A recent article discussing a Defense Business Board proposal to change the military retirement pay plan seems to characterize the costs of paying retired military personnel as a budgetary burden. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
Guaranteed retirement benefits are essential to recruitment and retention in both the Active and Reserve Components. Retirement benefits are a covenant with our Soldiers.
Any erosion of retirement benefits, implied or actually promised, affects Soldier morale and can leave retirees with the impression that they have been betrayed. Soldiers earn, and deserve, a high quality retirement program for their selfless, dedicated service to our nation.
In today’s environment of persistent global conflict, it is imperative that existing retirement benefits are sustained and enhanced for both the Active and Reserve Components (RC) of the Army.
Both Active and RC Soldiers and units are being called upon repeatedly for myriad combat and support missions for extended periods, and it is essential that retirement programs further support the sacrifices they make.
The retirement system must ensure that all of those who serve are properly compensated, retained, and encouraged to complete their careers. We must ensure the benefits available to all Retired Soldiers and their Families are commensurate with the increased demands and sacrifices they endure on active duty.
Let me say this again. Our nation demands much from its military, and the retirement benefits in place are not gifts – they have been earned through blood, sweat, toil, repeated deployments, missed births, birthdays and anniversaries and sometimes loss of limbs or life.
Shifting the burden of our nation’s fiscal mess on to the backs of our military –less than one percent of our population who volunteer for decades of service in harm’s way defending our way of life – is morally bankrupt.
The richest nation on earth can afford to continue the current retirement system for those who defend it with a lifetime of service. As has been said time and again – defending freedom is not free.
AUSA will continue to tell Congress to take the target off the backs of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.