Military Retirement Watch – Aug. 30

August 30, 2011 | Terry Howell

[8/31 Update: The Associated Press is reporting that the Defense Business Board’s expected “final report” and recommendations on retirement pay  won’t be ready this month and will likely take a couple more weeks. No reason was given for the delay.]

In the interest of keeping our readers up to date on the Military Retirement Reform proposal, I will be posting a weekly status report on any military retirement news. So, where Does Panetta Stand on Retirement Reform?

This week The Washington Post is reporting that although the Defense Business Board’s final plan has not been released, Defense Secretary Panetta has hinted that he may be leaning toward some of their recommended reforms.

According to TWP, Panetta insists he has made no decisions, but, they claim it is clear that he has been influenced by the DBB presentation. Panetta recently told Pentagon reporters, “The question that is at least legitimate to ask is, ‘Is there a way for those future volunteers to shape this that might give them better protection to be able to have some retirement and take it with them?’ ”

Retired Army officer and military analyst, Andrew J. Bacevich, wrote in the Washington Post that the DBB’s proposed solution “would be to transform profession into trade, reducing long-serving officers and noncommissioned officers to the status of employees, valued as long as they are needed, expendable when they are not, forgotten the day they leave.”

As noted in this blog in the past, Sec. Panetta has stated that he would likely grandfather current servicemembers and military retirees – essentially shielding them from any major changes to their retirement. However, that does not mean that the proposed change to the annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) formula and TRICARE fee changes are not going to happen.

Past Blog posts on the subject:

Take Action! Let DoD, Congress and the President know how you feel about the proposed changes to the military retirement system.

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. From the movie Casablanca: " I am shocked, shocked, that there is gambling going on in the casino". Wake up guys, he was appointed to be the hatchet man. Even gates is starting to look good now.

  2. Tiger One says:

    And yet another broken promise to the military men and women who gave their youngest years in faithful service to serve our country. The youngest years can not be replaced – ever! {:-(}

    • CHARLES NICKERSON says:

      Again we are getting the one act play from Obama, bend over, the last election a lot of the troops didn't get to vote because of OBAMA and the DEMOCRATS!!!!!!!!!

      • Old Soldier says:

        You and others blame the President and one political party for all our woes. As a longterm Republican (I voted Republican beginning with President Nixon) I must remind/instruct you about political truth: the President doesn't make laws…the Congress makes laws. The President doesn't author the annual budget….the Congress does and sends it to the President for final approval. Yes, he is responsible for the "President's Budget"…..but that is merely the initial kickoff of the budgetary cycle. He can disagree and provide his guidance/support for the budget, but he doesn't sit in a coat closet and build the final approvals alone. You can't blame the President (ANY President!) for everything. That's like blaming the Division Commander for every single bad thing that happens in a Division. In many ways there are direct correlations between the Presidency and military organization…other than obvious things like in the military, the CO is responsible for everything in his command and he doesn't have to get approval from his staff to make a decision. He should listen to his staff (like the President should listen to and work with Congress), but can override the staff if he so desires. Outside the Veto process, the president can't override Congress. And if you will open your eyes and minds, you will note there are TWO parties in Congress…the Democrats and the Republicans. Democrats control the Senate right now, while the Republicans control the House. Both parties conspired to build up debt to these levels. Not one party and/or the President. So stop demonizing the President and just the Democrats. Be fair, honest, and intelligence! It would do us all some good. It would also make you sound more intelligent. Soldier On!

        • Democrats Suck says:

          Thanks for your lesson, BUT ITS BULLSHIT! Obama has placed his men/women in positions to get his agenda done and that agenda is to screw the military!

    • Old Soldier says:

      If you read the article, you would have noted old, retired soldiers would be grandfathered…as in our retirements would continue as-is. Will that hold true? Likely, as there are too many votes tied up by retired military. Of course, if we soldiers are as altruistic and dedicated to the USA as bloggers state, we would stand ready to accept negative impacts along with other Americans. Everyone will have to share the burden if we're to improve the economy, pull ourselves out of strangling debt, and safeguard America. I don't WANT my retirement cut, but I can accept some hits to pull America out of the hole the state and federal governments dug for us. I served 29 years and went through tough economic times…I'm not interested in losing the pay I earned through service, injury, metal rolling around inside my body, but I chose to live that life for the Nation and fellow citizens. No one here served involuntarily…except for some draftees….and that was only prior to their first re-up decision. So suck it up and Soldier on!

      • Soilder on? Sounds like your playing like a car salesman…you don’t mind losing some of your benfits…good for you. As for myself and many others….retired military….20 years of honorable service….I am tired of seeing our benifits eroded by a bunch of congressional millionares for whom many have never worn the uniform. Let’s see how the proposed cola changes effect your overall retirement pay so you can help fix the congressional misgivings and save our Nation. As for me…I’m prepared to fight to keep the benfits that I have. Its a total embarrasment. Our elected officials need a huge wakeup call from our veteran community. It was our elected officials whom over the years have gotten our beloved USA into this huge fiscal mess. It was not caused by our sailors…airmen….soliders…and marines

  3. This is what we get when you put a liberal crony in charge of the CIA now the DOD.I encourage everyone to leave the Armed Forces.

  4. retiredvietvet says:

    How come congress never looks at their retirement? Serve 1 2-6 year term, and you get full retirement with full medical in Congress or the Senate! They call this fair?

    • They don't call it fair, and they don't do it. Congress is under FERS and FEHBP, same as our Civil Service brethren. As them about the benefits, but it's actually less than ours.

    • NavAirDave says:

      And they don't come under fire from hostile forces! They sit in air conditioned comfort! It's really a tough job, just ask them, the deserve all the benefits they get! Rich bas_____!

    • Since we have all the guns and all the ammo, I say we need to turn our guns on those fools and tell them how WE want the budget balanced!

    • L. Cuthrell says:

      To cut service peronal is not good. My husband was in his late forties when he retired. At that age its not easy to get a job. Let the congress and even the president start with their benefits first. I think we have a bunch of self s erving people in our government. Lets get them out. lets make changes to their benefits before making changes to the ones that are doing the work.

  5. angrymilguy says:

    Here's an idea, how about Congress and Presidential members pass a bill that equates their retirement and medical benefits to the same as other government employee's (Military for example). They are paid by the U.S. Government, right? Makes sense to me that they should be subjected to the same changes that they are recommending for us!

    • Congress has the same retirement and health benefits as all other civilian federal employees. Look it up

      • John Jones says:

        I think you are wrong as far as Congress’ retirement system. They are not required to work 20 or more years to retire. They can leave their money in their account, and when they reach retirement age start drawing a retirement. Also, it is much better then those we in the military and CS receive. Their requirement increases much faster then our’s.

      • No way! There is no civi;ian employee who can retire after a 4-6 year employment stretch and draw full pay and free medical for the rest of their lives. YOU give us the specs, please!!

        • Nor can Congress. They are under FERS, and after 5 years, they are vested (same as the Civil Service), and can collect 8.5% of their final 3 years base pay at age 62. After 20 years, they can collect 34% of their base pay at age 60.

          If you got to the Senate website, they have a CRS (Congressional Research Service) report that lays it all out. For retirement & health care, Congressmen are just more Federal Civil Servants.

    • They did, in 1946, when they put themselves under CSRS (then the Civil Service Retirement System). They updated it in 1984 when they created the Federal Employees Retirement System, putting themselves under both that and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. Oh, and they pay into Social Security, same as all of us.

      • retiree-wannabee says:

        So when YOU retired – did you take all your office furnishings, etc., with you? I don't expect to take a stapler home with me (after 23 years, a 5 years of unaccompanied tours, and a combat tour in Baghdad in 2006), not just a protected tour in DC where I got to fly home all the time (and not take leave on the weekends/holidays). So – I guess it IS just a little different for them.

    • Add onto that ALL the politicians are already rich in their own right.I consider the US politicians just like the Royals in various countries..Mooching off the backs of the WORKING taxpayers (just like the lazy folks that refuse to get off their fannies to do work of any kind). LOOK at things like this: In a few more years, the old people (who have already worked and paid their share of taxes), and the middle class folks that are working (and paying their share of taxes)..Will be about gone..passing away one by one. WITHout the WORKING taxpayers to pay into the federal pot..THEN what? You think the rich people (including politicians) are gonna get off their fannies and help the lazies of the country? LOL..Heck, they be all worried about having to give up their monies..FOLKS of the USA better get prepared..YOUR mess created by the modern day folks..is just round the corner..You folks gonna have to deal with what you all created..

  6. 401k=Draft

  7. sickoftheidiots says:

    Somebody should put the congress on the front line and let them stand watch when we all leave the service. they have a sold the military out for a quick fix for individuals who value profit before service.

  8. The TSP program isn't new it has existed for over 10 years now and been available for any servicemember to contribute to a tax-deferred account that can only be withdrawn at 59 years of age. It is the current option for those who don't plan on being "lifers" in the military. Military service also transfers into civil service (a little complicated topic but it can be done) for their retirement system. Also, the GI Bill is what most folks sign up for anyways-which they will leave the service with. Plus they are considered veterans for whatever perks that may bring as well. They get all that even after only completing one enlistment. So the statement that current members leave the service with nothing is flat-out incorrect. The DBB's deliberate overlooking of this and attempt to sell the newly anointed SECDEF on their plan (who is so new he doesn't know any better) invalidates the whole proposal as FALSE. SECDEF is mirroring what has been told to him by the board in this article-which constitutes a bad sell by the DBB and they should be fired for attempting to defraud current troops of their retirement with a complete sham of a proposal.

    • Many 1 termers may go for college benifits, but lifers are there for the retirement. Without these guys you lose a massive experience base. That becomes more and more critical as we keep fielding more complex weapon systems.

    • 24 years of service and 13 moves. The reason to stay is the retirement and the additional benefits. I would not have stayed if it weren't for the retirement system and of course a sense of pride.

    • I agree with you about not blaiming the current Secretary of Defense for what Gates put in motion, however I think you're a little out of touch with the majority of people when it comes to doing away with the time tested military retirement system. Good arguement though, maybe you should go to Capital Hill and argue the "Obama Care issue" or further up North to sell ice to Eskimos.

  9. Randall, USA (ret.) says:

    For the liberal bashers, the DBB was created by Bush and Rummsfeld. You remember them, right, the guys who lied us into Iraq and over 4,000 of our comrades dead, and probably 100,000s more people-on a country which did not attack us.
    Obama said today he will not balance the budget on Veterans and the military. That of course remains to be seen: he did put more actual money in the VA than anyone since Truman another Democrat.
    I am 62: when I grew up in America, no decent man or woman would say that they shouldn't be taxed, that they resented being taxed. Now it is all one hears
    especially from the tea party and the current GOP: This kind of refusal to acknowledge basic civic responsibility (an example being proposed by Rumsfeld' Defense BBusines Board now in the Obama administration's camp is one such example of that moral vicioiusness.
    If all you wnat to do is holler about race and the repaeal of DADT, then you are a part of the problem-you and your children's futures are being stolen by a small minority of selfish, morally vicious people. We need to educate ourselves, elect real veterans and demand accountability.

    • You are fooled.. Quite acting like sheep. I am completely perplexed how you can even stand behind this? Please, provide me a 1 good reason why you support this? You say you are retired? Nice that you get to reap your benefits but nick the new kid wont get to. I am disgusted by anyone who has fallen into believing this thug.

      • Randall, USA (ret.) says:

        Your question isn't too clear, but here goes. I understand the issues behind the poitics and the hyper-bullshit. That is why I do stand behind my words. You haven't given me one fact to disparage my belief, not one. You don't like Obama–oK that's your right. I don't like much of what he's done either as he, like Bush is primarily of the top 5% of the wealthy's representative on too many issues. Again, we have to see if his actions match his words: if past is prologue, he might just let the DBB and Tea Party/GOP establishment have its way and then I will have to say, 'Well Obama lied again.' ANd I will say it.
        You seem far too interested in bashing me and Obama: Do you have any constructive things to say on how we might STOP the bean counters from destroying the military and the knowledge/experience base of the US military? I signed 3 petitions yesterday against this, and called both my senator's offices in D.C. Did you?

        • Randall, you are right on. It's a tough path we have, of trying to show the public how they are being screwed. Especially, when so much of the public is lost on their "One Source" media information (FNC and friends). It's all the same crap in Washington, and Obama is merely a continuation of the Bush Administration. No one is blaming Bush for Obama's actions…We are saying Obama is simply NO DIFFERENT.

    • justoneguy62 says:

      My retirement pay, for what it is worse, is nothing compared to those that are and were full timers. I don't believe in the pres., he is all talk and not action. The problem will come from Penatta, he will find ways to cut retirement and then say he had to do it. He should go to the front lines in Afghanistan and fight along with our brothers and sisters, without pay for a whole year. He might, I said might, respect what we do and are all about. I am not fooled or intimidated by liberal left. They are the problem and will never have solutions. I'm sure you can guess who I won't for in 2012.

      • The fool is the one who thinks this administration any different than the last. That fool will be Ailes own. 'You know Roger [Ailes] is crazy,' Rupert Murdoch told a colleague. 'He really believes that stuff.'

    • Your message is a Joke Randall! The first 4 words in your mesage give you away for what you are. Then you turn around and get defensive. You have been exspoused for what you are…….Quit patting yourself on the back also, lots of folks contact their senators and other agencies to voice thier concerns. 25 year Vet here……

      • Get off your One Source media and look at the raw data (which contradicts all your politics). Obama's policies have been no departure from Bush policies. Randall is actually right on, liberal or not. It's a shame to have a simple word to use as an excuse for dismissal. "1+1=2" regardless of who says it. Raw data my friend. Don't hide from it.

      • 'You know Roger [Ailes] is crazy,' Rupert Murdoch told a colleague. 'He really believes that stuff.'

    • Randall you are full of crap about the DEMS and at best just uninformed!! Go get back in your hole until you educate yourself, I spent 22 years in the USN and DADT needs to be in place. Race has never been an issue for me or the majority of the servicemembers I served with. During the 22 years I served the only political party I served under, the Republicans, were the ones that looked after the military. If it were not for President Reagan the military would had still been in the DARK AGES so crawl back into you hole.

      • Interesting comment, yet catastrophically uninformed. Those Republican years saw the most proposals to do away with vet benefits than you could ever want to admit. Bush vetoed many vet benefits increases during his years, and the Vets medical benefit improvements are actually attributed to a Democrat, Jim Webb. You bit the hand that feeds you because of an association you feel non-retractable. You believe that military = Republican. That's not only unprofessional (military is defined by being separated from politics), it is completely against everything we in the military stand for. Shame on your comment. You should know better.

    • Concerned Colonel says:

      Randall – Your statement that Tea Party members don't want to pay taxes is just plain FALSE! The worst part of your post is the fact that I know you know it's FALSE. That says more about you than it does about members of the Tea Party. Why should anyone believe anything you say, when you lie right in the beginning of your post? The truth is Tea Party members want fiscal responsibility… That's a lot different than not wanting to pay taxes.

      • They should believe Randall because what he says jives well with all of the raw data. It's not that the Tea Party themselves don't want to pay taxes, it is that they signed a letter to Grover Norquist (president of Americans for Tax Reform and largest influence of the GOP) promising to never vote for any legislation which would increase revenues from taxes. Also to never vote for any legislation which allows new revenues from taxes to pay down the deficit. Please ask for evidence. I'm waiting and ready for that. "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub" Grover Norquist. "Government" in this case, is America.

    • this is not about race. but you must be blind and not hear very good. We have a some people who looks at the record. And dont give a hoot about the color of their skin.

    • The argument isn't about being taxed…it's about being taxed for wasted and excessively wasteful spending on programs that give zero return on the "investment."

  10. The Defense Business Board doesn't seem to understand the backbone of the military system is the NCOs and Officers that stay in and maintain the best military in the world. For the troops that join for one or two enlistments they never intended to be career military. Many join primarily for service, adventure, job skills, education but retirement was a tertiary after thought. Many in the Marines, Army and to a lesser extent Navy and Air Force don't intend on accomplishing a 20 year service. It's not what everyone wants to do for that length of time. It's physically hard, dangerous, and can ruin marriages and relationships, did I mention dangerous?. As mentioned by others, people that leave the military after a few years still get an incredible GI Bill package which is essentially a four year scholarship to a state university in it's current form. I would argue that for those that intend to pursue a university degree the GI Bill might be worth more than their salary for a E1-E4 for 4 years. Members that fail to reach 20 years and go into a GS job can buy into the Federal Employee System by paying back 3% of their basic pay for each year of FERS. So some service time can transferred into the GS civilian side but only if you know how. I am so weary of the DOD trying to "improve" the retirement system. If they want to improve it, then they should simply give us a standard TSP match like GS employees already have and leave the 20 year systems alone. Currently our military TSP is only contributed by the member's own money with no matching contributions what so ever from the military. They expect us to do fine with our retirement at 20 so TSP match is not a benefit for the military. This is the system we were given. Now they point out that the system is not portable for those that leave before 20, they should of thought of that before TSP match was denied to the military members. Does it make any sense that GS employees get TSP match and 1% retirement for each year they work and the military doesn't get TSP match. When a military member retires at 20 years, you get 50% of your base pay, which is about 35% of your total pay. Only 17% of military ever make it past 20 years, so what is the problem. The military doesn't make it easy to reach 20 years. We get downsized, forceshaped at will, fit tested every six months, deployed, blown up, then medically boarded, etc. Compare that to a GS employee who does 30 years, they'll get 30% of their entire salary and a very sizable TSP account due to TSP matching. TSP matching is a huge benefit that military members are denied. When I put 2000 into TSP, my growth each year is a dismal 5-7% compared to my wife who puts 2000 and it's matched with 2000, which is a 100% return. No diversified funds come close to 100% returns. Before we touch military retirement we need to look at the much bigger FERS benefit system which is draining the federal government more than any military retirement. Since it's an election year, I doubt that will happen since every FERS employee is also a voting citizen. I am perplexed that our own Sec of Defense is so willing to entertain retirement reform when this generation of military career officers and NCOs have already endured 10 years of war. Now you want to change the terms of retirement. I think the members of the military have performed admirably our leadership should have the strength to not cave to budget hawks. His answers to all these DBB studies should be to add TSP match and probably not pay pensions until 59 for new recruits. This way new recruits know exactly what they are signing up for and current members don't leave in droves.

    • AR Catleman says:

      Be careful what you ask for. Civilian employers match employee 401K contributions only up to a certain percentage and probably also to particular brokerage. Furthermore, the military retirement system was never meant to be portable/ payable to those with less than 20yrs. The Navy used to have en exception (another story in itself), but that went away in the early 70's. Of 100 people, 17 will retire, but consider this, by 10 yrs, 50 people remain and it is this group that is looked at for 20+ yr retention. Finally, your civil service employee is represented by a union which equates to re-election money.

      • Being a Civil Service employee…I can make the statement accurately. The “Unions” that represent CSEs are not your run of the mill “Unions”. They are Federal Unions, no power to strike, no way to negotiate for more money, and always cover the ones that do wrong…they are of no use to employees that stay on the straight and narrow.

        The US Govt(or DFAS) matches my TSP contributions up to 5%, just as most 401K plans do. If you are smart with your money(and if I had been when I was Active Duty) you can actually make a pretty nice nest egg when you exit service. It is more than what most AD troops get when they get out…I mean come on…a plastic red and gold lapel pin and a DD214?

      • I am not suggesting that the military only get TSP match. I said we should be getting TSP match and the 20 year pension system. Perhaps offset by a pension that can not be collected until 59 for the new recruits. A 5% match would encourage members to also invest their own money at the same time. So many military members ignore the TSP system right now because they don't see the benefit. Most of my young troops know about TSP but have not created an account.

      • Very interesting letter. I have already contacted my Senator asking that they not screw with the retirement program as it effects any current member of the military force. I served for 26 yrs and from the day I first enlisted, retirement pay was not a consideration when I decided to stay in the military. Had it been, I would have separated after completing one enlistment. While I was in the military, my pay and allouwances never equaled as much as 50% of what civilians were receiving for doing the same job. Actually, when I retired, a civilian doing my job was making 100% more than I was without serving in some of the places I had to go. I enjoyed military life and it was my primary emphasis for staying in I have to admit that near the end of my military career I did consider income and outgo and it was very clear that I would need another job so I got one. Unfortunitely I was too old to work in the skill I acquired in the military (something I should have known ahead of time, My Dumb) but we made out ok and were able to retire completely when we reached SS age.

    • sgt foster says:

      i did 23.5 yrs,i don't collect till 59 because half was active,half was reserve,i think if you do 20 yrs ,you should collect immediately,also i'm a fers employee and had to pay$5700 dollars to buy my time back

    • Mcfly, you must be from the future, You wrote an intelligent lucid post. Thanks

    • James Vinson says:

      Amen;
      : you said a lot, much of what i was not aware of, however i can say that i
      am increasingly concerned about retirements at all levels. i am an Airforce/Army Reserve Retireee, U.S. Postal Retireee with a combined 50 some odd yrs. of combined creditable service, eleven yrs. of retired creditable employment with the Pa. school district. and i am concerned that all that i have worked hard for will be on the chopping block by insensitive beauracrats in washington.

    • I served for 21 years I did it with pride, I was taught duty, honor, country and served by thoose words and the meaning of them. my retirement check is 1,700 a month free and clear after social security, tricare, spouse benefits if I pass away and she was here the whole time ( hell she should get a retirement) how much is a senators or represenative? getting after 2 terms???? I was a Drill Seargent, Served in 5 tours of Combat/ Peace Keeping. spent 9 years and 7 months away from my family. my body was repaired 5 times when I was in ankle, shoulder, hernia, 2 x Knee ALL servicre related. Since I have retired Neck 3 vertebre removed and metal plates and screws and they want to revamp my retirement now and they dont want to up it they want to lower it . I would serve again but it would not be a blank contract cause that is what it is. And for a congressman or woman to fly into a combat zone and spend a day or 2 is not serving in Combat…………

  11. I do hope that Congress has the guts to step up and stop this.

    • Randall, USA (ret.) says:

      With respect, a large number of congressmen/women will jump at the chance to 'save money.'
      If this does come to a vote, then please count them: buy you a cup of coffee if the mailn proponents aren't the new GOP and the Tea Party.

  12. retired05 says:

    If and if they go to the 401K, does this mean the military will go to 9 to 5 jobs anf no over time?????????????

    • justoneguuy62 says:

      more like losing your ass on wall street when they go belly up, look at Enron, they sure saw that my wife and I lost a bundle, vote no for a 401k, wrong all the way around

      • Harvey McNeil says:

        This 401k jive sounds like a set-up to me. Who will manage these funds???? When the market go south what is a military member do for his retirement???? Why don't our senators and congressmen thats planing this jive change their retirement to a 401k, and let the market go south on them. I had the market go south one with my 401k, and took a big lost, and I was mangering my own money. What about the young people that don't know how to do this????

        Retiree for the troops

    • Harvey McNeil says:

      With a 401k who is going to pay for it??? How much will the military put in and how will the service member put in??? Will the funds be matching or not??? The military can't afford to have any more funds remove their check. With Tricare, life insurance, dental and other experence, what the lower enlisted have to live off?????? How many of our military is now on food stamps??? It will be more if they have to pay out any more money.

      "Retiree for our Military"

  13. This is one of those situations that is bad but good all in the same token. I would have liked it if I already had my “time” paid for when I got off of active duty. If I had not went to work for the federal government after…I wouldnt have reaped any benefits from my 6 years of service in any other job or career path. I had to “buy back” my 6 years when I went to work for the government for it to count towards my FERS retirement. FERS is a joke as it stands, but TSP(as long as you actively contribute to it) is a very good system and is renowned in the world of 401Ks by the financial analysts. At least that way a member of the armed forces comes out with something…instead of nothing when they dont opt to make it to “lifer” status.

  14. One of the biggest "urban myths" about congress and "their pension" is this "if they just serve one term they get a pension for life" some will even go so far to say "just one day" and that pension is equal to what they made as a member of congress and they start collecting it as soon as they leave office. IE some 25 yo gets elected to the house and then gets beat, does not run again or has to resign for tweeting pictures of him/herself starts collecting 172K right away at age 27 and does for life. Members of Congress are in FERS just like any other GS employee that has been the case for decades now. You must be in FERS 5 years or you get nothing so yes one term in the Senate is enough, however you do NOT collect right away you must wait until age 57-59 something like that, if you serve something like 30 years it can be down to 55 but unless you were 50 when elected you WILL wait a while. secondly the amount you get is based on the number of years served, if you only serve 6 years you will not get much, no where near that 172K.

    • They collect at age 62. If they serve 20 years, they can collect at age 50. If they serve 25 years, they can collect at any age (although, since they can't start serving in Congress until age 25, per the Constitution, that's pretty much meaningless).

      Oh, and at 5 years, they've earned a whopping 8.5% of their final 3 years base pay.

      • 8.5% of 175,000 is over $1200 a month. That’s what most retired military folks get per month for 20 years of service. So what’s your point a Congress person’s 5 years of service is equal to a military person’s 20 years of service? I’m lost here…The point is the military volunteers deserve more and if Congress wants to cut something for the budget they out to look at themselves!

  15. Changes might be justified but not in the vein of what has been proposed to date. Current thinking asking for changes comes from a purely civilian point of view and would turn American military into civilians in uniform. If we adopt this we will be signaling to our citizens and the world that we no longer care to be a world power or one who intends to maintain a real deterrent power to attack. Our military will become just another expensive federal job security and social experiment program. The ability to join for a few years and leave with a final payment or partial pension at the expense of careerists will destroy loyalty and encourage part time opportunists. The day of the professional military man whose motivation is country and corps without regard for pay and benefits will be completely dead. It will no longer be a way of life, an expression of patriotism and sacrifice and will become an overdecorated, self absorbed federal empire. Call them GS rankings and drop the military rank.

    • Randall, USA (ret.) says:

      I agree with many of the comments of USMC6591. The DBB and the business people are trying to shoe-horn the military into the 'business model' is really proceeding from a false analogy. Being a soldier is not like being a 9-5er.
      Being a soldier is something you love and would give your life if necessary to do.
      But this is only minimally 'accidently'- a social experiment: it is primarily an economic-ideological attempt by people many if not most who have never served.
      By the way, if the readers of this blog didn't know, there is resentment
      that many have earned retirement and benefits. An example occurred earlier in a response to my initial posting.

  16. Carl Bledsoe says:

    I spent 26 years in the Air Force and it wasnt a Free Ride. I would invite any Non Serving Congress to walk in my shoes for 26 years. I didnt do it for the Low Pay or countless deployments. I did it because of my sense of Duty to Country. My son hs been in the Air Force for 10 years and now they want to change his contract. I work in the private sector now and believe me a 401K is no retirement guarantee. Ive lost over $50,000 in the past four years. 401K guarenteed retirement income Yeah Right!!! Obamas talk of Spreading the Wealth is leading us to a Socialist State. Hmmmm 401K retirement, does that mean the military can organize and have Union Representation and Collectjve Barganing? I think not.

    Nough said.

    Take all your Obama, Penetta and Pelosi Socialist ideas and stick them in your ear.

    Im proud that I served

    • Your anger is misdirected. It's the Republicans that want to "privatize" everything, including Social Security. 401ks do not guarantee retirement income or anything for that matter. Instead, it makes you entirely responible for your financial future, even though the stock market is essentially high risk roulette despite claims that it has historical rates of returns of 7.5%. When your 401k tumbles, please remember that this is the Republican agenda.

      • Yes sir….And for the record …I t was a Repub who put us there and also who gave away the same amount while walking out the door.750 billion clams to his rich wealthy buds….Send it to Texas.

    • Gunfighter3 says:

      As a teenager taking a "civics" class, I found out my father had never registered to vote. I teased him about it until he registered and voted in the next election. He came home, tossed the little flag showing he had voted, then said, "There, damn it, I voted and I still think they are ALL a bunch of crooks"! Well, Bob Dylan, you are wrong. "The times they are NOT a changing".

  17. CSM Retired says:

    Gates was the absolute worse SEC DEF we have had since WWII. Now, we have Panetta who will probably be the same. Gates openly said he didn't care for military retirees and he didn't think it was DODs responsibility to take care of them. Panetta may think the same but he won't openly say. I suggest moving all Military Retiree benefits out of DOD and put them in another agency that cares for retirees.

  18. Veteran for a Cause says:

    We must push our Congress to move all Military Retiree benefits out of DOD. Every time the budget needs cutting, Retiree benefits are first cut. Move retiree benefits out of DOD and put them in an agency that cares.

    • You find an agency who really cares about military retirees, and I will kiss your foot. What they should do is do away with the vol. force and go back to the draft. That way, they won't allow dependents, and all of the complaints that go on. I served 22 years, retired in 1981, what I was paid back then would make a baby cry. The allowances the military receive today, with the same grade, is $20990 per year. My whole pay and allowances wasn't that much. Yea, I know the cost of living, but sorry, it hasn't gone up that much.

    • Again, Where?????

  19. Steve Neuenschwander says:

    If you actually study the proposal there is good and bad. The bad being do not tie it to a 401K rather to an annuity or a mutual fund that will revert into an annuity when you retire. I have both a military retirement and an annuity from other sources. Both principal amounts are about the same monthly income. My annuity just passed my military retirement pay. You only have to put in about $300,000 to get the same return. What is nice about an annuity is that it does not matter if your principal balance falls, you are still guaranteed the locked in monthly income for life. Every year they reevaluate your principal and the amount of interest it has earned. If it increases by 4 per cent you get a bump up on your monthly payment and that is then locked in for life. I don't know of any people who were career FERS that did not retire with at least $500,000 and some I know had more than a million dollars in their retirement account to retire. This is far better than the current military retirement system. The proposed delay until a certain age would not work and I think it would be scratched because it is not going to encourage career minded to stay the 20 or 30 years. It is a benefit to those that serve one or two terms and then exit because they have a built in retirement income for life in stead of walking out with nothing.

    • I agree with Steve completely. After retiring from the military (I was drafted in 71 and stayed until 1999) I worked as a contractor and had a matching 401K (up to 5%) and was able to sock away over $100k in 5 years just from my income. I ended up being forced to take a GS job at the GS15 level just to keep doing what I was doing at the time as a contractor (I am a research scientist) and refused to contribute to the TSP or FERS retirement system; however, the Army still contributed 1% of my salary into the TSP mandatorilly. I bailed from the civil service at the earliest opportunity as it is such a lousy system to work under. The TSP is not a good benefit and is not an alternative to managing your retirement money yourself. But, in the meantime we moved all of our various 401k's over to Scottrade and have been trading stocks with them and have nearly doubled the amount in 3 years so it is far wiser to manage the money yourself. I also had a SEP-IRA and my wife has 2 401k's herself plus our brokerage accounts. The TSP or 401k proposal is an obvious ploy to make the banks richer and I encourage anyone who is capable to get their money out of these kinds of managed accounts and into something they can manage themselves. If you look very closely at your 401k accounts you will see you are paying an annual management fee plus a percentage to the various accounts so your return is reduced a lot for others benefit. It is an easy money maker for the banks and brokerage houses and they lose nothing by gambling with your money. At least if we make bad decisions we can accept the consequences ourselves. Most TSP accounts lost a minimum of 30% after 2008 but we have made nearly 200% on our stocks so which is a better return on your investment? My wife actually quit her job working for the FAA as she was earning twice as much per day doing day trading than she was earning on her actual job. My point is that it is better to be able to manage your retirement funds yourself rather than someone else who is being paid by you to do it but has no personal involvement in the risks. The one things that resulted from the government's insistence in everyone participating in the 401k scheme was a massive infusion of cash into the stock market and it appears that once again they are looking for another source of funds to do the same again but with military retirement instead. Don't forget also the tax burden of taking out your money from the 401k's (or TSP) once you begin when you are 591/2 years old. That is a heavy burden to accept as it is a 2 fold increase. First is the tax itself and second it increases your income and thus may also increase your overall tax rate. Depending on your income at the time this may be a big burden to suffer and is in a way another gotcha that lies in wait for you when you can least afford it.

    • Yes, but then you would require peopleo be responsible to themselves and their retirement. Are you kidding? Sarcasm here!

    • I had a mutual funds, and when the market went south so did my funds no money is free.

      retired 87

  20. SFC Airborne says:

    here we go again, come on american, who you going to call? national guard, reserve, and active duty to fight wars started by someone setting behind a desk. when i enlisted over 35 years ago, the MEPS, told us you'll be taken care of the rest of you life and even have a place to get buried. the va sucks, they cant figure out who is buried where at arlington and now they want to take my retirement pay, tri-care, and cost of living! so put me back on active duty and let me fight. dont push us aside, remember what has happened after evey war Armerica has fought, they take those vets and get rid of them, down size and close every base, everywhere, what happens when the war starts, you got a bunch of stupid asses who cant find the barrel on a weapon if it was sticking up their asses…i did 25 plus years for what? to have some desk rider tell me i might be grandfathers….grandfather some of those congressman and other jerks on capital hill, then see who cries the most.
    nuff said….

  21. stlthkot88 says:

    This is really just sad. This president did a fantastic job at fooling (scaring) everyone into believing that a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package was necessary to get the country back on track. It has done nothing more than make things worse because it was improperly distributed and accounted for. Now we're in the hole and its back to scare tactics again. Go after military compensation???? Of all the things that could be cut he goes after those who protect us and our way of life? Why not look at all of the waste and abuse in the welfare/foodstamps program? As far as sheer numbers go, you could focus on that and get the same (or better) effect than sticking it to honest hardworking volunteers who are willing to put their lives on the line. Anyone who can't see that this president is willing to slap our military in the face rather than upset his voters who he shuttled to the polls. President or not, this guy is scum of the earth.

  22. This is not the 50's, 60's or 70's. People are a hell of a lot smarter in this day and age and wise to the ways of Congress. If Congress really thinks that they'll get away with instituting a 401K form of retirement for the military, they had damn well better think twice. There's nothing worse then a bunch of pissed-off active duty military personnel that have their contracts changed AFTER being sworn in and on duty.

    • Sorry Spectre, we're much dumber now than we were back then.

    • So you're saying everybody, including military folks, in the past decades were STUPID!!?? Sure, there was no internet, twitter, facebook, etc., but people knew how to read. And, believe it or not, they paid attention to all the same things Congress and the president did then as they do now.

  23. Guys complaining on this forum is all fine and well but then put it in a letter or email to your congressman, Senator, Panetta and the President. be respectful but tell them how you feel. I find it gut-wrenching to read this stuff every day and like you don't believe the propaganda. Sad to say, but I'm honestly sorry I wasted my years in the military after hearing that this raw deal is even being considered. What's worse is them not stepping up and telling us what will happen. They already have decided believe me.

    • Andrew Heil says:

      In real life that would work. I retired 1 Feb 2011, I have sent numerous letters to the Congressmen and Senators in my area. What have I received? An auto-reply. They are the ones who need to be removed. Election time is coming, don't elect those who have screwed us over.

      • I agree they do not read nor answer any correspondence not associated with a donation to their re-election fund. Nothing else matters to them any more. I also have never received an actual replay and the auto-replies usually have nothing to do with my actual subject. It is insulting at best.

  24. INF DOG SOLDIER says:

    Come 2012 VOTE VOTE VOTE and get rid of this lying corrupt administration.

    • …and vote in what? The other one with unsound economic ideology? Cut taxes and see the end of this government, especially VA Benefits (entitlements, in the eyes of Tea Partiers like Bachman). I agree this administration is useless. But the other chjoice will have us running even faster in the wrong direction. Those are not OUR interests they represent. Trust a soldier telling you this if no one else.

    • LOL..you would have to fire or vote out of office, every stinking politicians, cop, DA..etc..GUT the entire structure and start over..Problem is, everyone now days are so spoiled, greedy, corrupt, arrogant…there wouldnt be anyone decent, upright, honest..to pick from. I have to admit, alot of the older senior citizens figure …get rid of every politician,,,,Go back to the old ways of long ago..REVERT the power back to each individual state…Im all for that..

  25. The defense business board is just that. It's all business, they weren't asked to determine secondary and teritiary effects such intangibles as retention and what it can impact in the future. Do you think that you will keep current retention levels when new troops are instructed that there is amandatory 401 type plan that they WILL put money into?

    But becaue this is a business board, they can't compare what we do to what a civilian does. How many are in life threatening jobs on a daily bases? Granted we all aren't on the line, but you get what I'm saying.

    They institute this nonsense, and the professional volunteer force will disapear, only to mandate a draft. Maybe that should be dona as less that 1% of the population serves in the military. Share the wealth, then share the burden.

  26. Before congress destroys the current military retirement system.
    The should set the example and reduce their retirement and health care system.
    In fact congress made up of millionaires does not really need tax payer funded retirement and health care.
    Since they get tax free money and other favors from the lobbyist . In fact they make so much tax free money by letting the lobbyist write the laws they should pay us taxpayers…..

  27. Hawkfeather says:

    If war or armed conflict breaks out, perhaps we should Draft the Congress first. That would slow down any iffy conflicts keep their salaries in check
    Per my father a wwI combat veteran.

  28. Steven L. Van Allen says:

    I find it offensive that someone would want to cut my benefis. I served 24+ years. Your commander in chief, has not served one day. I doubt panetta has either. What gives them the right?

  29. Changing the retirement to a 401K type system will destroy the military. Our strength is from having a professional officer and nco corp that passes down the knowledge and skills gain over long years of service. The changes they want to make would reduce military professionals to the level of employees at wal mart. Who would spend 20 years of their life in a job where they must go to to far off places away from their families and comforts of home on short notice. A job where they must face dangerous situations on a regular basis, a job where you might be expected to work 20 hours or more without rest eating MREs, if your lucky, spending hours outdoors exposed to the elements and all the other risks of military life. Changing the retirement system would greatly endanger our national security. The next idea they will have to save money would be to subcontract out the military.

  30. BRUCETHOMPSON says:

    THIS IS HOW TO HOW TO CUT THE BUDGET IN THE WHITE HOUSE!
    WHEN CONGRESS OR SENATER'S LEAVE THE WHITE HOUSE THEY SHOULD NOT RECEIVE A RETIREMENT PAY, OR MEDICAL BENEITS.
    THEY SHOULD HAVE TO WORK 20 YEARS OR BETTER, LIKE WE DO!
    WE WORK FOR THE MILITARY OR CIVILIAN JOB FOR MORE THAN 20 YEAR'S.
    AND THEN AT THE AGE OF 60'S YOU MIGHT GET SOMETHING! ARMY RESERVE HAVE DO 20 YEARS,AND 60 YEARS OF TO GET THE RETIREMNT, THEY LOWER THE AGE TO 55.

  31. James Harvey says:

    I served 20 years and now still working for Uncle Sam, but I can’t say that anymore. We are willing to sacrifice our lives for this country but for what. Think about the cost, our men and women are dying so we can live free. Well cut your own budget, wait you guys don’t want to do that, so keep your retirement but cut the military. That hurt. Look here is a thought for every worker here in the US has to pay $100.00 by the end of the year, that’s about $8.00 a month. Hold the money for two years, then look at the budget .

  32. lonhkirbytx007 says:

    it never amazes me that our president is so stupid to take away the benefits of the military retiree's future and present. I know this Navy retired sailor will write letters and let all the congress man and senators from the state of texas. to cut the reirement is stupid stupid stupid.

    • Try this one: "Bachmann plan would cut veterans benefits" http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/01/military-mi

    • I do not understand why you are blaming the president. He has not signed one bill into law that detracts from veterans benefits. Don't buy the hipe. If you research the matter the national debt has been increased more under republican administrations. Recall, it was the Bush administration that gave us Iraq and Afganistan and he did not pay for either. In fact, he cut taxes. Now, the republicans are demanding the debt and deficit be dealth with. Where were they then..?

  33. The President wants to run the Military like the Post Office. They want to do away with veteran employee's and run it with TE's(Temporary Employee's) and Casuals. Pay very few benefits and run them off when they don't meet their standards.

  34. retired sfc says:

    ifa soldier enlisted he should be consider a regular uniform soldier. if a soldier is in a guard or rev unit he sould be considered a draftee. only the ones who enlist should be given the right to reup for additional service time. those who our guardsmen and re should be denified continueing service. in other words go back to the draft

  35. I, state my full name, do solemly swear to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic. That was the oath I took several times of my own free will and fully understand the values as well as all of the aspects of this phrase. America is now facing the domestic portion – congress and the elected officials that we put in office. What other nations could not do militarily, our elected officials have done – bring America to her knees. Sit idly by and make your snide comments about these officials, but what will you actually do. Nothing will be the common action, while others will exercise their rights and cast each one of them to the curb, change all laws that they enacted to bring us down, and resurect the American spirit. Remember 9/11 – I saw the plane crash into the Pentagon and knew the world changed and Americans came together. it's 10 years later and we need to come together to change our world.

  36. Bill Erbis says:

    Lots of people are being brain-washed into believing that the President and the Democrats are all to blame for everything that went wrong since time began! Lets face some Military facts. Whatever happened to Bush's military records? Somehow they mysteriously disappeared! How did he wind up politically campaigning in Texas while in the Guard? Why didn't he serve on active duty during RVN. Now as for Cheny (the man who couldn't shoot straight) almost taking off his friends face with Buck Shot. The same Cheny who received about 7 count them 7 student deferments . The man who said "I had more important things to do" more important than serving your Country? Now you all start with Panetta, I thought I remember Gates talking about cuting our benefits? Gates was a good man but funny he just happened to be a Republican! As for Obama taking us down the tube, funny I remember Bush spending Clinton's budget surplus into oblivion. Isn't it funny how Republicans seem to develop amnesia when they screw up! DOD wants to cut our Tri-Care and retirement but look how mush was blown in Afganistan 60 BILLON by shear incompetence alot of it going to the Taliban and make work projects, where their civilians were paid for work they used to do for nothing! Cheny was a vice president for a big company that soaked us and ripped us off for $37.00 toilet seats! DOD needs to first get hold of their procurement section and wise them up. How about all the waste and fraud that exists in the defense industry? So next time you want to blame Obama and the Democrats take a long hard look at the facts and who is ripping us off!

  37. I want to re-post this comment from Randall (above). Most of you won't like it. However, what he says jives 100% of the raw data out there today, while contrasting with our mostly "One Source" media, which most military seem inclined to believe. For example, who knew that every (but 4) GOP members signed a promissory note to never vote for ANY legislation that will result in increased revenues to the government from taxes (including elimination of subsidies)? Who knew that these GOP also agreed to never let any increased revenues from taxes go to paying the deficit? Well, it's true. That letter was asked for by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
    "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub" Grover Norquist. "Government" in this case, is America. I know to believe this would be a significant emotional event for many in the military, who think the GOP is in constant support of the military. Think again. Go ahead, reply and tell me how "stupid" I am for believing raw data (not media interpreted). Move on and forget what I post. But Randall is right. Obama is just an appeaser and certainly no leader. But HE IS a continuation of the last Administration. There is at least a ton of information to prove that one. I understand. This stuff goes counter to Roger Ailes One Source media formula. Maybe the media is wrong? nawwwwww couldn't be, could it?

    As for VA benefits…why don't you check out what Bachman tried to do to that. Go on…keep voting against your interest for your "name brand" party. Good luck.

  38. Sorry kids…but this is right on!
    From Randall, USA:
    "…the DBB was created by Bush and Rummsfeld. You remember them, right, the guys who lied us into Iraq and over 4,000 of our comrades dead, and probably 100,000s more people-on a country which did not attack us.
    Obama said today he will not balance the budget on Veterans and the military. That of course remains to be seen: he did put more actual money in the VA than anyone since Truman another Democrat.
    I am 62: when I grew up in America, no decent man or woman would say that they shouldn't be taxed, that they resented being taxed. Now it is all one hears
    especially from the tea party and the current GOP: This kind of refusal to acknowledge basic civic responsibility (an example being proposed by Rumsfeld' Defense BBusines Board now in the Obama administration's camp is one such example of that moral vicioiusness.
    If all you wnat to do is holler about race and the repaeal of DADT, then you are a part of the problem-you and your children's futures are being stolen by a small minority of selfish, morally vicious people. We need to educate ourselves, elect real veterans and demand accountability."

  39. 'You know Roger [Ailes] is crazy,' Rupert Murdoch told a colleague. 'He really believes that stuff.'

    "Bachmann plan would cut veterans benefits" "Tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has unveiled a plan for cutting $400 billion in federal spending that includes freezing Veterans Affairs Department health care spending and cutting veterans’ disability benefits." http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/01/military-mi

  40. Will our congress, senate, vet orgs and the american people sit by and let this happen? Its time to stand up people. As a ret vet I don't want anyones hands on my earned benefits. Let's adjust the politicians retirement to match the militarys then we will really save money.

  41. Many people are commenting and angry without even knowing the facts and what they are disagreeing about. The very same people who have little faith in government managing their healthcare, retirement, and other benefits are now saying they prefer government-backed/govt-ran programs. Folks, you cannot have your cake and eat it too!! You want government to save money on every other program except yours…Government is giving you what you have always asked for: “…let me manage my own life, retirement, social security..” Government is empowering you!!! Is the issue really that this is a bad proposal, or is that because it’s a proposal being discussed under a Democratic admin and therefore it must be bad??

  42. I can never understand how on this earth that anyone can equate civilian service with military service. It has to be the people who really don't have a hint of a clue or those who just don't give a damn about the kind of service that military people have to give.

  43. I've been Retired since 1983 on $1100 a month. I am also fully retired and drawing Social Security. On the 1st of December I will loose money because I have to go on Medicare and pay for that monthly $109. My 401K from my civilian Job for over 28 years @ 15% input from my pay is almost gone because the Stock market has been so bad. But these Congressman and Senators and Presidents draw so much more money even though they are basically FIRED when not re-elected. The president only has to serve one four year term and he draw pay the rest of his life plus a multitude of perks $$$. There's something wrong with the system at the top. I was always taught that if something didn't work that was the boss that was responsible and at fault. So our elected officials need to fix the problem or quit and give up all entitlements.

  44. Of course, the answer is quite simple. No one join the military at all. No more re-enlistments or anything and see what that does. If we cannot get their attention directly then perhaps by voting indirectly by refusing to serve we will correct the problem. But, that cannot and will never happen. When they were discussing cutting military pay this year by 20% (and that is still on the table by the way) they were asked about the impact on recruitment and retention. The reply was that as long as unemployment is high there will be no problem getting recruits. It is in this case a buyers market and we have little to no power to influence their decisions. Basically we are at their mercy and they can do whatever they want. We voted them in and no they will do whatever they want to us. Basically, it makes no difference now which party you support as all decisions are going to end up the same and those of us who believed we were serving a larger cause are now finding that we were duped. Of course, I was drafted and had no choice other than to escape to Canada (which in retrospect would have been a better decision as they were all given amnesty) but it was my stupidity and blind loyalty to my country that convinced me to serve for 28 years. Now that I am an old man I see the folly of this support of my country.

  45. January 20,2013 – The end of an ERROR!

  46. RICKY, SSG RET says:

    Are we American, was this country founded by muslims, islamists why do others not American get better benifits than us. When many gave some many Americans gave ALL> If your not an American you have no buisness on this forum. If you dont like our constitution made by our forfathers then get the HELLOUT OF America.

  47. I THINK CONGRESS SHOULD BE SUBJECTED TO THE SAME CUTS IN PAY AND BENEFITS AS THE MILITARY. CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS SHOULD ALSO BE SUBJECTED TO THE SAME MEDICAL COVERAGE AS THE MILITARY OR THE OBAMA CARE PACKAGE THEY ARE SHOVING DOWN EVERYONE THROATS. WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO SET THEMSELVES ABOVE ANY OTHER HARD WORKING AMERICAN, AND ESPECIALLY A SOLDIER WHO PUTS THEIR LIVES ON THE LINES FAR MORE OFTEN THAN THEY DO. WHAT ARE THEY GODS?

  48. de oppresso libre says:

    I am an army officer with 24 years. I’ve PCS’d 16 times at the convenience of the USG to 9 US state-side bases and 2 foreign countries. Since 9/11 i’ve spent 68 months away from my wife and home. Of those 68 months, 48 were in hostile fire zones. 168 parachute jumps, ranger and special forces schools and life as a combat soldier takes its toll on a person’s body. 5 war deployments takes a toll on a person’s mind and body.

    The issue with eliminating my retirement pay isn’t just about me. I have to explain to my wife that the promised retirement isn’t going to happen.

    Yes, i’m a patriot, but when i’m all used up, how do I explain to the spouse who stood by me all those years? When my wife tells her work colleagues the stories of what I/we go through/went through in war and peace, they look at her like she is insane – either because they don’t believe her or because they do and can’t understand why she/I would stay in and serve. Our spouses spend much of their time embarrassed at the sheer level of sacrifice since 9/11.

    I don’t wish any ill will on anyone and want to stand with my fellow Americans. But I also want Secretary Panetta and Pres. Obama to remember, that when they were sleeping, I was on the front lines for more years than either have been in their current jobs. Don’t explain it to me, explain it to our wives. Thank you. de oppresso libre.

  49. Fuck with my retirement and you will see my military training in full metal jacket.

  50. Henry Hansen says:

    How about that COMMENTING PIOLICY. For anotherwise consertive bunch the interpretation of "socially acceptable, free from slander, personal attacks…." is pretty darn liberal, As retired officer with 22 years of service, I find many of the previous comments churlish and disrectful to say the least. I didn't serve my country to defend only those who agreed with me. It was to protect and defend every american citizen.

  51. Henry Hansen says:

    My typos are a constant burr in my pants.

  52. llinda mason says:

    I think they should leave retiree pay alone. They take away much more who they gonnna target then. They should start with curring their salary & their perks before raking away from other programs first. All they do is have parties, expensive lunches & huge expensive dinners & dancung, with our taxpayers money. They need to be put on the chopping block first and take at least 1/2 of all their salaries, they would be singing a different tune.

  53. 4 yrs…3 duty assignments and 2 tours-afgan and iraq…if this paaaes im out.

  54. seriously, why not offer early retirements? for those in the 15-20 yr range? i have 18 yrs and an E-8. I would gladly take the early retirement.

  55. It is very simple. Bring back the draft. Release all service members, and start from scratch. I mean after all, when deployed into a foreign country we have cooks hired to cook while those same positions are an enlisted job.

    Our military is caught in a political tug of war. I am so sorry that America has screwed this up. More money for less, and many more disabled vets and for what. They give away ptsd for going to basic now…….firing a weapon, in a foriegn country, because you were deprived 14 hours of sleep every day…The military was never easy, nor was it for everyone. But now so many are abusing it and it is costing us billions.

    • AMEN on DRAFT. They should of brought that back years ago. They should send these guys and gals that are in JAIL send them to the service they done that in the 60's and early 70's. That would get rids of lots of these guys that think they are all gun hoo let them get a taste of they military. See who is the big guy then. They would grow up and see what it take to be and man or woman realize what America stands for. Let them fight for our freedom.
      I was born and raised Marine married Marine who served in Korea. The NCO's do run the Armed Forces with our them you have nothing.
      I don't think a President should be voted in unless he has served in the SERVICE. ========Amen

  56. Juanita Reed says:

    I would like to know if as a wife has any benefit after my husband died for e work 4 years in the French Army.

  57. sally seals says:

    I think we need to send Sec Penneta to Afganastan for a year he might have a different perspective that is if he made it back alive.

  58. Dear Mr. President, if you are willing to invest millions of dollars a day on some Afgans' future, please continue to invest in mine. Thanks.

  59. Derek Schukow says:

    As an Army veteran having served 3 of my 15 years active and the rest as a reservist I will say that the day you are discharged all the perks of being a soldier including a combat veteran ceases to exist except the GI BIll. The next day after my official discharge to civilian life I learned a hard lesson, Active Duty was pretty darn good. As a no perks anymore and the GI BIll keeps changing yearly. So for all of you who say you leave the service and still gets some of the perks think again. The perks dry up fast and the GI Bill once used is gone. WE need to take care of our veterans and support a position that backs a 20-25 year of continue service with a confortable 50% of base pay retirement. We were on-call 24-7 for 20 years it is the least out country can do is let us retire early like the police and firefighters do.

  60. The Republicans will soon let undocumented aliens talke over the military and wont pay them anything