me a copy.

  100. Military Spouse says:

    What a country of disfunction we are…and to think how my family served selflessly and sacrificed so much…another kick in the teeth by our so-called government…what a joke…Hey Biden "Did you serve?" Hey Obama "Did you serve?"…where is your sacrifice!!! And all you selfish, egotistical idiots in Washington…how many of you served…You want money to pay the debt you created? Cut your retirement….cut the government checks from the baby makers and educate your people…cut college funding to dropouts!!! Reward for success…not failures!!! Help our military and reward them for volunteering!!!That is success!!! You have failed this country so in turn you should not be rewarded either…..Look in your own back yard…we have lost respect from every country since this group took office…we owe everyone although I don't know how because we have helped everyone in history….we bow to other leaders…never did that before and don't even attend church services because we may offend someone….what a disfunctional country we are…God Help Us!

  101. Its over America, the chickens have come home to roost. The military is too weak to even realize they have the power to correct America’s political leadership. Perfect example is the BATF “Fast and Furious” gun running scheme and murders of American citizens by the federal government. It’s all corrupt. There is no America. You’ve been sold out and they are letting the suckers who volunteered for military service know your expendable worthless trash.

  102. Michael Bryan says:

    Well I wondered when the people who have NEVER served a day in their lives would start their assault on the men and woman and the families of this Nations Military! When I was stationed in Washington D.C, in the 1980's I remember as an E-6 having to live 32 miles away from work to afford housing, I would see E-4 and below families not getting housing becasue of their rank. The Senators and Congressmen had free rein to get their scripts filled at Walter Reed, or Andrews AFB for FREE, the same way those struggling Enlisted personnel did; only problem was that the Elected Officials made $60-70 thousand a year. It's no wonder why now they would attack those of you that are still Active Duty or the men and woman who may follow you. This is a disgrace and shame, shame, shame on those Leaders of our country who want to take things away from all of us, past, present, and future Officers and Enlisted men and woman of our 5 services!

    Michael G. Bryan
    MSTC USCG Retired

  103. XService Member says:

    Here again we see our leaders taking an easy and temporary fix to our state of the economy which is on a path to destruction. Before we start throwing darts at the service members who are providing the life style our bureaucrats relish, lets start at cutting benefits from the bureaucrats. The bureaucrats have the assets to support what needs they require for a comfortable life and have benefits that ensure that their assets are not touched. Service members can only dream of such life styles.
    Granted service members now days have a better life than what I endured during my time in service but they are earning it. I don't see the bureaucrats contributing to any quality of life other than their own. On the contrary poverty has tripled and unemployment rate in the 20%+(the real number not the artificial 9%+) The bureaucrats continue to take bribes from companies to takes action on behalf of companies and personal interests (special interest groups or incentives). Yes I do receive a retirement check and no the retirement check does not cover my mortgage. Yes I am still in the job market and yes I have lost 33% of my 401 (company managed) do to the poor decisions made by our leaders. I continue to watch as my 401 drops. To date I have contributed more to my account than what it is worth. Thank you bureaucrats!!!
    One of the reasons service members are not staying in until retirement (20 years) is that it does not pay. During the time in service heavy demands are placed on their family life (lack of I should say). They are separated from loved ones for long periods of time which can not be made up. I myself (drafted) set eyes on my first born after she was 6 months old and I considered myself lucky. Loved ones left behind are left behind to cover for the other partner in all areas of the household (mother, father, care giver…). Benefits have been dwindling leaving the departing service members with worries how things will be taken care of in their absence. The partner left behind is living the single parent life only in a hardship manner. Most likely the left behind partner is left in a location where family members are not in the vicinity to help out when a crisis occurs, having to seek assistance from strangers. In reality what this country needs is to fire all politicians and put the working class in charge of this country. This country has gotten away from supporting our country (ask what you can do for your country) and left it for the greedy (whats in it for me). Fix the tax loop wholes, collect on the corrupt ones not paying taxes and get the energy rocketing cost under control. Yes I know that is a hard thing to do but it is a permanent fix. Attacking the Service and Social Security are only temporary fixes this has been proven on numerous occasions but it is the path of least resistance and the path to destruction. Just look at the state of the economy!!! You can only go to the well so many times before it dries up and we are there now. We need to be pumping back what has been taken and not trying to drain it more. Wake up leaders( I should say wannabe leaders)! Do your elected job! Protect the American Way! Lord Knows our Service Members are doing what they are paid for at a discounted rate, or you would not be in office.

  104. Jay Rogers says:

    Judging the way they treat current members, they will reneg when the time comes. Best advice; stay in school, stay grounded in comunity, find a civilian career, if you must, do 2-4 and use any education benefits, be proud of yourself, you can give back without being discouraged in the end.

  105. Gus The Great says:

    I don't have a problem with accruing retirement benefits as one goes along. Neither should anyone else. What I do have a problem with is attacking the retirement pay and benefits of our warriors so the budget deficit can be decreased.

    There are no suggestions this problem be addressed using the retirement of the legislative, executive, or judicial branches, or even of those on Social Security. And what about the civilians who work for the government? They are not mentioned as a source for cutting either. They want to finance their irresponsible spending soley on the backs of the warriors' retirement and even cut the current pay of all active duty members.

    Gates is porbably the worst Secretary of Defense the United States has ever had and Panettea will be no different. They spend their time attacking those whom without the country would be no more and then proceed to spend more time accomadating the depraved in their disgusting sexual habits. If one cannot see what is wrong up on the Potomac then that is because they are an imbecile. This bunch in Washington goes from bad to worse as time goes on and until the people say to hell with the party system it will comntinue to digress.

    Be sure of this, I personally will wage political war on the bastards if they are successful in ramming the knive in the backs of those who have served or are serving. I am one who will not meekly accept what some idiot has determined and neither ahould anyone else.

  106. Chuck Morris says:

    I am a retired Military man who worked very hard, and spent many long hours at sea, and worked many holidays etc, etc. How can congress or any one speak of changing or cutting the retirement for the military? They certainly need to address their own RETIREMEBT systyem first. They make a lot more than I do with a lot less years of hardship spent in most cases. If any of them have the courage to introduce a LEAD BT EXAMPLE, and live off a small pension and Social Security, please do it and let me know so that could be my HERO. Currently, I feel there is a bunch of Phonies and greed mongers attemting to imply that they are leading this Great Country.

  107. Yo Senator Buttsicklepop, all volunteer military is better than anyone would have dreamed when passed over 30 years ago." "Yep Senator Ticklemyballs got the American Patriotic volunteering fools right where we want them." I agree Senator Buttsicklepop, what a scam for our political benefit. You think the other non volunteering 99% of Americans schmucks will accept a draft."
    "Hell no, listen Senator Ticklemyballs keep that on the low down, down low. American will wake up knowing we fooled them and it won't be pretty. We can flee down to the Islands and watch the chaos unfold on CNN sipping rum and cokes." “Wow, Senator Buttsicklepop you got it all figured out!" "Yep Senator Ticklemyballs; what a country! Your Cayman Bank account set up on that last overseas junket?" "Damn Straight Senator Buttsicklepop and its growing thanks to those foreign lobbyists you hooked me up with!" "After all this hard work I'm kind of hungry Senator Ticklemyballs. "Tell you what “Ticklemyball”s and I'll slip in a “Buttsicklepop” and then lets head over to the Senate cafeteria!"

  108. 01glide says:

    I an definitely with you. I would have never stayed over 20 if I had known they would go back on entitlements. I would have reenlisted enough to gt through school and then left the service.

    ONLY vets should be deciding these things!!!

  109. I understand that changes must be made, but it should start from the top. Many first time soldiers with a family can't live comfortable or pay check to pay check. Cutting back on pay and benefits will not only hurt the lower enlisted also the middle class in the military; in not only that you will decrease the recruit effort of enlisting good soldiers and many experience soldiers will get a free college education and get out. Also I am retired of over 30 years of military service.

  110. I agree with retired 462. It is amazing how the politicians never talk of them taking any kind of cuts yet they have a better retirement system and better medical than any of us and the majority of them don't understand the military at all. I also wonder if any of them ever read the comments that we make or if they even care what we thing. All I can say is they talk a good game and do nothing good.
    Allen 1973

  111. Let congress lead by example. Sorry this will never happen.

    I worked port and stbd watches 24hrs for years. Went to sea for weeks – months at a time, came home got 2 days off if I didn’t have duty. After 2 days we had maintenance to get ready for the next deployment. Moved 12 times in 25 plus years, kids went to 10 different schools. Had 4,000 dollars in the bank when I retired in 1987. Put in another 20 plus year career and all the time heard we can’t really pay you any more but you have other income. Just read today more increases on tricare medical benefits. Haven’t got a pay increase in 3 years but haven’t seen any reductions in daily needs. Time to change the leadership.

  112. galwayboyUSMCARMY says:

    Many of us are mentally and physically broken down- for real…horrific fatigue, aches, mental anger. For some it is hard to go on so this cutting people out without pay could be really bad.

  113. retires guy says:

    As a recent 24 year retiree, I can tell you that military retirement is not what its cracked up to be. After being forced out at 24 years, I find myself too old to start a new career and the pension is not enough to sustain you. During my career I transfered several times, including coast to coast twice. Additionally, I tried to purchase a home twice and lost money (in the thousands) each time I move. I spent about 9 of my years of service deployed.
    I potentially could have sacrificed my life on several occassions and served in a hazardous conditions on the flight deck, as a rescue swimmer and in combat in Iraq. It was a privelage and honor to serve. I will succeed in my new career, no doubt, but I am no where as compettitive as my fellow civillian counterparts and must begin work on the ground floor at age 45. This is very depressing.
    Now, the government wants to make it even harder for our brave men and women to adjust to seperating from a military career. I say if they want to cut retirement, remove the high year tenure so, these service members can make it til the actual reirement age of 57 that they are proposing.

  114. Johnny G. says:

    While we look for ways to deal with the national debt, have anyone considered looking into the U.S. Congressmen and women salaries and retirement benefits. Some of them love to condem the government which they are a part of but are willing to suck the taxpayers dry when it come to voteing an increase for themselves. What a system, you got to love it.

  115. ok just so all of you know there is a 401k style plan already in action for the last ten years its called the tsp or thrift savings plan. no there is no employer matching just what you deposit into it. the money is invested how you want and available at retirement age. i dont see why this is even an issue the majority of people who enter the army dont even stay in the full 20. i think these people can find better ways to slim up the budget like maybe eliminating some of the bases we have in over 130 different countries. we are not the world police and shipping soldiers all over the world is not cheap.

  116. J Johnson says:

    I just celebrated my 75th birthday. I gave the USAF 20yrs and 21 days, I hit the books until I earned a Masters Degree, –then I gave 19yrs 5 months to DOD civilian service.

    As I read the commentators on these pages I am left with one strong impression – - – - selfishness! I, I , I, – me, me, me! Projections of dooms day exacerbated by an inability or unwillingness to read what a news announcement says.

    Sadly, for many, a Black Man in the WHITEhouse blinds their common sense (if they ever had any) — leaves them as willing followers of those who holler dooms day as they pursue their agenda of demeaing, nay-saying and defeating any and every thing a Black POTUS attempts. Then they listen avidly to those who proclaim him failure after they have worked tirelessly to make him fail.

    Sadly. Sadly. Sadly. America's racial dysfunction can lead to Americas destruction. Cutting off our nose to spite our White faces.

    • Richard Nailor says:

      What in God's name bought POTUS into this conversation. It's many others that have spawned this issue including SECDEF . Why do you bring POTUS into it? But, since you did let me ask you. How do you feel about POTUS saying that we volunteered so we should grin and bear whatever happens. Where is our sense of patriotism? Potus even wants us to pay for our own insurance after we leave the service becauswe volunteered.

    • Vic Huot says:

      I cannot find where any comments written here speak of the President and or of color. Why do you bring this into the conversation? To stir the pot? To distract from the real issue? If you are a negro, you should be ashamed of your comments.
      The real issue vbeing talked about here is for those who are serving in harms way, dodging bullets, serving overseas, deployed for months away from family and friend and all for college benefits they hope will be around for them. They do it because society has gotten out of control. They do it because they care about their future. They do it out of a fondness for Patriotism.
      Very few members of the Senate or congress have served. Very few of them would go overseas to serve without compensation. Very few (if any) would deploy for months without compensation, YET the service men and women do so every day!
      Now the government wants to start with them to reign in spending costs. The proper place to start would be at the top, the senetors and congreemen and all their staff.
      This is the real issue. Many, many service men and women qualify for food stamps and the government WIC program, yet our government wants to start with them to cut costs.
      Mr. J Johnson, you were way off the mark with your comments.

  117. tony helton says:

    To other retired men and women out there…….forgive any grammatical mistakes on my last comment. I was typing so fast that my hands could not keep up with my brain. I always get aggravated and disappointed when I here about anyone taking anything away for our military men and women. Again, we paid for everything we get. Another thought…..how many people out there think and believe it is right for all the slackers out there that receive a "NON-SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY" check. I work closely with the V. A. and I see these conartist every day collecting a check for nothing. Send these cons to the Social Security office where they belong. The V. A. should be a place of honor for those that served honorably. If it is NON-SERVICE, then why in the hell is the V. A. paying these druggies and cons???? WHY??? Stop the nonsense and start taking care of those who took care and are taking care of America!!!

  118. Nelson Cunningham says:

    Changes to retirement systems ought to start "at the top"! Congress ought to look at changing "their system" FIRST"; i.e. going under social security! How can they single out the military, when they collect a retirement for life (and at 100%, whereas the military gets 50% after 20 years), after just one term in ofice! LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Why can't you politicians come up with ideas that will increase the GOP to pay off the our debt. Here's one – stop supporting all the other counties with our hard earn money!!!!

    • retired says:

      1. They are under Social Security.
      2. As all FERS covered civil servants, they pay into their retirement.
      3. As all FEHBP covered civil servants, they contribute to their health care.

      Congress placed themselves under FERS and FEHBP in 1984. They actually get worse retirement and health care benefits than us.

  119. jren3838 says:

    Are all of those supporters of reduction of benefits for military active, reserve and retirees suffering from rectocranial inversion? Stop playing politics with the military. Who is going to support and defend this country if you continue to treat them like second class citizens. Politicians I can vote out, but Sec of Defense and Chmn of the Joint Chiefs are you for real. I am glad your tenure in the positions you now hold are about to end. After 25 years in the Navy, I deserve everything I am entitled to and so do those that aspire to garner those same entitlements. Leave the retired, reserve and active military alone!!!!

  120. Marshall_Will says:

    Well, you can talk about "selfishness" or… "not supporting the President" or whatever but the bottomline is; this is just another ENGINEERED Financial 'Crisis' being played out in real time.

    Just as was the case with the Wall Street Bailouts and really the first phases were more a "politician's BAILOUT" than anything. Don't you guys remember when the President's Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel said "Never let a good crisis go to waste!"

    Well they're taking advantage of the current economic environment to FORCE us to accept changes and reductions we'd obviously never otherwise consider! Remember: Never Let A Good Crisis Go To WASTE!

  121. Paulwsc says:

    What is there to say? After serving 26 years and seeing that whenever the Democrats had control of the purse strings it became the same old story, take the money from the military and spread it to the pet concerns they have.

    They keep throwing the money at projects and programs that ever since the years of The Great Society that LBJ sold the country, poverty is still in the same pockets of our cities. The only thought one can come up with is that to stay in office they keep the welfare and other “entitlements” programs in force with even more graft than ever and the military has to wait for the Republicans get back in power to stop the financial rape of the military.

    It always comes down to the military vote. But the Democrats have found an answer for that too by cutting and cutting more the numbers in the military so that when you think about it, what does a politician have to worry about from the military? The only office that has anything to sweat from the military is the Presidential Election. And it always seems to be the same party who questions the validity of the absentee ballots of the military or if they arrived on time to be counted and what postmark id on the envelope. They use any measure they have to cut the value of the military vote.

    It has come to the military; active duty, reserve and us retirees, not only to vote but to let your civilian friends and families realize what it means to have Democrats in power to your quality of life and the status of your command because of the cuts. Stay within the law but try to make a difference in the elections we face.

    • You need to figure out who controls the federal purse strings. Its congress, specifically the House. That's where this started. They are going after everything, including the military.

      Most of the Republicans in the House have never served. They are bitter that military retirees get their retirement pay as soon as they retire. How do I know this? I worked on the hill as part of a military fellowship. I know many of these people personally.

      This starts in the House.

  122. Chuck I says:

    Several things need to be looked at before any decision is made about military retirements. First, only about 18% of people who enter the military ever stay to retirement (Active force – have no information about reserves). Military skills and military service is not a 9-5 job and never will be that. We tend to work longer hours, with no overtime and frankly long underfunded separations. I must admit that I retired a age 44 and in the past 23 years have made a great deal more money than I ever did on active duty, partly because I began as a E1 in the Viet Nam era and ended up retiring as an 03 just at the end of the cold war.
    If DOD wishes to change the retirement system it should be a system that 1 allows you to go beyond 20 years, I was forced out at 20 because I was passed over for Major. That being said I physically and mentally could have gone one for at least 5 more years without much difficulty. My knowledge base and experience at that time was large and still growing. The military feels that it must open up the upper ranks (both Enlisted and Officer) so the upward mobility can continue for all ranks. I do not totally agree with that but that is the policy.
    Back to retirement, I would have a problem with a retirement at 25 or more years, that gave me an option to take a 401K type retirement that paid me say 40% of income or I could allow to ride and grow until I wanted to take it at 60 or above at a much higher return. I would also insist that if I left with less than 25 years that I held on to the 401K and could take it at 60 like everyone else. It can be done and most likely will be done we need to get the best system out of it that we can. Change is coming we either embrace it or it will run us over.

  123. Obviously we must learn the hard way. Cut the benefits of service and deal with the obvious consequences.

  124. Why is it that every dam time congress needs to cut corner it comes out of the people who serve the nation. why do they not look at how they are and have promoted social welfare for years and years. They have been attacking active duty benifits for years and now they want to cut out many of the educational benifits. some senators say active duty members are getting "to much of a free ride" really? But they have no gripes with paying full educational benifits to single moms and paying child care while they are supposed to be in school? they have no problem promoting people to go out and drop kid after kid on the poor taxpayers door to take care of. but they got issues with the kids that serve the nation in its defence? wow

  125. They also have no problem cutting corporate taxes. They have no problem with not taxing CEO bonuses. They have no problem with farm subsidies.

  126. Petieboy says:

    BIm a 20 year man myself who spent 2 and a half years in Viet Nam (first tour as a Grunt) and I'm sick and tired of these so-called leaders talking garbage about our getting what is coming to us. I also spent two tours in Germany and one in Korea. So what right do they have taking half of what little I do get? If it wasn't for medicare and Tri-Care I'd be in trouble. Not to mention my Wife.I agree with the other guys, just leave us alone and let us live what lives we have left. And the media dosen't help. I once heard Andy Rooney say on 60 Minuits that George Patton was'nt a Gen, he was a butcher. Well how about Grant or Lee? People get killed in war. But people in DC don't seem to care. RESPECT!!!!!!!

  127. chris king says:

    wow—what is happening to this country–my husband, retired after 20 yrs but is disabled 90% so we are NOT living the life we thought we would with a second career after the military…i am back in school…trying now for me to make up up for the loss of a second chance at a career that would have paid more and helped us retire at 62-65 comfortably..as we put two kids through college!!!!!..the military takes the hits, while congress keeps getting their raises, perks and benefits…
    sad sad sad days in America………….

  128. Well, I was wondering how long it would take these professional politicians and parasites to start eye-balling our retirement system… Here is my proposal… When Congress (House and Senate) decide to give up their retirement… I will be willing to think about letting them take away mine. When they (Congress – House and Senate) decide to give up all of their benefits that the rest of us don’t get then I will be willing to think about giving up mine. When it becomes mandatory for all politicians to server in any of the 5 military services… then I will be willing to listen what they have to say about any of the services… until then… they can all just continue to scream at the four winds and bark at the noon because nobody is going to allow, and I stress the word “ALLOW”, them to do anything that will take anything away from us retired military people. They need to remember that they work for us… WE ELECTED YOU… The same way.. WE CAN ELECT SOMEBODY ELSE… When was the last time any person from their immediate family has served in any of the 5 services ? Maybe it’s time that a law be passed that all members of congress should have served in the US Military prior to being elected…

  129. joesfoot says:

    I'm always amazed that the US government willingly dumps billions into foreign countries, then looks to cutting into federal and military employee pay and benefits. The government should take care of the worker bees and defenders that keep it running and look to shunt the monetary bleeding out to foreigners that don't necessarily support our nation (paid for friends).

    The proposed retirement plan sounds too much like a civilian retirement plan to me. Had I known that the military was going this route, I probably would have gotten out early, established my civilian roots, and got on with life. However, I saw a goal to work for: retirement pay. Something more or less guaranteed to be there when I hung up the boots to move on to other things. At the end of the day, I'm not sure if the perils of military life is worth waiting until 57-60 to get the benefit. Pay at 57-60 years of age may be just in time to start paying for my medical bills (the key word being to start). As with the others on here, this is my opinion – I don't think that it's necessarily a good idea. Let's look at cutting elsewhere before we hack into those that sacrifice much for diminishing benefits.

  130. smithville says:

    You don't believe the current government really cares about the military retirees, reservist or active duty do you? Our current president and his staffers are so egotistical and only care about what they believe we voting, tax paying and sacrificial citizens need!! When the President of this country stands and criticizes our country for out misgivings and history, he is no president of mine!

  131. Robert Evans USN RET says:

    While I agree with a majority of the comments, some commentors do not have all the facts. Personally, I don't feel that our Civil Servants deserve a retirement or pension unless they serve the way the military does. Taken from SENATE.GOV…The facts: The confusion about Social Security probably results from the fact that before 1984, Senators and Representatives did not participate in the Social Security program. Like all federal government employees at that time, members of Congress were covered by a pension plan, called the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), that did not require payment of Social Security taxes and did not provide Social Security benefits. In 1983, Congress passed a law (P.L. 98-21) that required all federal employees first hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. The law also required all members of Congress to participate in Social Security as of January 1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Because the CSRS was not designed to coordinate with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement plan for federal employees, called the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), which does coordinate a federal pension with Social Security.

    Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at age 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. They are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80 percent of his or her final salary. As of October 1, 2000, the average annual pension for members of Congress who have retired under CSRS is $52,464, and $46,932 for retirees under FERS-only or both FERS/CSRS.

  132. How many of you complaining are double dipping the pot? Social Security, retirement from private sector and military pension.

  133. Shawn McFadden says:

    They are looking at this system from a civilian perspective, and that is the wrong approach to take. When I joined the Army, I was 18, served 21 years, and retired at 39. The retirement check I get is another source of income for me, which I'm very glad to have considering the bills I have. The other proposals are okay considering not everyone does 20-plus years in the military, but as I said, the powers that be cannot look at this system from a civilian point of view. In fact, with everything going on with the recession, and the economy, the government is proposing cuts and adjustments in the wrong places. I strongly favor taxing the rich as part of the solution for fixing the country's financial situation, but none of the Republicans want to touch that issue. They would rather break the backs of the middle class, and veterans, and that does not make any sense.

  134. The politicians are only looking out for themselves. They put this country so far in debt that they are scared that they might have to give up or even pay something for their free benefits. Being that they are the ones in control, they are going to vote and take it out of our pockets first before they give up one red cent!!! I suppose their thought process is that if us vets are dumb enough to put our lives on the front line we might as well put our pay and benefits up there as well. Don't get me wrong I believe in everyone doing their part. But to bail out a government that was negligent, irresponsible and fed on their own greed to fill their own bank accounts that put us to where we are now is not the answer. They need to take some serious cuts themselves first. Give back what they so eagerly pocketed and not just some nickel and dime cuts from benefits that they can care less about, but cuts that will really hit home before they start to dig into our pockets.

  135. It's really sad when the BIG Jerks in the ivory tower in Washington take shots at the military about their retirement when the 'one term' FRIST LADY is taken 15 vacations and we are paying for it again!!!! plus taking everyone in her family…plus 40 of her staff so she can have her clothes layed out for her..plus shouldn't it be wrong to take a Military aircraft to transport her personal car and and things that she may need to make her have and enjoyable time….WELL what about the military and their families ????.. who going to pay for their vacations and take ther children some where special for the summer break??? Really people…what are we going to do this is not funny anymore it's …How DARE the Vice President and Gates even think about taking from the miltiary after what they do to keep the first family safe so they can take the vacations they seen to take everytime the moon changes….By the way MR Gates don't come back to TEXAS we don't need your kind here …A&M IS BETTER WITH OUT YOU!!! remember to vote,all of these jerks need to be put out of office and maybe they can be OBMA's Personal Travel agent

  136. I am a 60yr old Vietman Vet. I spent one yr. of my enlistment in a burn center (Camp Zama Japan, Brooks Army Medical Center Texas) This treatment in Hosipals was second to none wish I am greatful. Up my discharge went home to find work. During my first year after military my employment record was seven low paying nothing jobs. Than came my 28 yr job. I work for the U.S. Army as a heavy disel moble Mech. Life couldn`t not have been better . But than came A-76 ARMY Which was so happy for this process because this would cut high pay civilian jobs . I transfer to Detriot to work at (Tank Automotive ComD. Now that I got deck job Life change. M.. y wounds and stress starting effecting my jobs. We dont want you any more you have no college no computer skills. Only two yrs. in USMC take early out retirement. So never think life as civilan federal employees got it easy. I belief in 20yrs in and full retirement NO ANDS OR BUTS> THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

  137. A plorality of the defense budget goes to retired vets. I believe in supporting the troops…..I am actually a vet myself, I think they should keep all medical benefits which is the main reason vets go for retirement anyways. As for they money 57-60 sounds like a reasonable age for 10 year retirement. 52-55 for 20 retirement and 47-50 for a 30 year retirement. This will cut down on the defense budget and provide motivation for staying in.

  138. Jose Wer says:

    What is the current price for a complete package of human blood? What is the currect price for lost limbs? What is the current price for a complete change of quality of life? . . . . But MOST IMPORTANT, What is the current price for MISSED OPPORTUNITIES???
    Teh problem is that our "Political Leaders" have no idea, most of them never have un undergone the rigors and sacrifice that our soldiers undertake. Most of them have not missed the warm American sun softly kissing their brows while they get charred in sand, grit and suffocating climates of foreign battlegrounds. Most of them have gathger years of profit from the lives of our gentle but brave American Soldiers. If we had responsible congressmen and Representatives, they would pass a requirement that to hold political offices anyone would be required to have served at least a 2 year commitment to defend our country in the American Armed Services. Then and only then, we could get some real solutions to the country's problems.
    Sincerely,
    Jose Wer
    MSGG E-8 USA (Ret)

  139. got to organize .do your home work on your elected officals. and VOTE, VOTE,VOTE. join the DAV ,..VFW..ect.. we have so many veterans organizations .We are a mission oriented group of people. united we are a force that cant be ingnored. so lets stop the petty bickering,we were all brothers in arms,support each other. if we dont no one else will,,, (see USA TODAY(" tricare too seet a deal?")

  140. Jose Wer says:

    (Continued) Our Militqry Leaders know (or should know) That is is a tactical error to disclose our plans to the enemy. But our Politcos and Media bad news ju8nkies do not and constantly disclose (and go to extremes to discover) our future plans and discussions including our lack of resources and mindset to tacle the present problems. Some of the prices aforementioned are paid as a result of these indiscrete and totally stupid disclosures, yet, they do not accept their responsibility.
    Our present Government shows their lack of understanding and intelligence by disclosing way in advance their plans to withdraw "so many" troops. They are in fact telling the enemy . . . "Just wait, and in a few months we will be weak enough that you will be able to pick us up like pigeons". We are also not taking advantage of the opposing political views between the Sunnies and The Shiites by helping to depose Gaddafi (Who is a Sunni) and therefore leave the Shiites to join are our sworn enemies under Khomeini's rule. After deposing Saddam Hussein, if Gaddafi's rule changes to the Shiites the whole Muslim world is going to be under Shiite Control to pesue their aim to sdestruct our Western Civilization. Wise up people, use knowledge and intelligence when picking our new representatives, Congressmen, and President. Our survival is at stake !!!!

  141. Give 30 or so million slackers in my country free medical care – then raise my TriCare rates after I retire from 22 years of service to the very ones that stab us in the back….2012 cannot come fast enough!

  142. I spent 9 years on active duty and the rest in the National Guard to earn my retirement. It doesn't kick in until I'm 60, but knowing it's there has been a great comfort to me. We have to band together and get these anti-military, welfare state liberals out of office! They will destroy our country, and taking out our defense is just a step along way. Obama / Biden – what a joke!

  143. woodman says:

    If they do away with the 20 year retirement, most people will just join up for the GI Bill Education benefits and the VA Home Loam Program. After the military invests $$$$$ to train recruits, most of them will be out the door after 4 to 8 years. There wouldn't be enough incentive to stay any longer. This would undoubtedly hurt the military in retaining experienced supervisors and managers.

  144. shelby ferrell says:

    The military lay their lives on the line to meet the directions of the president and congress. They damn well deserve something better than what I'm reading.
    Our precious presidents and congressional representatives can serve one term and draw a retirement. Talk about taking care of your own!

  145. As a few of the posts have stated… let congress clean up their own first with reformed health care/benefits! Just don't know how many more hoops military personel and families can jump through to please our 'elete elected!'

  146. After 26 years as a military wife, trotting all over the USA and overseas, then 20 plus years with my husband in Civil Service I believe the military and their families earn every penny of their retirement. Life in the military has it's rewards but it also means a nomadic life gives you no home, years of living separately. Speaking from experience after 26 years of moving we found we needed almost every penny of military retirement to purchase a house, and ours was a modest home. I am truly sick and tired of the way our politicians are acting when young men and women put their lives on the line to defend this country. Especially when lately none of them are doing the job they are paid for, taking off for vacations, making excuses, and this is from the very top of our government on down the line. If they were civilians they would be fired. As for getting a full 100% retirement package after four years, as well as medical, I've thought for years their retirement should be based on their production while in office, and that politicians should get a twice yearly review from the public. Funny isn't it how it's usually the fat cats with money that want to cut money to the military. As for 401K's these are a wonderful thing as long as the economy keeps them making money for your investments. But get to the age of 70+ when you were thinking you would have this money to supplement your income, only "Ooop's" sorry your loosing money due to a bad economy, but guess what your bad luck, you still have to withdraw a monthly allotment. Leave the military alone, you fat cats in congress clean up your own house first.

    • Steven Stiller says:

      amen trish, let them earn an hrly rate and have to earn their raises, congress I mean. The vets shouldn't have to shoulder their shortcomings

  147. Change in Retirement is that the same as
    The Survivors Benefit ProgramSBP? We pay in and comes time to recieve the funds to survire and the funds are denied, because , we also recieved some support from the Veterans Administration, but not enough to stay afloat with the economy which everyone keeps saying ythe cost of living hasn't changed in how long?
    GMA

  148. Congress shall make no laws that do not apply to them equally.

  149. I didn't vote for Obama or agree with him in any way, but he didn't raise the taxes he just let the Bush era tax cuts expire. That is why the tax is higher on our retired pay. Obama could care less about the military family's well being or any other American family for that matter. Obama would rather destroy the American way of life. Afterall, he wasn't born here and isn't even an American. He has said so if you listen to what he says.

    CW3, USA, RET

  150. Stress kills. I don't know any other job that is more stressful than being in the military. I served in several civilian jobs before joining the military.

    CW3, USA, RET

  151. TheRefudiator says:

    The deficit "crisis" is the excuse the brass needs to cut the money for those pesky troops to invest in more weapons systems. The buzz word is "parity"

    Rumsfeld wanted "parity" with the private sector.

    Gates, to his credit wants to make service a better option with retirement savings plans for members who do not stay for a career ,but again, is insisting on parity.

    Ok, lets have parity.

    Private sector workers need experience hostile fire in the name of parity. They should look forward to going to work one day and not coming back until a year later, enjoy the 2-3 year PCS move cycle, endure arbitrary promotion caps and career ending "flow points". They should be subjected to sleep deprivation and ultra high stress work environments, working with hazardous materials .

    Parity. Fair is fair.

    The proposal cuts the value of military retirement by 40%. That fact alone sends an unspoken message loud and clear…we dont want you to stay for a career… want you until you start to cost some money, then, adios.

    What it does mean is the end of the all volunteer force. It will treat service to country like a commodity, the cheaper the better hence the "vari­able annual retire­ment con­tri­bu­tions depend­ing on chang­ing reten­tion and skill require­ments."

    The ultimate goal is what I call the " Wal-Mart military" In for six and out, low cost, low benefits and low wages, expendable and cheap. Low responsibility and accountability for the brass.

    Don't expect the performance from our troops we saw in Desert storm / Iraqi freedom if these proposals pass.

    Maybe we can outsource the military ! Just thing of the money we would save.

  152. C Stokes says:

    Why not the Veterans have been getting screwed ever since Custer at the Little Big Horn, The thing that really cranks my thing is that Non on the so called leaders of our country had enough in them to serve our country in uniform but now they think that they should be able to make decisions that effect all retired military personel, duh something isn’t right here. To me if you haven’t got the guts to wear the uniform you haven’t earned the right to tell Private Smuck how to do his job or when to do it. None of our leaders should be in the position that they are in because they didn’t care enough about our country to serve in any one of the military forces.

    What really eats me up is when Mr. Obama renders a hand salute, he never earned that right but yet he set up in Washington and dictate what is and what isn’t going to happen to our people in uniform, Not right at all . We need a person who has served in the military to guide this country and direct our forces not some chicken s— draft dodging cotton picker that no one ever heard of until he ran for President, I feel if a person is going to send me, you or our sons some where he should have had the guts to have been through some of the same things himself, I am a Viet Nam Vet and yas I volenteered to go, not because I was in favor of the war but because My country was at war and I felt it was my duty.

    Secretary Gates, Badin and the rest of them didn’t have the guts to stand up and now they are making decisions that they have no right or business in even discussing let alone voting on. When its time for electing our new leaders think about what I have said about prior military personell being in offices of leadership, the only person I can think of worse than Gates or Obama would have to be McNamarra, He really sold us down the drain.

    Also while I am at it how many of you have O.S.G.L.I ( veterans Llife insurance? otice how much your premium has gone up in the past several years? We need to reduce this cost as we get older now increase.

    C. Stokes U. S. Army (Ret)

  153. You know what, the present military retirement system, although generous, needs overhauling. As a retired naval reservist, I had a civilian job which would not allow me to draw a retirement until age 60, the same age I could start drawing my naval reserve retirement. Military members under the current retirement system can put in 20 years, retire at age 38 or 40, draw their retirement, then go onto another career in the civilian world, retire at age 60 or 65, then draw another pension, and Social Security. Secretary Gates' suggestion has merit, and I think it needs to be evaluated. Revamp the active duty retirement laws, or change the laws restricting when reservists can start collecting their retirements. I personally do not see why military retirees under the age of 55 should collect an immediate pension, and they should have to wait to age 55 or 60, depending on if Congress lowers the reserve retirement age with pension and benefits to age 55.

    • I respect our reservists highly! Please though, do NOT compare reservist to the Active duty members. Reservist sacrafice much and so do the active, there are differences in service and that is why there is differences in retirement! I could go on about the differences in ongoing hardships the active duty member and their families face. If you wanted your retirement at 20 then you had the choice to be active, you made the reservist choice and you knew the retirement difference. Don’t try and bring the active member down because you’re not happy! You sound and obviously think like a crab in a pot. Good day!

    • Jim Mitchell says:

      The primary reason behind the reserve retirees not receiving their pension until age 60 is because they served only part-time. Don’t misunderstand me, the reservist are an important part of the armed forces and their service and dedication to the defense of the country is not taken for granted. After serving 20 years in the military, the retirement pension they receive immediately is well earned. I don’t think members of the military should receive any pension prior to 20 years until they are medically discharged or forced to retire prematurely. I think the current retirement system is working as designed and it gives current active duty something to strive for and gives the recruiters something to offer the recruits.

    • tim stratford says:

      Reserve members are a very important part, he one thing you forget though is We active members served in the war zone while many of you were not put on active status during Veitnam war, additionaly your Govenor controlled your status.
      Active duty is controlled by the US Gov’t, our elected idiots.

      • retiree says:

        1. Reservists are Fedeal. Guardsman have a dual role – both Federal and State.

        2. You’ve missed the new reality – most reservists now have or will deploy in support of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror.

        The 2nd above is the reason for the change in reserve retirement that enables them to retire earlier than 60 in exchange for more active duty time.

  154. Jeff Brailey says:

    Please write President Obama, Vice President Biden and your senators and congressmen asking them to please keep hands off the military retirement pay system in their quest for deficit reduction.

    I started a petition on Change.com telling our country's leaders that it is unacceptable for these men to sacrifice their financial security. Sign this petition now and pass it on. You can find it on: http://www.change.org/petitions/write-your-senato

  155. Jeff Brailey says:

    Please write President Obama, Vice President Biden and your senators and congressmen asking them to please keep hands off the military retirement pay system in their quest for deficit reduction.

    I started a petition on Change.com telling our country's leaders that it is unacceptable for these men to sacrifice their financial security. Sign this petition now and pass it on. You can find it on: http://www.change.org/petitions/write-your-senato

    • Jim Mitchell says:

      HOOOAHHH!!! I was so upset at the H.R. 1540 being passed that not only did I call both of my U.S. Senators, I plastered it all over facebook and networked my friends and family to call in to their politicans to voice their opinions.

  156. How can you even imagine paying our retired military personnel a retirement similar to that of a civilian 401K????? Tell me, how are the duties and obligations of those charged to protect our nation similar to those in the civilian world (excluding our firefighters and police force)? Shame on you!!

  157. Gerald Smalls says:

    It's very obvious that who we have in the White House does not give a damn about those of us who have sacrificed the majority of our lives to make sure they are living comfortable and able to speak English… I am a retired combat veteran who served 20+ years in my Beloved Corps, and to see that the retirement we have longed for is on the table to as an option is so damn sad. have you noticed, Congress, the House, or even the secretarys across the board have not put there retirement or talked about cutting there pay on the table… Maybe the President should begin to live off what a GySgt or a Msgt earned from their Honorable years of service…. oh forgot, he gets everything free on our dollar anyway….If it sounds like I'm a little upset. YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT….. If you want to cut, start from the top, and then from all of those who sit in Washington that have not spent a second serving this nation in our Armed Forces….!!!!! Semper Fi….!

  158. Rebecca McArthur says:

    I understand your point, and I may be wrong, but instead of changing current active duty retirement why not change the civilian government entitlements so the “double dipping” isn’t so easy?

    And to finish stirring the hornet nest, let me just say that part time service members sacrifice far less than full timers, so delaying pay out for reservists doesn’t seem all that unreasonable to me. You still get retirement benefits without living the life 24/7 for the full 20. 38 days a year plus deployment times 20 is 2398 days versus 24/7/365, multiple deployments, no say so on where you live, when and how you work, for how many hours out of 24 for 7300 days. Seems like the current system is not unfair.

    I agree with Gerald Smalls, the cutting should begin at the top, and maybe the system to scrutinize should be the one where government officials serving only one term should not receive FULL retirement benefits AT FULL SALARY as opposed to a percentage like military.

  159. I understand your point, and I may be wrong, but instead of changing current active duty retirement why not change the civilian government entitlements so the “double dipping” isn’t so easy?

    And to finish stirring the hornet nest, let me just say that part time service members sacrifice far less than full timers, so delaying pay out for reservists doesn’t seem all that unreasonable to me. You still get retirement benefits without living the life 24/7 for the full 20. 38 days a year plus deployment times 20 is 2398 days versus 24/7/365, multiple deployments, no say so on where you live, when and how you work, for how many hours out of 24 for 7300 days. Seems like the current system is not unfair.

    I agree with Gerald Smalls, the cutting should begin at the top, and maybe the system to scrutinize should be the one where government officials serving only one term should not receive FULL retirement benefits AT FULL SALARY as opposed to a percentage like military.

  160. Jim in Baghdad says:

    I've served for 22 years in the Acive Army and I entered the Army because of the benefits and because of where I grew up had little to offer a person just out of high school. For the sacrifices we make as members of the service we should be compensated accordingly. I've deployed to Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq and spent up to 15 months away from my family at a time and my wife deployed to Desert Shield,Desert Storm and Somalia and somehow we have managed to keep our marriage together through the hell of serving that long and I can only say that I am preparing to retire and will have to get another job just to make ends meet. As a Soldier who's sacrificed a lot I want to just say that it sickens me to read about proposed cuts in the military benefits. We should definately be looking elsewhere, it's sad to know that there are abled bodied cowards out there living like kings on welfare and freely breathing air that my fellow service members and I have provided and the benefits for the real American patriots are the first place they look to cut WTF trim the welfare system and the over-inflated politian salaries and leave the services alone.

  161. I learned from the U S census bureau that less than 3% of the American population have ever been and/or are still serving in the Military. If this is the case, than why is the Military consistently under attack about either the active duty pay and entitlements, the retirement system, or Tricare?
    Since the population is so small within the Military why is it ALWAYS an issue. I am very tired of the Military getting the shaft on every turn. Leave my retirement alone! Leave the future military retirees pension alone. If you want the benefits then join up – there are several branches to choose from!

    • Garret Anglin says:

      These events are brought about by an ever increasing number of Senators and Representatives in the congress who have never served a day in any armed service. Thus they move from their common core of experience…zero understanding, zero empathy. I lobbied in congress for 20 years and saw this trend coming…frankly they are like a bunch of folks who don’t appreciate police, firefighters, emt, paramedics, and the military….until they need them. These clowns have but one objective in mind…themselves.

  162. George Washington once said something about how you treat the soilders after they fought the wars will determine the quality and quantity of your furture Army.

    I don’t believe there is any reason to touch the military pension system. Perhaps welfare could use some serious reform but that’s not the issue.

    I looked up the benefits for congressmen and no where could I find that they get full retirement after one or two terms. They seemed to have alot of benefits similar to other government employees but don’t get me wrong they are getting very nice pay checks.

    To solve all these problems would take congress and the president to believe the American people are the most important people in the world and to stop giving all the money away. China takes natural resources out of Afgan and we pour money in. Yet, we owe money to China ? ? I guess China just keeps winning.

    We could just send some countries notes next year saying sorry but our country seems to be in trouble right now to we will get back to you later. They hate us for giving them the money let them hate us for not giving it to them. If they have a God given earth quake or storm then of course we help but not this day to day stuff.

    People say it’s to help starving, sick, homeless people in third world countries. Have you been to Chicago, New York, Los Angelas, or worst of all Washington D.C. lately?

    • Dear Ms. Stanfield:

      There is also a saying about how you treated the old people reflects on how well you treated the rest of the population. I wondering if there is a saying about how you treat children and young people, relects your country values.

  163. I agree what is this country coming to!!!!!!!!!!

  164. John McEntire says:

    Congress doesn't want to even look at cutting any of it's "PERK" but the military is one of the first names that comes up on the cut list.
    One of the news stations said that Weiner, the guy who resigned under pressure for unethical behavior will still get 1.2 million in retirement. This is absolutely wrong.

  165. Francis O`Brien says:

    This country has exhausted it`s revenue by giving it away to the rest of the world.You don`t see any country giving us foreign aid.No they just sit back and let us go down the tubes.What a bunch of saps we are ,3Billion to Pakistan what a great friend and ally.How did China get into us for 14 Trillion Dollars??? This govt needs to wake up and take care of it`s own people
    FO`B

  166. CavScout62 says:

    RETIRED462-
    You are correct. All politicians must be reigned in. We have to elect people who want to SERVE not make a career of politics. Term limits for all, good for the Prez, good for all. After service the politician leaves with the shirt on thier back, nothing else. No $$$, no healthcare, nada! Right into the Social Security system just like the rest of us. As a disabled veteran I must live within my very meager means, so should the people who send us to fight.
    SBFP2012

  167. elaine woods says:

    Our politicians want everything like civilian. So disband all military and put it in the hands of civilians. Do not have to work over 40 hr week 2 breaks in your 8 hrs of 15min and lunch hour. all the time off when your wife is pregnant. If you decide not to go to work. The worse that could happen is you are fired. You get to chose what state or country you want to work in. You get to sue your boss if injured at work or your family can. You will have to get rid of th Uniform code of military justice since civilians are not subject to it. If the individual has gone against the law it has to be a law all citizens follow. You would have to take them before a civilian justice system. If you plan to do anything medically to them they have a right to refuse . Try this on a war front and tell me how it works.

    • Unforunately, the Koch Brothers and the ALEC along with Karl Rove have launch a multiple attack capture the court system at the federal and state levels plus putting in their own politicans to strip us of any kind of rights.

  168. papa1art says:

    I retired after 21 years active duty with the promise of a lifetime pension. Now those A-holes in congress and the president are trying to take my hard earned efforts away from me . Yet, they still have their lifetime pensions after serving only a few days in their office. Duh! How does this add up? I would probably agree to a grandfather clause starting at the time of the bill enactment but not for those who are under the existing laws. WE are getting screwed, no matter how you look at it.

  169. Hambright says:

    If you want to make cuts to help reduce the deficit, then start with everyone in the congress. It is a bunch of bull crap when they want to reduce the defiit by reducing the retired pay of the military. Why not start with them. They give themselves a pay raise every year and the military gets crap. It is the men and women that's in our military that is protecting this country and keeping it free. Why punish them. Cutout all the benefits that congress has and let them live on the benefits that the military has. Lets see if they would be complainingl.

  170. 20years active 2 tours to SEA, total 12years overseas out of 20. Hopefully Biden the court jester doesn’t figure out what he is doing, This man is a looser and useing good air. Haven’t heard an itelligent word out his mouth. What makes me really mad is the Ex military in the House and senate that are not speaking up about this sham.

    The time has come to call your elected idiot’s on a daily basis , make sure they know you by name and you know everyone in their office. Bury them in phone calls, get everyone you know to call, Let’s shut the switchboard down in Washington. I don’t think they have an idea how many retiree’s and active members that are involved in this BS.

    I agree with the above, Let the politico’s take a cut on their pay/pension first then we can take a look at federal workers, the last look see is military pay and benefits.

  171. ROLANDO says:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS? YOUR WORDS ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE WHAT IS COMING FOR US RETIRED PEOPLE. DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE ALREADY. EVERYTHING IS ALREADY FIXED FOR THE RICH TO GET RICHER AND US PENDEJOS TOO GET KICKED IN THE BUTT. CLINTUCKER, BUSHEE, O'BAMA AND ALL THE REST ARE CONTROLLED BY THE SAME MOB. HARRY S. TRUMAN WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE INDUSTRIAL WAR COMPLEX, THOSE DUDES ONLY WANT WARS ON THE CHEAP. REPUBLICANS WANT BEAUCOUP MONEY FOR WARS, THE MORE WARS THE MERRIER. REPUBLICANS AND THEIR WILLING PARTNERS SOME DEMOCATS THEN WANT TO CUT OUR BENEFITS. , THE REPUTICANS ARE AGAINST OBAMA BECAUSE HE IS BLACK, THEY'VE BEEN DISSING OBAMA FROM THE DAY HE ENTERED OFFICE. THAT OLD PENDEJO'S MISSION, FROM KENTUCKY, HAS BEEN TO MAKE OBAMA A ONE TERM PRESIDENT.

    • retiree says:

      1. Please turn off you caps lock. You look like a little boy shouting.

      2. Harry Truman did not warn against the MIC -that was Eisenhower.

      3. Please be civil – please call the president and past presidents by their rightful name. You don't have to like them, but respect their office.

  172. ROLANDO says:

    LIKE MY SHOP TEACHER, MR. KELLY FROM CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS, USED TO SAY WHENEVER WE MESSED UP A PROJECT IN SCHOOL. HE WOULD SAY: WHAT'S THE USE MOTHER GOOSE. THAT'S THE WAY THINGS ARE FOR US HERE IN THE GOOD OLD….U.S.A. WHAT WE ARE DOING IS PLAYING A DOG AND PONY SHOW TO MAKE US FEEL THAT WE ARE ACCOMPLISHING SUMTHIN'. WHAT CAN WE EXPECTED FROM THE GOVERNMENT? WHEN, EL P[ILOTO'S ADMINISTRATION, WAS PAYING THE V.A: . BONUSES TO CUT OR DENY US OUR BENEFITS AND VACATIONS. MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE BEFORE BIBLICAL TIMES, AND REPUTICANS ARE NOW UPHOLDING IT UP FAITHFULLY AND PROUDLY, THAT OLD PENDEJO FROM KENTUCKY ONCE SAID: THAT HIS MISSION IS TO MAKE OBAMA A ONE TERM PRESIDENT. WOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!! THAT SOUNDS LIKE A RACIST AND TRAITOR TO ME.

    !

  173. ROLANDO says:

    THERE'S AN OLD SPANISH SAYING THAT GOES LIKE THIS: THE RICH LIVE OFF THE FOOLS(PENDEJOS.) AND THAT'S HOW THINGS ARE BEENING DONE HERE IN THE U.S.A. JOREJITO, EL PILOTO, ALLOWED THIS COUNTRY TO BE ROBBED AND PILLAGED BY WALL STREET. THEN O'BAMA ALLOWED JORGE TO GET AWAY SCOTT FREE. WOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!! O'BAMA SHOULD BE IMPEACHED FOR DOING THAT. BUT OBAMA IS ALL THAT WE HAVE. THE REPUTICANS WILL FINALLY GET WHAT THEY WANT….A DEPRESSION IF THEY WIN IN 2012. THE REPUTICANS WILL ALLOW WALL STREET TO DESTROY OUR ECONOMY. YOU SEE, REPUTICANS HATE THIS COUNTRY, THEY WANT FREE ENTERPRISE , BUUUUUUUUT THEY WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO HELP THEM OUT, MONEY, IF THEY GET IN TROUBLE. THAT'S NOT ENTERPRISE. THEN THEY WANT: WARS AND UNENDING WARS. OUR SOLDIERS ARE EXPENDABLE FOR THEM. POOR MEN, THEY ARE BEING KILLED FOR CORPORATE PROFITS.

  174. ROLANDO says:

    SO YOU CENSORED MY COMMENTS. WHY? DID I TATTLE TOO MANY TRUTHS,

  175. JERRY JOHNSON says:

    PISS ON CONGRESS, KICK THE WHOLE BUNCH OUT…

  176. JERRY JOHNSON says:

    BYE BYE.. GUNNY

  177. BYE BYE – GUNNY

  178. POST YOU AS$HOLE

  179. JERRY JOHNSON says:

    BYE BYE

  180. JERRY JOHNSON says:

    I AM TO OLD TO WORRY, BUT I STILL DON'T LIKE WHAT THEY WANT TO DO…

  181. Change can be for the positive if done right. (Thou rarely done right by the idiots in DC) If you are in uniform before the change you should get exactly what you signed up for. No changes can be made for those in stream. Same for any and all retiree's. Any changes should be made thur-out the federal system not just DOD. See how the politico's vote if it reflects on their pensions and benefits. This conversation will come to a screaming halt. Also, FBI, CIA, DEA, etc….. they need to be involved in pension changes also.

  182. Whay are we allowing the house to get away with what congress is doing the house sends the bill to congress Ron Paul has always stated that he wants to cut the military. How many toimes does he need to say it before people strat taking notice. We can blame 10 years of being raped yet people close there eyes to the past.

  183. Why are we allowing the house to get away with what the congress is doing? The house sends the bills to congress for passage?? Ron Paul the budget person has always stated that he wants to cut the military.

    How many times does he need to say it before people start taking notice.!!!

    We can blame 10 years of being raped yet some people refuse to wake up.

  184. Leave the Military alone. you send us into other country''s to fight their battles and now you want cut into our retirement, Cut your own first

  185. Over our history the first place these POLs go to cut the budget is the military..
    I have NOT seen and initiatives that CUT Congressional, Executive branch or senior SES retirements!!!!! It's time to throw the bums out in both Houses of Congress and sweep out the hite House ….with a reduced retirement in 2012

  186. SGM Pompili says:

    Roland, Eisenhower was the one that warned us about the military industrial complex and I have been voting, to no avail,we are still getting screwed into the ground…..

  187. Joyce Todd says:

    I am a military wife and I agree with most of these posts. In my opinion, the miilitary…especially the old retirees…should be first to get any kind of raise. What I do not understand is why no-one seems to mention the fact that if it were not for the vast amount of fraud and give-a-ways to people who have not contributed one cent to this country and its well-being, we would not be having to beg and plead for our small colas…Most everyone, including our congressman who are suppose to be representing us, know whats going on

  188. Curtis Msgt (USAF) says:

    I've been retired since May 1991. and back in the work force since December 1992. My retirement secure my house Mortage and light bill only. My wife working help me transition into the civillian sector. Because, I didn't know what i wanted to Major in after I retired…I did not go to college and waste the my educational benifit…when i decided what i want to do with my educational benifit, a law was passed that if you didn't use it after 10 years of retirement it was taken away. I lost big time! We need to stay aware of the changes and find the right people to communicate to them how we feel so that they can fight for our benifit. Yes, change has to take place but a balanced change. 20 years of service working 12- 18 hours and being on call after you serve your time…being away from your family…under paid and then sent to war and losing our live…being dis-membered…mental problems…and if you make/live it"s 50% of your pay. For those of you that's fighting these wars Thanks very much for your LOVE and SUPPORT of these United States.

  189. bullseyeannie says:

    How many are Aware of the, "Dead Pheasant's Clause"? Yeah! <choke> In 2011, you, You, and YOU are 'affectionately' refered to as a 'pheasants.' I wonder? Is the government making $$$ on the untimely demise of your spouse? Son? Daughter? Unbeknowest to the emloyee, companies (and government?) draw up an insurance policy (Dead Pheasant's..) on new hirees. When he or she is seriously injured and dies companies get huge dividends. (Walmart, AT&T, Bank of 'America', Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Eaton Corp, GNC Corp, Hershey Foods, JP Morgan, McDonald Douglas Corp, Proctor & 'Gamble', partial list: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/10/04/789609/-…. The pay out is mind blowing! In the six figures to millions! And the surviving family members get? ? NOTHING! ZILTCH! ZEEEERRRROOO! "War makes money"

  190. BULLSEYEANNIE says:

    As for Congress? The LAST THING WE SHOULD TOLERATE is allowing anyone in office for more than 8 years!!! Wake UP!!! And we don't want a tailor made representative who was previously employed by an elite corporation participating in decision making or implementations of new policies/laws. We do Not SERVE the gov! They Are SUPPOSED to SERVE 'US'. All *laws, regulations, and policies created in the last 100 years–*eveerrything* needs to be revisited, reviewed, and trashed if not in the best interest of a UNITED state's citizen….and they sure aren't right now!! Has a freak'in cabal been running this country or just a bunch of sleepy heads driving the FREE WAYS?

  191. BULLSEYEANNIE says:

    NOT AMENDED—–TRASHED!!!

  192. 3 YEARS WW2 INCLUDING I YEAR OCCUPYING __ 2 " JAPAN " 2 " " __ 2 " KOREA__ ALL WITHOUT FAMILY, RETIRED, PAST BEING REMPLOYABLE AND THEY TALK ABOUT CUTTING RETIREMENT, TFL, FAMILY FUNDS, THEY MUST BE HALLUCINATING.

  193. tell you what if my pension and benefits are cut there will be hell to pay……
    see you at the FEBA

  194. Ken Ries says:

    SIRS:
    How does tricare handle hearing aids for military Retirees

    Thanks
    Ken

    retirees

  195. Draftee says:

    The two Bushes and Ronald Reagan were former military men; however, if you look at their records, they were not helpful to increase funding to the VA, in fact, they tried to reduce it while denying compensation to Vietnam soldiers who were expose to Agent Orange. Bush, Senior started to privitizes the military and his son finish the job. Having veterans in elected office is no guarantee you will be listen to and get help.

    • I agree with Draftee. Just look at Senator John McCain who sits in the senate with his finger up his ass ignoring the attacks on the active duty and retirees pay and benefits. I think all that torture by the V C warped his brain. SGM

  196. Draftee says:

    If we bring back the draft, then maybe we can push these upper middle class and rich class kids into the front lines where they can get shot and suffer the phyiscal and mental damage of war.

    • No!! Not "Well Said". I've spent nearly 20 years in service, deployed on ship, stationed in foreign countries, and getting shot at in the desert (this year is the 3rd time in 5 years) so my children could have something better for themselves than to be called away from their own families when they are old enough to make the choice. The draft will affect more than the rich. Be careful what you wish for!

  197. Draftee says:

    The social contract for the American civilian worker was broken 30 years ago, and now the one for military people is now in the works of being broken. Welcome to the real world.

  198. Draftee says:

    You have too many young men and women doing the same thing that the old men and women are doing.

  199. The threat of Social Security is not fair. For example I make $70,000.00 a year and taxes $4340.00 and my neighbor would pay the same. which would leave him with $36,800.00 not taxed. Not sure what the top cut off is now but is it fair that his whole pay is not taxed. If we would be a fairness then we would not be in a mess with Social Security.

  200. Daniel S. West says:

    It doesn”t matter, We the people are ants on a ant farm with eveyone looking at us. Don’t you know by now the goverment don’t give a crap about us. It doesn’t matter who we vote for it’s rigged anyway for people who has$$$.

  201. we as mil. ret. and seniors have to vote them out. they are nuts.

  202. IT1 Mark H. USN says:

    Any patriotic American sees that our financial condition is untenable. However, this continued attack on military benefits, and especially retirement benefits after 20 years or more of service, is inexcusable. Stop comparing apples to oranges concerning civilian careers Vs. military service! When has ANY civilian been ordered to a foreign country and made to sleep on a cement floor for 3-weeks at a time, for 6 months, with no shower or bathroom? When has a civilian been told to go away from their family for 12-15 months to such a place? When has a civilian been ordered to move to another country every 2 or 3 years, uprooting their families or leaving them behind? When has a civilian been given a weapon and told to kill someone? The answer to all of these questions is obviously Never! So, stop comparing the 2 and realize military members who have suffered for 20+ years deserve EVERY Benefit we get because it is only after 20+ years of REAL sacrifice that we get them!!

  203. Military deploy from their families, miss their children's birth, birthdays, graduations; oh, wait and some give their lives for us to protect us; and this is the thanks they get. Retirement for the military is usually for the spouse too since many cannot afford child care or cannot get a job since we move around all the time. Take a good look at this because you are now risking the safety of our Country.

  204. Leave the military retirement and benefits alone, the current system works. The reason is, if you cut the retirement out you will not have a military, most of your senior leadership will leave, mid level tech experts gone, what do you have, a very weak military, I have already talked to several people in the military and they all have said you take my retirement I am gone, what is left in experienced kids with no one left to guide them , the point is military wide, you will have so many people leave you will not have enough time for the INK to dry, if you think I am joking apparently you are not in the real world.
    -Jason

  205. Leave the military retirement and benefits alone, the current system works. The reason is, if you cut the retirement out you will not have a military, most of your senior leadership will leave, mid level tech experts gone, what do you have, a very weak military, I have already talked to several people in the military and they all have said you take my retirement I am gone, what is left in experienced kids with no one left to guide them , the point is military wide, you will have so many people leave you will not have enough time for the INK to dry, if you think I am joking apparently you are not in the real world.

  206. It is hard to believe these "people" would want to do this to our military. Government bails out banks, and major companies who cannot manage their own. So they attack the military by threatening their retirement. Do these companies send their people to war zones where they can be killed or shot at. No, they do not. This is something that should not even be an option.

  207. I'm only 28 years old and have been serving in the USAF for nine years. It's been really rewarding and at the same time challenging. Congressman and civilians don't face the same challenges we do. They are unique to the armed forces. I don't even have a combat related specialty. I make sure that the taxpayers 220 million dollar jets here can fly when the nation calls on them. Still, I have served in Afghanistan and found myself in a bunker with an M-16 wearing nothing but my boxer shorts after being woken up in the middle of the night on many occasions to the sound of mortars hitting the small army base we operated out of. I've literally given blood sweat and tears to the country. Blood coming in the form of having to donate it in Basic Training because the mortars missed, sweat coming from the hot desert sun when faced with 12 to 16 hour workdays for four to six months at a time and tears from broken relationships and missing my family. To our brothers and sisters who've fought on the front lines my heart goes out to you. I've sacraficed a ton but I can only imagine the sacrafice you all go through on a daily basis. May God watch over you and bring you home safe.

    • I couldn't agree with you more Melissa. This individual probably left active duty because of the rigors we face on a daily basis. Can't handle more than one weekend a month. I had to correct my spelling. That's how you know you've sacrificed a lot. When you spell that word wrong but can spell Afghanistan.

  208. The President shouldn't be paid retirement until he is of retirement age.

  209. pcvirginiabeach says:

    A lot of this is coming from republicans. Senator Coburn (R, OK) is proposing a 1000% increase for health care, the end of the commissary etc. While 1000% may not be a lot (3-4k) for a retired Colonel or admiral, it is like 1/3 of a Sgt/ PO pay. We need to protect the men from this. We owe it to them. Everyone is going to have to pay a little more… maybe a % scale- but smacking a retired E-6/7 after 10 years of war? Just plain wrong.

  210. I have been with MOAA for many years and I am coming to the conclusion that we the members along with MOAA principles and the industrial military complex are becoming Takers and entitlement seekers. All I read is gimme this and gimme that. Our Defense Department talks about defending the nation and you get the idea that what they really want is more flag officers. Right now all we worry about is how much more can they pay us. The Military never had any idea that retired Military would live as long as we are now. And yet we keep asking for more and turn a deaf ear to anybody that come up with some changes to the retirement system. Who do we think is paying for this added cost?? And I might add the American public is also in the same boat. 14 trillion dollars in debt and nobody wants to give an inch. I totally support the 200 dollars for TRICARE .Its a great program and I am sure we can all afford 200 dollars.to keep this program on a good basis. Semper Fi

  211. Really Ben who do you think dies so you can post this on the internet????AHHHH Miitary think before you speak…something they teach us in the military.

  212. Look at the membership of the Defense Business Board. It is populated by CEOs, COOs, etc. All have already procured very lucrative retirements. Some may even have conflicts of interest. Don't take my word, look it up and look at their individual bios. Admittedly, all are very smart, perhaps cunning, and successful. Some are former bureacrats. How many have kids that have or serve in the military? Interesting.

  213. This reeks of undermining the confidance of all who choose to seek this honorable profession. by removing the safety net so many of us for giving so much for. this systen as it stands yes , could use some inprovements but not a broud stroke such as now under debate. In such it is very much like undermining the confidance in the financial sector but, in a slow mathodical way. why would i or any other person choose to place themselves in harms way for the untannable prospect of future financial gain. we all I have seen what this type of futuriatic foreplay / betting on ones can do and those who choose to invest in any future financial plans suffer the harsh reality of loosing their future. Even they do accept this plan, most who serve for less than the retirement age those in their 20s or 30s will suffer at the hands of a financial system frought with the danger of loss of future gains. someone will always be their to milnipulate those not quitr ready for a financially foot hold in their future.

  214. If the military wants to save money, go back to the draft. Military retirement is the best deal around, too bad some people have a sour puss don't have the coconuts to hang around for 20 years. Enlisting was one of my greatest choices thou at the time i didn't realize it. Military retirement and soon SS will set me up nice at my overseas retirement location.

    If the US goes back to the draft, we will see protests we have not seen since the 70's. People bitch about the benefits the military receives but when it comes to them being drafted and deploying to a war theater, watch them really bitch.

    • Bill Rockwell says:

      I agree with reinstating the Draft, it would change the dynamic of the current out cry that the Military is a welfare situation. I would like to see the congressional folks have their children go first. I would also like to see deep cuts in pay that are associated with the military be given to entire congress and senate so they can perform better. Also disallow these people no access to the Military hospitals and tack on the the same benefits as the military retired. Reduce their pay and see how a different come out
      can be. It's easy for the entire Government congressional folks always give the pay raises their own kind but want to reduce the retirement of the Military. If the military is so easy let the congress go fight wars.

  215. Hairyrat says:

    What most people do not realize is that that one retirement is actually a retirement for two, the military personnel and their spouse. Since being a military spouse has done a number on my career. I had a choice I could tell my husband to go to all his duty stations alone or I could move with him; I did half and half, sometimes I moved but many times I didn't. Also, the job market at this time is horrible, so what are the retired military supposed to do for a comparable living. For everyone looking take your current salary, now add on your housing plus taxes that is what you need to make in order to make it on the outside world of the military. Your spouse may be able to pick up the difference between reality and the going market but usually its your retirement that makes ends meet.
    Personally, I think if the military takes it in the shorts, the congress and Senate should have to also. The Congress and Senate should earn retirement points for retirement and I would even be willing to share our military medical with them, even though they don't deserve it. They should not get their benefits if the military who earned theirs can't get the benefits that they joined under. I do support the increase in the TRICARE it is a great program, and in order to stay that way they need the increase.

  216. Bobby Parker says:

    I serviced in the Navy in the 60's, my last physical in the Navy, the doctor noted I had contracted TB, but was at a nonactive stated then, In 1968. The doctor noted that as I aged and my immune system weaken the TB could become active again. I didn't read all of my discharge medical records until 2007, that about TB could have explained why when I had a TB test in the 1980,s my entire arm and shoulder swelled and I was very ill for several days. We never know what we have picked-up from our travels from coast to coast.