Behind the Cover: The plan to overhaul military retirement


Listen up, Marines!

This week’s cover story is a must-read for all — from the lowliest privates to tomorrow’s general officers. Marine Corps Times Pentagon correspondent Andrew Tilghman lays out in stark detail an aggressive new plan to revamp the military retirement system, one that would dump today’s 20-year model in favor of something akin to a corporate 401(k).

The proposal, pitched by an influential Pentagon advisory board, calls for everyone to receive at least some retirement cash when they leave the service. Even Marines who complete just one enlistment and get out as lance corporals would clear about $20,000.

Career-mind troops planning to stay in for 20 years or more would take a massive hit, however. Replacing the current pension system with a civilian-style 401(k) would result in retirement packages worth hundreds of thousands of dollars less, on average, according to the Defense Business Board’s plan.

Also in this week’s print edition, senior staff writer Dan Lamothe outlines two abrupt announcements from Marine Corps headquarters: one freezing housing allowance requests for single NCOs and below; the other implementing new top-end service limits for sergeants. Both changes mean that day-to-day life is about to change drastically for the Corps’ junior leaders.

To read up on these and other important stories, pick up a copy of this week’s Marine Corps Times — on newsstands now. Or you can subscribe online here and get instant access to our digital edition.


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  1. Military retirement is not an Entitlement, it was earned! The benefits aren’t some kind of charity or handout! Congressional benefits = free health care, outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days – now THAT’S welfare. And Congress has the nerve to call a Military retirement an Entitlement? I am sick of their stuff, and ashamed of our “leaders”!!

  2. Sal,

    quit copying and pasting crap from your friends facebook posts. Contact your state reps and quit with the whining without doing anything. Thanks.

  3. Great comment Sal, if any pay and entitlements are under scrutiny it should be Congress. We work hard and earn our retirement benefits and they have the nerve to threaten a change at a time when they’re asking us to do more. If they changed the retirement today, I would start my paperwork to get out tomorrow. I didn’t join for the retirement, but if they take it, it shows a disregard for today’s service members and don’t take into account the sacrifices we make on a daily basis.

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