Servicemembers Oppose Retirement System Changes

A recent Fleet Reserve Association survey found that more than 80 percent of the 1,700 respondents strongly opposed proposals to “civilianize” the current military retirement system. In addition, more than 80 percent of the active duty and Reserve component respondents said they’d shorten their term of service if the retirement benefit were changed to reflect the recommendations made in the Defense Business Board’s “Modernizing the Military Retirement System” report.

According to FRA, respondents from the active duty, Reserve, retiree and veteran communities overwhelmingly predict that the DBB proposals would be bad for military recruiting and retention. More than 83 percent of participants believed fewer people would join the military and serve shorter terms if a 401(k)-type benefit were instituted. More than 89 percent believed delaying retirement benefits to until age 60 or 65 would have a similar effect on recruiting and retention.

FRA intends to share their survey results with members of the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee and its Senate counterpart, as well as with leaders within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security – ensuring these key decision-makers understand the enlisted perspective.

To learn more about FRA, visit

Let your voice be heard, contact you elected officials and tell them how you feel about the proposed changes to the current Military Retirement system.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, 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.

98 Comments on "Servicemembers Oppose Retirement System Changes"

  1. It makes me SO angry that they say- “the current system is unsustainable.” they’re just realizing this now?! Shouldn’t they have thought of this before They sent all our troops out to get shell shock and blown backs?! Where was all the planning in this? Heck yeah mil retirements is a “sacred cow”! You know why? it’s because the troops were PROMISED these conditions when they went out and gave all or almost all to save our necks, our peace and our country! If the politicians and money mongerers didn’t plan well they’ll need to just go ahead and pay for their mistakes, their oversight, lack of planning. Want to make things more like the corporate world? Good. That’s how it works in business. You pay for your mistakes and find a new inventive way to compensate for them. Good luck politicians and policy makers! Time to finally WORK and do your job now! The military did theirs!

  2. Why would anyone put up with 20 years of military BS. Then they would have to wait another 20 years for some undetermined pot of money. …….and maybe no medical along the way.
    There may be a few changes, but this entire concept is DOA.

  3. How can you "civillianize" the military? WHY would you? The whole premise is just WRONG!!

  4. Give to Wall Street and Bankers and it will gone or bankrupt in ten years time.

  5. ex-UH1 crew chief | October 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

    Before one becomes all huffy and puffy, have a look at the proposals and the analysis behind them. See:

    No one should be offering their opinions unless and until they have read and understood this presentation.

  6. From a retiree, if our retirement is so bad what about congress. A four year term in congress get them a retirement why do we have to suffer for their mistakes.

  7. @tom brown

    Congress persons are members of the same retirement system (FERS) as the clerks at the VA office. They do NOT get full retirement after one term, or free medical for life

    @ex-UH1 crew chief

    that page doesn’t exist (at least my browser won’t find it)

  8. Mr. Obama keeps talking about "fairness" when it comes to all aspects of federal finances. Well, from my perspective, if 48% of Americans don't pay taxes and veterans and retirees do, I would say it would be more fair for us to keep our benefits since we have served our country and risked our lives, while some of those 48% that don't pay taxes have never contributed a damn thing to the system. I say raise taxes on that 48% if Obama is hurting that much for additional money to spend (actually waste).

  9. I did 13 yrs,
    Should be 50 for combat vets and 60 for non combat vets
    Retiring these days at 38 is just doubledipping. Ive never been for that…never will

  10. It is amasing to me that everyone wants to change our retirement. As a retire, if I remember correctly, I never got to make a decision if I wanted to go to Vietnam. I believe I got orders and was sent.
    It is stupid to want to change toe system and then send our young men into Irag, Somilia, or " BFE" and we don't get a say in it.
    If you are going to change our retirement without our say I say WE decide what battle we wish to fight.

  11. Politicians just don't get it the less money people have the less they spend and thus the economy never gets any better!

    Actually they do get it, this is the master plan to keep everyone under the thumb of the government!

  12. How many politicians, their children, or grandchildren do you see losing arms, legs, and their lives in these political wars?

  13. It seems it just another way for the policitions to sell off our retirements to big business. So they make even bigger profits. And Screw Us

  14. willard vogelgesang | October 25, 2011 at 12:04 am |

    If washington makes this change not able to get your military retirement until age 60 or 65 after I have been receiveing it for almost 16 and half years. I would have to wait 3 and half years to get my military pension again. Then I would lose my house ,car, everything I worked for. I live according to what is given. This would be a complete disaster your talking thousands of people in this same situation.

  15. let's cut the emotion on proposed changes to the military retirement system. it's unsustainable and way more generous than anything that exists in the civilian sector. reform HAs to happen. and before you say that civilians don't put them selves in harms way and therefore the comparison is invalid, let's check again and see how many folks drawing military retirement ever really had to put THEMSELVES in harms way…

  16. While I do not concur with the current ideas of trying to make it like a civilian corps. I say that even those who were not in harms way for extended periods had to live when, where and how they are told and if they said no face court martilal still merits consideration for their indentured lifestyle. Now, if they did change the retirement system, then a union should be authorized to allow a true voice of the active force to be heard and not some high paid board members.who do not worry about such things. Also, since retirement will be significantly less, pay then regular active pay should be higher and include some sort of overtime pay for extended hours so the enlisted people have money they can save for retirement.

  17. Now, let's cut right to the chase of this Defense Business Board:

    1. There were ZERO former enlisted members
    2. There were only 4 members who were former officers (one with as little as two years service dating back to 1966-68 at the Pentagon doing intelligence work, and we all know how bad the intel was in the Vietnam war).
    3. Even the subject matter experts had no enlisted member but had better military experience as a group than the actual board members themselves.
    4. Most, if not all of them, were in charge in some way of outsourcing in their careers. This is just a "PC" way of saying they were responsible for sending U.S. jobs overseas to save money and put U.S. workers on the unemployment rolls (costing state and local governments MORE money).

    I think that pretty much says it. No one with any understanding of what it's like to live in a tent or a hole in the ground or to work in extreme environments for up to 18-20 hours a day for no extra pay and no days off. I realize that compared to a civilian retirement system the current military system seems a little "cushy" and wasteful of money but then again, all those civilians got to go home and see their families every night, got most of their weekends off and got extra pay if they were asked to work longer hours, weren't told they had to relocate every 3 years and weren't told when their usefulness to the company was no longer needed just because they had reached a predetermined number of years of service.

  18. Proposed changes to the current military retirement are going to force a decision about the type of force maintained in this country. It is a very easy choice. Maintaining the current benefit system affords the American people the all volunteer force we have maintained for the last three decades. Slashing those benefits to 'civilianize' the force will create the need to reinstate the draft, or impose a mandatory military service commitment for America's young people. Personally, I wish there would be a draft, and I would hope that all those preaching 'unsustainablility' would get drafted. I would love to see how their tune changes on that day.

  19. The plan was devised by a civilian board set up by the President. The same people that will make millions from managing these funds until the retiree turns 60. So we won't actually know how the plan works for almost 40 years, which is when the first group will start receiving benefits. I would like to, but chances are very high, that I won't be around to see the results.

  20. Apparently these politicians are looking to have a "war" at home?

  21. What is the pay scale for a Congressman? What is his term of office to start receving a retirement ? How many days and nights is he re
    quired to work overtime? How many vacation days does he take ? The same person who is deciding what a military person should be entitiled to

  22. The civilians who are makeing decisions do not have all the facts.
    One example is that who do they think will train the new recruits?
    The senior Petty Officers and NCO's make up 80% of the instructors
    in all the military schools. In the field or aboard ship thease same
    enlisted men/women perform all the training of both junior enlisted
    and officer communities. Just who do the civilians think will do all
    the instructing and training if the PO's and NCO's never re -enlisted
    due to their unfounded/lack of all the facts decisions that they will
    send to congress?

  23. I recently was told by a retired postal employee that I was under a false assumption that military folks were Govt Emplyee's–He insisted that we were contract emplyeeson a 2yr ,4yr,etc enlsitment contracts —-Interesting ….

  24. Nobody deserves to retire at 38 years old, period.

  25. was promised free health care if i stayed in=ha-=nqw want to kick us out at tergiving our most producyve years-then starve till we reach old age-(not much demand for middle-aged riflemen) while families starve-will we do the same to police and firemen–must be awful dumb to acceept sucnh a deal=

  26. I keep reading the word "retirement" when, more accurately, the military maintains a system of reduced compensation. Which means, we are put on hold, paid at a reduced rate, until and if we are needed again. Those who "retire" young are still on the hook to be recalled.

  27. I get really aggravated when I see comments posted about how great a retirement the military has. If they think it's so great, why don't they join? It's one of the most demanding jobs with some of the most responsible positions one can ask. Not just in combat. Multi-million assets, and lives are at stake when one joins (i.e. aircraft pilots, and maintenance crews). It is also rewarding as an experience, not in pay. I believe most do it of choice for the greater good. If the retirement is messed with, where will the experience come from. Most won't stay. Not because they don't believe in service, but because most have families to feed as do their civilian counterparts. The pay's not a windfall afterall.

  28. This whole idea has me disgusted. Our military men and women deserve better. To take away the benefits that were agreed upon is just another smack in the face.

    These men and women who serve could be in the civilian sector making more money than they earn in service. They choose to do so because they love their county. If it were not for them we would not hold the freedoms we do today.

    You have no idea what kinds of sacrifices our military members and families make unless you are one of the few. How dare you sit back and tell them their benefits should be altered or stopped altogether.

  29. Rick,

    Forgive me if it appears that I am piggy backing on what others have stated before me. With that said….

    1: On behalf of those I serve beside, both past and present, YOUR WELCOME. Because of us, you still have the right to speak your opinion. You also still have the ability to voice that opinion against your govt and anything else that you "deem" as outdated, or hurts your feelings.

    2: The draft; You can bet YOUR life it will be reinstated. I can say this because as an active duty member, EVERYONE I serve with will quickly walk away from this. Why do you think we stay 20 years? The experience? The adventure? Stories for the grand kids?!?! I dont think so. So what happens then? You really think the govt wont force it down the peoples throat? Or would it not matter cause you have friends in another country, or Your safe by going to college? Get over yourself.

  30. 3: You continue to go to your cubicle / job site / or whatever place of work everyday, and continue thinking of reasons why I dont deserve a "retirement" at 40 years of age. While your at it you do me a favor and walk around the perimeter of that work place and you tell me how many people you have to worry about who want to see you dead, just because of where your from. Then as you contemplate that, you think of how many times over 20 years you'll have to worry that you wont make it home to see your family, or worse you'll have to go home and explain to a buddies family why they didnt make it home. Get off your high horse you pompus (insert explitive).

    5: You sit up there on your little hill casting judgement thinking we dont deserve it. Quite frankly, we deserve more than many others in my opinion. No worries though, when the next draft comes, I'm sure we'll see you there.

  31. i served 6 years active duty and the rest with the reserves. during that period i was injured a few times and recieve a disability which adds up to 40 %. im now told that i cannot recieve both my pensiion and disability i have to choose the higher of the two unless i have a higher disability. for one i joined and served twenty years because, and as for the injuries i had no idea i would be hurt nor did i ask for it, im guessing i was put in harms way under my own signature . but i would not have stayed the twenty if i were told this by my va rep. i also was injured before i was activated for iraq and was recieving disability when i went to iraq to find out after i recieved a bill of $1700 after i came home. i was told i could not recieve both disability and active duty pay, so i had to pay it back.

  32. After Serving my country for 26 years through 3 wars, numerous deployments, and now disabled and getting older every day our government wants to cut my retirement and my disability. These are contractual obligations that should not be touched without serious consideration. There are better ways to solve the debt crisis then laying this country again on the back of its veterans.

  33. martha angel | November 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm |

    regarding our mil. benifits all i can say is the whole of WashingtonD.C. buearcrats needs to look in the mirror and thank their lucky stars they have free benifits package the minute they get elected, without even serving 2 years. it's unbelivable they want to cut mil. benifits and not their own benifits. their should be an uprising about this…. sick of the B%$%#.

  34. I don't believe individuals join the military out of patriotism anymore. I believe they join to have a job. If they don't like the benefits or feel like they are being taken advantage of, then find another job. The military is not a democracy, they are public servants.

  35. What most do not realize: Tricare cost $520.00 per year for a family of two upon retirement then when you turn 65 you get dropped from Tricare as your primary and tossed into medicare and must enroll in medicare Part B at $99.00 each per month for a family of two and now McCain wants those of us 65 and over to ante up another $200 each for Tricare for life as a supplement to medicare Part B.

    We served and endeavored for twenty plus years to earn Free Medical care for life and now it's not free. Thanks politicians!

    $520 per year until age 65 per couple.
    $2376.00 per year for a couple 65 and older plus McCains extra $200.00 each.

    $2,776.00 cost at age 65 and older.

    Thanks politicians for making my Golden years so much more affordable

  36. SSG RET. DOUGLAS | November 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    People like you should be flushed down the toliet, with the crp for brains, PERIOD!

  37. This administration as well as some in Congress are clueless on what the effects will be as regards "modernizing" military retirement and charging fees for health care for both active and retired members. We're a drop in a bucket representing savings compared to the waste and foolishness this government spends daily on aid to other countries, fraud, and outright nonsense.
    All of them, as well as our turncoat McCain, will see a deterioriation of talent in the service as well as a high number of JOB hunters if changes come to pass. The real talent will turn to finding another career calling. Military people today and yesterday are significantly different in the way they think and in no way should be compared to the civilians and how that applies to salary and retirement benefits. Find the savings elsewhere. Lord knows there is an abundance of savings in EVERY other area of spending. Leave the military alone fools.

  38. In 20 years of active duty, we worked 40-60 years of 8 hour days…with no overtime pay ! Why would anyone pick to work 10-24 hours days, be away from family for months to years at a time and place their lifes on the line then get nothing but a civilian 401K retirement ? If they want to put the military on a civilian retirement system then start paying us civilian wages, my active duty pay of $2000 a month would then be $20,000 a month (and I did was fix aircraft) , think what a civilian wage would be for a 24 hours a day grunt ground pounder ………..!!!!!!!

  39. There are Health care providers in Florida, who are giving the $98.00 Medicare Part B back to the medicare patient. It appears Medicare is giving these health care providers too much money for what it costs them to provide health care. Now they want us to pay not only the Medicare Part B, but an additional fee on top of that. It looks like they are looking in the wrong places for savings

  40. No one including officers and I'm a retired E-8 on permeant disability can afford to live off the pension the military offers. Now they require Medicare B to even be eligible for Tricare. We pay for medical insurance both from Medicare and Tricare both. This is absurd. Congress walks out with over a 100K a year for a pension for just a 4 year term. They can't even make up their minds on passing a budget and waste hours/days/weeks, and years to just decide on what a budget is. This is nothing but insanity. In the military we have to make split second decisions to save lives and Congress/Senate can't even decide what seat they should sit down in without being told. Can't blame it all on Obama it's been that way for years. But they won't take a pay cut only a raise year in and year out.

  41. Let's cut congressional benefits and their retirement first. All they do is sit around and pontificate anyway.

  42. If you're in the military or even served, please sign this petition:

    If you agree, please pass it on to everyone you know as well.

  43. Most of us have short memories. We forget the names of the so called law makers that screwed us. We end up due to some misguided party loyiey and reelect them. It's time we as a block of military retirees vote thesemisguided people out. Remember this on election day.

  44. Here we go again. This will never be veiwed by the people it pertains to, but I wonder who all agrees. Congress first should start having to pay for their medical while in office. There is no good reason why they should leave office with a pension after a two or four year term of office. after 20 years they can be eligible for retirement at only fifty percent of there pay.

  45. As usual some civilian running his mouth about something he knows absolutely NOTHING about. We all signed a check when we enlisted. It included everything, including our lives. Thankfully most of us didn't have it cashed but some have, too many. Others lost eyes, legs, arms. But they signed that check to protect you and yours. We are suppose to get a COLA increase on Jan 1st. I believe it is 3.6%, the first in 2 years. On October 1st we also got an increase in the cost of our prescriptions, generics went from$3 to $5 with name brand going from $9 to $12. So as usual they are taking our raise away from us BEFORE we even get it.
    The president want the military to have comparable benefits to civilian government employees. I say when those civilians have 6 month or 12 month deployments at sea, or spend 12 months or more in the sandbox away from families, gone for their daughters birthday, gone from the Christmas mornings and SO much more, then they can have them.
    Until you have walked in those combat boots you have NO idea.

  46. Just the same load of crap from representatives on both sides of the isle. Don't blame just the R's or D's only. It's both their faults. We need to elect people who support the active military and retirees. To those of you who comment that we retirees get too much don't seem to realize how much we give up. Not counting wars, forced separations, etc. most of us took a lot lower salary than our civilian counterparts. It's the same old story-in war we're all for the troops afterwards to hell with us. By the way I'm a 20 year disabled USAF vet and Nam vet 70-71 so if you haven't served SHUT UP.

  47. McCain is nothing more than an Obama puppet. He needs to step-up and volunteer to lead the charge to get congress to start paying for their benefits.
    I to am fed up with being lied to by congress,

  48. Ken Loveland | November 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    Congratulations, McCain. You have Dissed all those who spent years in Hanoi Hilton, and all of us who fought with you and tried to get you and your buds out. Now you have $ Millions (and your congressional perks) you forgot how many hours you spent at ( $.01/Hr or less) enjoying your stay there. How about you match up Congressional retirement and medical benefits with the military and and make sure it's an hour for hour match – one hour military service (including at Hanoi Hilton) with an hour as a Senator. Think it is fair??? Pull your head out of wherever you have put it and reconsider your position on charging for TFL.

  49. I cannot believe that some pencil neck suite will determine whether my daugher with 11 years will get her 20 year retirement in 9 more years. those idiots do not have any idea in hell what it means to serve in the military for 20 years. I spent 21 years 10 months and 22 days. a majority of that time I was either overseas in the western pacific(by choice) or in san deigo on sea duty. these guys do not understand that the military goes out and gets shot at. they are not IMI not like civilian jobs. we deploy and guys shoot at us and we shoot back. the pencil neck suits need to listen to the senior enlisted and senior officers from each branch. ol navy saying 'IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT!

  50. It looks like life long retirement will be ousted out We no longer have people in the Military Service beyond 20 years. or more I stayed long as I could tolerant If I was too unfit to pass The PRT 's But Pass them with Flying colors on Active Duty I guess something is wrong here. I found out the hard way. The whole ideal of getting any training in Navy Reserves is help support the Active Duty Crews to back these forces up. Now I hear you can not recognize the difference Years ago back in the early 1990's The Reservist were always treated as SELRES Commonly known as Selective RESERVES Now Since the shortages of manpower in Both Active Duty and Reserves The Active Duty people are respecting both Reserves and their own counter-parts I just don't want to leave force out from another, I respect all Service members Even if I knew they were Gay or lesbian. No matter what sex too Male or female. That is another reason why 60 % of those who serve now I hope they will be continue to serve for at least 15 to 20 years or more. These members of Congress Attempting to Save money from here to there Is just plain Stupid- ass Yes I knew about those in the Navy full Time Support Which was called before 09-11 TAR program They had a retirement program going for them And before I retired from The Navy Reserves I found it was going broke. So If these Members of Congress do not want wake up and fix things first instead of blaming others Those who already retired Those who are pending retirement Such as myself Congress gets all it wants and wares WHY blame others sacrifice any Service members Retirement I hope members of U S. Congress can look this as salubrious rewards for the service members High year tenure was a joke in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

  51. WifeofRetMarine | November 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm |

    The person is correct that we will have the draft again. There will be no retention, the young will join for 4 years to get their college paid for, why stay any longer.
    I guess we should know by now you cant trust what the government promises you!

  52. If you want to change the Military Retirement system and TFL you should consider changing the retirement and medical care system provided to Senators and Members of he House first. Lead by example. Reduce your benefits before you reduce ours.

  53. ROBERT A. LACROSS | November 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm |

    You may wish to comment on the report that Sen John McCain is recommending to the Select Committee that Retirees pay $200/yr for Tricare For Life. ( as a starting point) and also recommending that the Co-Pay for Prescription drugs increase to $45 per prescription with increases in coming years. (may be tied to the CPI). His address on the Internet is (all lower case):
    Suggest we make our voices heard. Robert A. LaCross, TSgt (E-6), USAF Ret, DBA

  54. i would be appauled if they got ride of the 20 year retirement. i have 9 years in and fact of the matter is the retirement is what everyone strives for. There is no other reason to do 20 plus. Now i do love "working" or "serving" the country. It makes what i do matter and it makes me feel good about myself. Either way though, there is nothing that is more important than providing for my family and setting up their future. If they did cut the 20 year retirement then most everyone with 8 plus years would bounce cause there is no more insentive. Not only that, even if they did bring back the draft it wouldn't do anything, because what would the military and gov't really be getting? All they would get are a bunch of disgruntled individuals that don't really want to be there in the first place! So what kind of product would the military be putting out? It can't be a good one in my opinion because even if someone was drafted the consiquences of doing your time and just half assing everything you do is basically nothing.

  55. The people getting drafted would either finish their time and get the free college (well basically free), or they would get kicked out early and be right back to what they were doing before they got drafted which is what they wanted in the first place. Plus there wouldn't be any structure. I mean, i know if i were drafted and had to do 4 years, what kind of insentive do i have to listen to my superiors? nothing really, if anything it would be an insentive not to listen because then they would just kick me out which is what most of the people getting drafted would want anyway. so in actuality there wouldn't even be a rank structure anymore, just a bunch of kids not wanting to be there or listen to what they are told. The product the military would put out would be horrible!

  56. All you guys should quit picking on poor Rick. This could be a very good thing, making the military like a civilian job. Just think, the next time you get orders you don't like, you just quit. That what civilians do when they don't like their job. Right???

  57.… Read anything by William Black. He was the top government regulator in the savings and loan crisis. If you want to know why they are taking our retirement and "free health care for life" then you really need to understand that it's not about politics, it's about money. To be more precise, it's about hundreds of billions of dollars that is being paid for interest to central banks that does not need to be paid but is being extracted from all of us, but especially from the military personnel.

  58. I was in for 20 years and I agree with those that feel betrayed by the system. I will say however that many in the military have it much better than I did. I went into the Air Force in 85 with promotion rates an abysmal 7-12% unlike it has been since 2000 where the promotion rates have been 20% and up. When I had gotten out in 2006, it was unlikely that you would see a service member not have a new cell phone, new car, house, etc…. I currently make 80,000 a year and take home less than I did while in the military after taxes, union dues, medical, etc… Many in the military even claim a state of residence outside of their original state just to avoid state taxes. Being in the military, I was oblivious to the real world since I was coddled under the military umbrella of security. Those of you that always quote something about losing an arm or leg, I sincerely hope that you have been in combat like many Marines and Army personnel. I know that in the Air Force, the majority were many miles if that close to the actual fighting, yet I would hear people throw that out like it was nothing. Also, don't forget that many in the civilian world do put their lives on the line daily or are in dangerous jobs like myself and do it to provide a better way of life for those around us.

  59. Brunomusarra | November 2, 2011 at 6:25 am |

    I served for 18 years, and was released from duty in Iraq to take care of a familial obligations. My military career ended and I recieved nothing for my years in service. I would have liked to retire and under the proposed system, that could happen.

  60. Comments like that are usually coming from adolescents that have no idea what they are talking about. Grow up!

  61. If congress passes this change to the current retirement system it will be the end of the "all volunteer" military. For all those that are old enough to remember what the draft was like, get ready for more of the same crap we had during the 60's. I just hope if they do bring the draft back that nobody is exempt. Including females. Females in the military have argued for years that they can do just as good a job as men and have changed the way they serve in the military. So be it, then all females should have to register with selective service just like 18 year old males. The only people who should be exempt from a military draft are those who are "4-F" no exemptions for college kids, rich kids, or anyone else who is physically and mentally capable of serving.PERIOD!

  62. First there NO draft. Has been a draft since 1975. Anyone who joins volunteers to do so. If you choose to stay that also is a volunteer agreement. If military service was that great then no one would ever leave and hence no need for recruitment. However the reality is that that military service is not for everyone and the only way to find out is to actually join. I am a fully retired vet who served 26 years. I do feel that there should be a 401 type arrangement for those who join but it be a plan which does require that the service member also contribute and have the same restrictions as a civilian 401. The major premise of the All Volunteer Force was that pay and benefits were to be the major draw for service. In that we have been at war since 1990 has meant that everyone in the military has to sacrifice. With no draft or any requirement for national service the burden has been borne by a few. The rest of the population gets to contribute what amounts to slogans and an occasional free ticket to a ball game. Meanwhile the 1,2, 3 or more wars on (name the topic) continue and except for a few major exceptions not one member of congress, the White House or any families have seen fit to sign up. That says a lot. But the bottom line is that as a Nation we have said we pay for a military and if we do not or stop the paying then we get nothing. The proposed reductions in forces are the exact same thing that has happened after every war. But no DOD contractor will lose a contract and no member of congress need fear that a single contract will be dropped. Anyway the gays got to be allowed in and there was no riot and also there was NO rush to sign up. Everyone wants a free lunch.

  63. SSG(RET) BUNNER | November 2, 2011 at 8:39 am |

    Other than the idiots who have obviously never served (BOB) making thier usual stupid, uninformed comments, I agree and second what has been said here. Don Miller, you hit it on the head. If the politicians get the same benefits as us, they should serve the time, same as us. After twenty years, they get fifty percent of thier base pay. Of course, we all know that would mean the politicians would have to have to give up the summer home in Florida. Also, I cannot remeber who posted it earlier (sorry) but LEAD BY EXAMPLE POLITICIANS! OR IS IT "DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO"?

  64. Make sure John McCain gets this info…of all people…!! Course we all can not be so fortunate to marry a millionairess….; He thinks nothing of the military vet giving more and more…!He can go fry ice….!! Not only that he is ALWAYS so ready to send our young men and women into any fight on earth regardless…Does he think there would be enough to fight all the wars he would like us to go into ;;;if he keeps cutting WHAT WE EARNED…AS SMALL AS IT IS….; HE HAS LOST MY VOTE….FORGOOD..

  65. This is BS! What the HELL do these politicians have in their heads. We sacrifice our life's and also our families to protect this great nation! Put their asses out there in the front lines, away from their love ones etc., and supposely they will change their way of thinking. There is a phase that I heard sometime ago, "While everyone sleeps and rest, others are awake protecting," something to that affect.

  66. For anyone who believes that congress should have term limits, I suggest that next election (and every election from now on) you simply "VOTE THE INCUMBENTS OUT" and we can enforce our own term limits on congress.

  67. Bobby Burke | November 2, 2011 at 9:50 am |

    If they want to cut benifits and charge veterans more why not start with their
    great benefits they recieve by being elected. They do not take cuts in benefits
    to help the budget

  68. While in the uniformed service you are not a civilian, treated like a civilian or paid like a civilian, Why shoud the retirement benifits be civilianized? Congress should think about their own benifits. How many would be running for office if there were no life time benifits after seving only a few years, staying in plush hotels and not doing their jobs. Think about it. When was the last time a budget was passed on time?
    The men and women defending our liberties deserve everything they get and so much more. God bless our heros.

  69. How do you repay someone that has been away from their families for 20 or more years, missing birthdays,deaths,graduations, etc. These service members deserve everything they get, and more. I remember most of my youngers years in the military as struggling just to survive because of the low pay. Today my retired pay and benefits really only mean a little security. I am 62 this month and I still have to work. Do I deserve less. All of those civilians got to be with families, had the opportunity to build up strong community ties when they were young, and were able to enjoy the benefit of stability of not being forced to move every 2 or 3 years. It is NOT the same to compare the military with the civilians.

  70. Chief Browne | November 2, 2011 at 11:38 am |

    Hey, I have an iade. Knock off starting war all over the ploace and getting us military all killed and shot up. No boubt that would reduce the demand and cost of artifical limbs and lessen the need for VA bed space: you bunch of moron congressmen!

  71. What so many are forgetting is that several of the jobs that are in demand only in a military carreer does not guarntee a job once they are retired. So many of them count on their retirement for support once out and barely earning much on these type of jobs. This needs to be taken into consideration.

  72. What the hell is happening to our country? I joined the U.S. Army back in 1964 and served for twenty-six years, retired as a MSG. I retired in 1990 on pay that was pretty damn good but not by today's standards. Anybody bought gasoline for their car lately? Anybody having any difficulty trying to make ends meet when it comes to basic cost of living? The jerks that want to make changes do so with diminishing the benefits we have (had) and most of them doing the decision making have never spent one day in the service of our country. Our last VP for example got 5 deferments during the Vietnam era. And what unit was Obama in? That's right he wasn't.

  73. I strongly believe there should be changes: Military should have same TSP benefits as civil service. Military serving in combat should rcv TRICARE for life for themselves and tricare for 1 yr for family and one year basic pay when they choose to seperate. Anyone having served 5 to 10 years should rcv 6 months severance pay when seperating and 6 months tricare for self and family. After 10 years should rcv 1 year severance pay and 1 yr tricare for family and tricare for life for self.. Military should start accumulating 2% of basic pay as "retirement" after 5 years to be effective at 10 yrs (10%) – not to be payable until reach age 40. ie 10 yrs = 10%; 20 yrs = 30% and 30 yrs = 50%. After 20 years should rcv 2 yrs severance pay, Tricare for life for self and dependents up to age 26; and start rcving retirement pay immediately.

  74. I agree there should be some benefits for those having srved but for one reason or another do not reach 20 years. OBAMACare is all about everyone is entilttled to health care – lets start with those who have honorably served in the military

  75. congree should realign their health benefits and retirement to fall inline with the military as they feel the military has it so good.

    I agree with Rani — after 5 years service or serving in combat severance pay and medical benifits should be provided as militasry transition to civilian life –

  76. Hey, this is cool. Doesn't anyone get what is going on? Change the Armed Forces to civilian pay. Why not? Then they can easily privatize the military. After all, we have "Blackwater" the overpaid mercenaries that so many in Congress want. That bunch wants to privatize everything else like Social Security, Medicare, Medicad, Education and what else. Why not the Military? How about the Fire Departments, State and Munnicipal Law Enforcment and, OH YEAH, how about the Border Patrol, Customs and Immigration. We can use more undocumented workers for those industries that cannot send their factories to low wage countries.

  77. I am 22 year USAF Retired Major with 11 years enlisted and 11 years Commissioned. I would have been delighted to avoid all the tours around the world (WWII, Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba Crisis, etc) without my wife and three daughters. I did not see one of them graduate highschool, and could never afford college for them either and, I cannot count the number of birthdays I have missed, nor earn a college education under the WWII GI Bill that rightfully benefitted so many Veterans after they sacrificed so much in defense of the unserving civilians in Comgress. "Duty, Honor, Country" doesn't seem to buy much anymore,

  78. Why should Congress care, they have already privatized themselves as employees of Wall Street Banksters, multinational Corporations and the monied elites who only care about their own Patriotic Code of Honor, "Money, Power, Influence" all without a tinkers dam about the middle class of this country who achieved and produced everything good about America since President Franklin Roosevelt and until the deregulators took control since Reagan.

  79. BETRAYAL is the only word to describe my feelings of the insideous and largely unreported destruction of our American economy since the 70's, and the attempt now to put the financial and emotional burder on the backs of the many who have died serving, and still serving, in defense off our country. I am also extremely proud of the "Occupy" movements in the many cities and towns around this nation. It is about time that someone stands for what is right and against the powerful vested interests who are controlling our governments (state and federal).
    The old Pogo saying is still true "We have seen the enemy and it is us" – my generation.

  80. My God, now retirees will pay $200 in year2012, then$296 in 2013, then they say it will go up every year after that. I am begining to wounder why I spent 23 years in the military. Yes I am proud of my country, and I would live no place else. I fail to see the resoning of punishing the military, active, and retiered for servcies rendered. I will say up front, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, you will NOT recieve my vote in 2012. I hope all military active and retired follow the way I feel. I cannot not vote for anyone else in our congress, only McCain and Obama, but if I could I would vote against every current member. Let us start over with new members. How can we me any worse off.

  81. Any politican including the president need to spend time in the military on the front line prior to office not hiding under the desk, and during office,,when a person spends their life in the military they should be treated with respect by the Government, those who try to take away what that Person is suppose to receive after years in the military and have spent their life doing what was required to protect the United States of America, our Country. The Military member should be given what was agreed to be given to them when recurited. Those who try to take it away or do not honor them should be sent to prison, be impeaced especially the President, who has no respect for the people who have protected Our Country,, anyone can speak words its how they truely feel that makes the difference,, but now you can tell that McCann and Obama does not respect the military personnel and should be impeached now for what they are doing or trying to accomplish in taking away the person retirement. Both of them and any polition who belittles military personnel should be sent to prision and have their belonging confiscated and all fianices confinscated.

  82. And We the People should watch carefully who we vote in office,,, and all politions should be held responsible for what they say during their campain speeches so they can get elected and be proscuted for their false statement. Come ON people what happen to Honor and Respect for the People. Lets start standing up for ourselves,, we are not sheep…..Lets bring honor back in our politices and for those people in the Offices that are suppose to honor the PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA, no more lies, no more waste of our tax dollar nor mistreatment of military personnel. Let's get back the respect and honor that the people deserve.

  83. Let's see – McCain draws retirement pay, 100% disability pay, in addition to his overpayment of being a "Senator", (a stupid one at that!). He's also married to a multi-millonaire and is still trying to screw the troops. When I entered service in 1949, I was told if I retired, I would have 100% TLC and do to changes of personnel in the Hse & senate, they are trying to screw us and it appears we just sit back and take it -but I disagree. We should get what we were promised.

  84. Shaping the military retirement system based on civilian compensation packages is not appropriate. Please show me the civilian that goes into an office daily, that could wind up in the most dangerous places in the world on short notice. There is no guarantee of surviving even the training that takes place prior to departing the US to engage in activities all over the world. If an individual takes on the burden of enlisting in service, and completes their 20 year or more committment, then there is an extremely reasonable compensation package waiting for them. It is fair, and by god it has been earned. What it is not is an entitlement, this is not a gift, but an earned compensation.

  85. First off, thank you Senator McCain for your service. However, I feel that you and anyone else now currently serving in our Congress, Senate and yes, the White House who may have served in our Military have lost touch with the meaning of Duty to God, Service before self, and Integrity in all we do. So sad. I am a 38 year Air Force and Air National Guard Veteran. I served in Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Operations Northern and Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and obviously am a veteran of the Cold War. These have been tumultuous times. And, anyone who has chosen to serve their Nation in this way deserves more than what you are trying to shove down our throats and you of all people, a Prisoner of War Survivor should be ashamed. I would like to see term limits established for all sitting and newly elected law makers, see them paid only a stipend with no retirement and no Goverment Health Plan. Afterall you are wealthy and can afford it. Try that for awhile. Give up your self voted pay raises. I retired in 2009 and have seen and experienced many changes in those years. Some good and some not so good. Change is good in some instances but quit trying to take away what we have earned.

  86. Everyone serving in congress should be discharged immediately with reduced retirement for time already served!! They definitely aren't doing much of anything moreover, the House gets to take off for one week after every two weeks of (so-called) face-time in congress!! There has got to be a revolution in this country because the 1% who now control the everyday life of everyday Americans, are destroying the very fabric of life that we have fought and died for!! Enough is enough!! And the imbecile John McCain, should be ashamed of his rotten self……the nerve!! Just a 22-year veteran of the the Gulf and Cold Wars!! I am disgusted with the corruption in our great government of these United States of America!! Dear God, where are you?

  87. Wayne Miller USAFR | November 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |

    This is the way I see it.
    When I joined the USAF in June 1962, retired from the USAFR in 2004
    I was told and have a contract with the U.S.government, that I would be
    given a pension, also medical benifits, and certain other benifits,
    I have given most of my life to the US of A and now they owe me.
    a contract is a contract. not like the elected members of congress and
    senate that after a few years get medical and other great benifits for only
    service a few years. they should have to serve a minimum of 20 years
    to get their benifits and have to be at least 60 to start drawing them.
    that would save on our latent cost.

  88. Bonnie Hausner | November 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    Why are we just sitting here commenting, when we should be MOVING to get these guys out of office??? I have written so many letters to the White House & everyone else putting the screws to the vets. They don't care! So this, is wasting my time & yours. Do I feel better because I wrote it? No, just frustrated & angry!

  89. Rick,

    I think the majority of the group agrees that you're one of those that just loves to stir the pot and make controversy. Now that some senators and congressmen have actually read the report that started all this, they see, like we do that "civilianizing" the military retirement system is not only stupid but about as workable as dried cement.

    Let's leave the retirees alone and go after companies that were given billions of tax payer dollars in bailout money and then went belly up. There's savings to be had without further taking from those who've already given so much.


  91. This is by far the worst president to ever be our Commander in Chief. What a disgrace and hardship he and the 2 Senators have brought to our Military retirees. They all disgust me. I served 31 years in the Air Force and retired as an E7. Every retiree and active duty member should vote against Obama and these jerks for what they have done. Obama has only apologized for this great country and was shamed into wearing the flag lapel pin. He didn't even know how to salute when he first became president. A sorry excuse for president. His first interview was to Al Jazerra 6 days after being elected. We have a Muslim sitting in the oval office !!! Look at how he handled the Fort Hood shootings and how his administration hushed it up just after it happened. He has done a number on this country.

  92. We as retired military personnel were toldwe would hve free medical benifits for life when we retired. If the president is so concerned about what it is costing for military medical, then why doen't he start having the members of congress start paying for their medical. The Military have given a lot more for this county than any onr an say. They have lost parts of their bodies and their lives to support military actions. Congress needs to WAKE up. Give the military what they deserve.

  93. Sergeant Coe | February 7, 2012 at 9:57 am |

    The only way for the armed services military personnel to deal with Congress, and the Executive Branch is to become as a union with representation. Politicians want a contract with America….start with the military men and women and their families. The military active duty, reserve and all veterans can also play hard ball….we honor contracts.

  94. President Obama is our greatest president in recent years and he is not the blame. Blame the politicians who protect the wealthy Americans with huge tax breaks.

  95. After twenty the goverment said I would get 50% of my base pay when I retired in 1989. WELL I am still waiting for the the 50% when I got paid only 25%. Plus I was a E-6 and they are paying the same as a private.I have to buy my own dentail
    and heath insurace. I would like to see the congress and senitors live on our pay and we are not to complain about it..How can we live on this pay???????

  96. We thought Carter was bad, Obama can't chew gum and walk stright if nothing else he walks with a crooked cain like his Chicago buddies. I have no problem if I have to dig a little deeper not like i'm rich close to the poverty line but won't cry about it. JUST GET SOMETHING DONE, I would staer with his socialistic heath care boon doggle.

  97. @ Ken… Sorry to say, but Mr Obama is the golden lamb chosen to lead the USofA into Socialism. Open your eyes, America !!!!

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