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Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011

No changes to military retirement anytime soon, officials say

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WASHINGTON — Military retirement isn’t going to change anytime soon, Defense Department officials said. “There’s no immediate plan to affect retirement,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told service members July 31 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said any changes to military retirement should be studied carefully and “grandfathered” so the military doesn’t break faith with those in the service.

Pentagon officials are reviewing all areas of the Defense budget, and the goal of the review is to “inform the decisions and strategies that we have to make,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Aug. 4.

“So that’s going to be key to what decisions we make and what areas we look to for savings,” the secretary added. In support of the department’s efficiency initiatives, a small group of Defense Business Board members was tasked to develop alternative plans to the current military retirement system. The group briefed its findings and draft recommendations to the full board during their July 21 quarterly meeting. The full board approved the recommendations, and the group will issue a final report by the end of this month.

The Defense Business Board provides DOD’s senior leaders independent advice and recommendations “on effective strategies for the implementation of best business practices on matters of interest to the Department of Defense,” according to Pentagon officials.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokeswoman said, officials are reviewing the board’s recommendations.

“Any recommendation to change the military retirement system must be approached with thoughtful analysis, to include considerations of impacts to recruiting and retention,” Eileen Lainez said. “While the military retirement system, as with all other compensation, is a fair subject of review for effectiveness and efficiency, no changes to the current retirement system have been approved, and no changes will be made without careful consideration for both the current force and the future force.”

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