The military compensation system urgently needs reforms. Military personnel costs are more than one-third of the Pentagon’s total spending. Military retirement costs more than $100 billion each year, but more than four out of five enlisted service members will receive no retirement benefits at all. The military health care system needs modernization, while the current military compensation and career structure is too inflexible to meet the needs of the future force.
Congress has begun to tackle military compensation reform, adopting several of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s recommendations into the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the annual defense authorization bill—including the recommendation to add a 401(k)-type plan for all service members and trimming the pension benefit—but there is still more to be done.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion about possible reforms and the political action necessary for sustaining a strong and resilient future force.
Rudy deLeon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; former Deputy Secretary of Defense
Hon. Alphonso Maldon Jr., Chairman of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission; former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management and Policy, 1999–2001
Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro (ret.), Founder of The Punaro Group; Chair of the Reserve Forces Policy Board
Phillip Carter, Senior Fellow, Counsel and Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security
Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; former Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations, and Logistics), 1981–1985
Katherine Blakeley, Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress