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Breaking the Faith

February 14, 2012

Military professionals earn unique long-term benefits as compensation for risk and hardship endured during their careers. This compensation includes lifetime access to quality health care1 and a no-risk, defined-benefit pension2 —both of which have proved for decades to be central to the readiness and retention of the All-Volunteer Force. New fees, fee hikes and more limited access to service providers have already slowly eroded the value of retirees’ deferred compensation over the years. However, the administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget request effectively phases out much of the value of retirees’ health care compensation over the next five years; further, it creates the conditions for the demise of the existing military pension system.