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Pentagon Says Military Retirement Not Root Cause of Rising Personnel Cost

Jo Ann Rooney

On Tuesday, Pentagon officials indicated that the military retirement system is not the sole driver behind the Defense Department’s increasing personnel costs and told Congress they would not recommend retirement changes, as reported by the Federal News Radio.

In July, the Defense Business Board issued a preliminary report recommending that the 20-year pension system be changed by converting the pension to something similar to a private-sector defined contribution plan.

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, rebutted accusations of the retirement system being too costly. She indicated that the system does appear expensive, but it is not unaffordable or out of control as has been suggested. She also indicated that most would not support a plan similar to 401 (k) plans found in the private sector.

“It generally takes 15 to 20 years to generate the next generation of infantry battalion commanders and submarine captains,” she said. “As a result, the department must ensure military compensation, promotions and personnel policies all foster greater retention and longer careers necessary to create these experienced leaders. This need for greater longevity and continuity suggests there are valid reasons why mirroring a private sector compensation package might not be a proper approach for the military.”


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