Should all Military Retiree Pay Rates be Equal?

There was an interesting article in last week’s Washington Post concerning the unaffordability of the all-volunteer military. Some of what was written was not a surprise:  the current retirement pay beginning at 50 percent for the rest of retired active duty service members lives as well as health care is under scrutiny or already changing.  And as many of us know, the active duty retirement system is a pretty good deal.Which is one reason why this family still moves every two to three years.

How can retiree pay be a money sucking entity, you might ask, when 80 percent of the military never see a penny due to leaving the service before that golden 20 year retirement mark?  Well, with 2.4 million retirees currently in the system, 1.4 million active duty, the need for health care and future benefits including those for dependents can indeed, and will be, a vacuum for the Benjamins.

All that considered, an interesting topic was brought up:  Should benefits be equal for someone who has seen combat vs. someone who has only had an office or stable career in the military with no deployments?

Example: The Marine Corps Band (aka “The President’s Own”). Most of the members, according to the article,  never even attended boot camp. Members of this elite group of musicians are able to live in the D.C. area for pretty much their entire career if they choose. They are eligible to receive the same retiree benefits as someone who has seen at least one deployment. Retention comes into play as well.  Not many guys in the band are punching their military meal-tickets early where other marine corps service members rarely stay in  20 years (little wonder why … war takes a serious toll).

Rest easy, ’cause Washington is on the case. Defense Secretary Panetta called for the assembly of a nine member panel to discuss such things among themselves and give recommendations to congress and the president for modernizing the military retirement system.

But what I want to know are your opinions … do you think there should be a system in place that takes into account the number of times a military member sees combat? Say, a 1-2 percent increase in retirement pay for someone who has deployed  and a 1-2 percent decrease for those who have not. Or maybe all retiree pay in the future begins at 40 percent, with increases of 1-2 percent for each deployment. Or pay stays the same, but a decrease in health care benefits for everyone.

And what of those who want to deploy but keep getting left behind? In an era of troop withdrawals, some Brigades are leaving half their people back home as the rest head to the ‘Stan. Since an individual servicemember is hardly in control of what Big Army decides will be his fate, is it fair to tie his retirement and his family’s future sustainability to a decision on which he doesn’t get the final say?

We can’t come up with a three trillion-dollar coin to fund this, so be creative but also be practical. Instead, a penny for your thoughts — what would you do? The only thing we cannot do is leave it the way it is — at least for those currently in the process of entering the service.

What would you recommend to the panel?

About Heidi

Married to her high school sweetheart/AD Air Force man, Heidi was initially reluctant to life as a dependent, finally drank the Kool-Aid, and has since embraced being an active Air Force spouse. With a background in sports medicine, she has no real reason to write other than she enjoys it and likes to get others thinking. Heidi enjoys at-will employment as a substitute teacher, serving as an Arlington Lady, mothering two boys, rehabbing their short sale home purchase, recovering from a case of volunteeritis, correcting her verb tense, and learning more acronyms.


  1. Jacey Eckhart says:
  2. cds says:
  3. MsCamo says:
  4. jumper says:
  5. Kia says:
  6. Carolyn says:
  7. Kim says:
  8. mongolberry says:
  9. George Mells says:
  10. Jesse says:
  11. John Robbins says:
  12. Ray says:
  13. LisaSmith80 says:
  14. Karl says:
  15. rdl014 says:
  16. s. mitzner says:
  17. Thomas N Beaver SR says:
  18. Harvey's Gal says:
  19. David says:
  20. David says:
  21. SSG J. Dennis says:
  22. SSG J. Dennis says:
  23. Jim in SOMD says:
  24. Gloria Walker says:
  25. Gloria Walker says:
  26. Gloria Walker says:
  27. Gloria Walker says:
  28. Jason says:
  29. RD Carey says:
  30. Matt Carey says:
  31. SgtMaj USMC Retired says:
  32. Don s says:
  33. VegasSmitty says:
  34. BRASS says:
  35. BRASS says:
  36. BigEd says:
  37. Guest says:
  38. Black9 says:
  39. Retired SMSgt says:
  40. Al T says:
  41. rsdw45 says:
  42. ChuckI says:
  43. Willy says:
  44. Ben Dover says:
  45. Gary l. Guy says:
  46. Jim says:
  47. Jimmy Freeman says:
  48. ArmyNightingale says:
  49. Mike says:
  50. Bill Fern says:
  51. Joe says:
  52. John says:
  53. Jimenez says:
  54. Jimenez says:
  55. Gary says:
  56. SSG 42R says:
  57. Mike says:
  58. jon R says:
  59. Henry says:
  60. Dsrtknight says:
  61. moltman says:
  62. Lawrence Nall says:
  63. accskp says:
  64. 1st Sgt L K Johnson says:
  65. Ereilad says:
  66. John says:
  67. H. Johnson says:
  68. BUC(SCW/SS) ret says:
  69. Mike says:
  70. Ted A Parks says:
  71. bill says:
  72. Ted A Parks says:
  73. G. Jeranka says:
  74. Gordon says:
  75. J T Colvin says:
  76. Dan says:
  77. mmcs says:
  78. EQCM says:
  79. Clear View says:
  80. Marine says:
  81. DBW says:
  82. George Mells says:
  83. Caz says:
  84. Poorwidow says:
  85. SOG1 says:
  86. SwabJockey says:
  87. Glen Gassman says:
  88. Tom Butterton says:
  89. bdowns says:
  90. petersow says:
  91. OICU812 says:
  92. OICU812 says:
  93. Linda Wilson says:
  94. Robert Mizwa says:
  95. g. trent says:
  96. SDavis says:
  97. jack says:
  98. Charlie says:
  99. DJReuben says:
  100. Al (Ret CW3) says:
  101. T.Rhodes says:
  102. AKDUCE says:
  103. John H. Starnes says:
  104. Vhern042969 says:
  105. Russell says:
  106. lugbert says:
  107. JDC says:
  108. Tokyojoe says:
  109. cowboycoleman says:
  110. Frank says:
  111. Frank says:
  112. t. wilks says:
  113. MASTERMECH48 says:
  114. AFmember says:
  115. AZAggie says:
  116. B. Wilkins says:
  117. John P.Spearman Jr says:
  118. Marine Dad says:
  119. Barry Halsted says:
  120. Patrick says:
  121. Joey1003 says:
  122. Retired_but not dead says:
  123. NightJumper says:
  124. @jpr1969 says:
  125. TimSALMON says:
  126. Richard Beck says:
  127. SJDIllinos says:
  128. Miss Daisy says:
  129. GrizzledOfficerDude says:
  130. Darrell T Simmons says:
  131. Shari says:
  132. guest says:
  133. Old Chief says:
  134. MRyan says:
  135. Leigh Reymen says:
  136. Leigh Reymen says:
  137. Guest says:
  138. Sheila says:
  139. Jeff says:
  140. HonestGeorge says:
  141. Teresa says:
  142. Chief Jim says:
  143. Smitty says:
  144. Mark says:
  145. Sherry says:
  146. Will' says:
  147. Big Al says:
  148. Cyril barraca says:
  149. Pat says:
  150. Grateful Spouse says:
  151. aubrey Leach says:
  152. BUC(SCW/SS) ret says:
  153. Don says:
  154. Tip says:
  155. Retired 28yrs SMSgt says:
  156. Chuck says:
  157. William says:
  158. jerome says:
  159. Congress FAILURES says:
  160. Congress Failures says:
  161. Congress Failures says:
  162. Wil says:
  163. Leroy says:
  164. Kyle says:
  165. Richard Ross says:
  166. afdepfl says:
  167. Tami says:
  168. ITCS Ret says:
  169. J E Aguiar says:
  170. CJB says:
  171. Don says:
  172. Lisa says:
  173. Joe Peek says:
  174. Jack Hayman says:
  175. Robert Anderson says:
  176. SCPORET says:
  177. Jay-R says:
  178. BUC(SCW?SS) ret says:
  179. Kevin says:
  180. al says:
  181. Byron D. says:
  182. Mike says:
  183. Jerome says:
  184. Old Chief says:
  185. DOn Elmore says:
  186. Mike says:
  187. Brenda says:
  188. Brenda says:
  189. Teresa says:
  190. Hal says:
  191. Craig says:
  192. AJM says:
  193. Defuze1 says:
  194. rgc says:
  195. R.G. Lindsey says:
  196. R.G. Lindsey says:
  197. Warrior7 says:
  198. Old Chief says:
  199. AECP 1964 says:
  200. Lisa says:
  201. Don says:
  202. M Laurette Snider says:
  203. George L. Bilodeau says:
  204. LDT says:
  205. jerome says:
  206. chief1937 says:
  207. Adrienne says:
  208. Adrienne says:
  209. Old Chief says:
  210. guest says:
  211. Old Chief says:
  212. Old Chief says:
  213. Guest says:
  214. Madmaxx0 says:
  215. ITCS Ret says:
  216. Byron says:
  217. ITCS Ret says:
  218. ITCS Ret says:
  219. Guest says:
  220. Byron says: