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View Diary: John McCain and Leon Panetta - Time to Cut Military Benefits (116 comments)

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  •  Delve away... (1+ / 0-)
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    catilinus

    my husband is a military officer so I will be well able to answer your questions and comments.

    What compensation would you like us to give up? I'm curious.

    •  excessive pension payments (0+ / 0-)

      Well, let's look at pension pay for retired officers.

      As you know, it is common practice to promote officers just before retirement to sweeten the pension kitty.  

      •  It's impossible for that to work in practice. (4+ / 0-)

        Pension benefits take an average of your last three years of salary so a last minute promotion won't affect the final pension. And, if you accept a promotion, you sign on to serve more years. You can't accept promotion and then bail on the military.

        Currently, we have figured out that to max out our retirement benefit, my husband would need to serve 26 years. Currently he is at 21 years. It is common practice for Colonels to try and stay that 26 years in service to get every penny into their retirement fund. What is a few more years of service when you've already given 20, right? It's not like we're doing it to screw over the system; we will stay as long as the military has a job for my husband to do and as long as he feels like he has something to contribute. Honestly, if they offer him a great position at year 26, he would probably stay until 30. That's the maximum a Col. is allowed to serve.

        This would only affect Colonels - if you didn't make the rank to Col. you wouldn't stay beyond 20 years because the military wouldn't see a need to keep you. You might find a 21 year LtCol, but not much more than that.

        Generals have a different retirement plan altogether because they tend to serve 30+ years. I was just discussing this on Facebook with a friend of mine. A few disgruntled Generals from pre-Bush are upset with the retirement plans that came about during the Bush years. Some of them believe that there was a 'pay-off' component. They would keep their mouths shut about the administration if their retirement could compensate. Can't find any hard facts to back up this hearsay, however.

        So, are your concerns with Colonels or with Generals or with both?  BTW - military retirement is meant to be 'deferred pay' to help make up the difference between what a military officer could earn in the civilian world and what he or she actually earns in service. It was never intended to be a Retirement in the sense that you could actually stop working and live off the payment.

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