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Old 08-12-2011, 05:36 PM   #41
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Well, the Air Force is already shedding lots of people - SERBs abound as well as separation boards......and they aren't necessarily issuing waivers after non-promotion for Majors.....very difficult time for many now.

As a Reservist with 25+ years in and now hoping to get my three years TIG for my last promotion and retire - I must say the stories are varied where I just drilled in LA....some just need to get that 20 year letter - others have bigger dreams. The younger cohort is interesting, but then again my cohort is as well (the ones that have stayed this long) - plus for the USAFR, there is a difference between the IMA and Unit programs....and how they are managed and the types of people they attract. Depends on your AFSC.

As for on topic of a retirement - I can see them slowly changing the retirement benefits....using some of the techniques they are using now for the personnel drawdown. As for motivation and/or retention, I don't know - I'd have to say the younger generation has some definitely different ways of looking at this - they can be much more aggressive and vocal about it and have many more expectations. Should be interesting. I also see them raising the TRICARE premiums as well as any co-pay or deductible limits.

I won't see a Reserve retirement until 2024 - 13 more years - sure hope I make it!
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:54 AM   #42
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There are very few officers in my unit who have less than 10 yos. I hear more and more talk about people planning to get out if the current system is abolished.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:28 AM   #43
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Attached is a slideshow which goes into a little more detail on the exact proposal, for those who haven't seen it. Lots of interesting changes or potential changes for the military lately--repeal of don't ask, don't tell; attempts to integrate females into direct ground combat MOSs, AFSCs, NECs or put in combat units below the brigade/regiment level; and massive potential changes to retirement and benefits, for example.
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File Type: pdf DBB_Military_Retirement_Final_Presentationpdf[1].pdf (476.6 KB, 14 views)
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:53 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATC KH View Post
Attached is a slideshow which goes into a little more detail on the exact proposal, for those who haven't seen it. Lots of interesting changes or potential changes for the military lately--repeal of don't ask, don't tell; attempts to integrate females into direct ground combat MOSs, AFSCs, NECs or put in combat units below the brigade/regiment level; and massive potential changes to retirement and benefits, for example.
I've been hesitant to comment on this thread, but the presentation really addressed all of my concerns as a civilian with a significant interest in military affairs. I hope proposals like these happen.

The statistic that really bothers me is that 83% of all military personal don't receive any type of retirement benefit. This to me is just horribly unfair.

I think of two soldiers, both entering the service after 9/11. The first is the young man who enlisted a year or two out of high school. He signed up in a patriotic spirit to be a rifleman, re-enlisted a couple of times overseas with a nice tax free re-enlistment bonus. He has had 5 tours overseas and been shot many times at and survived lots of near misses with IEDs. When his enlistment is up in 2013 or so there is decent chance that the Army won't need him and he may not even get a chance to reup. Sure the Army will mostly pay for his college education or trade school, but realistically he'll graduate in his mid 30s, with a distinguished service record but not much in the way of transferable skills in the civilian world.

The second soldier is computer science major who was on a ROTC scholarship (this could have been me 30 years ago.). Given the tremendous need for IT in the military, this officer only spent one year-long tour in Baghdad, only leaving the Green zone a couple of times.
With his computer science background he transferred to cybercommand
recently and will almost certainly have an opportunity to serve his 20 years and probably be able to start a second career after his 20 years if he desires.

Realistically the Army is right there is probably more demand for cyberwarriors than rifleman after 2013 and the shooting wars have really wound down. However, as a citizen I feel awful that infantryman is getting nothing to help for his retirement, and bit jealous of the IT officer.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:38 PM   #45
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Believe it or not, this presentation isn't even the final version. That's supposed to come out sometime this month, although I'm sure it'll be modified by the extensive "public commentary" it's receiving.
Here's a few more comments from the blog post:
Military retirement: the latest overhaul | Military Retirement & Financial Independence

Quote:
Page 5: “Military retirement funds are not able to be invested in higher yielding equities and bonds.”
If they were invested in other assets, how far would the higher returns go to resolve the perceived shortfall? We don’t have to privatize the funds, but I’ve heard that Treasury yields have recently shot up...

Quote:
Page 6: “DoD pays retirees 40 years of retirement benefits for 20 years of service.”
My calculations show that DoD expects to pay pensions until we’re at least 77 years old. How’s that compare to the life expectancy of the military retiree/veteran demographic? To be excruciatingly and actuarially thorough this study should include wounded veterans, servicemembers who are medically retired shortly before they die (usually of severe wounds), and servicemembers killed before reaching retirement eligibility. Do you civilian retirees have full-page mesothelioma ads in the back of your alumni magazine?

Quote:
Page 7: “It will be very difficult to release personnel with 15 or more years of service, yet these age groups are a likely target for downsizing.”
Uhm, guys, did you note all the TERA applications from 1996-97? How’d that program work out for DoD? Could we see a study of the costs & savings?

Quote:
Page 7: “The current system does not compensate for those in high-risk situations or extenuating circumstances (e.g., combat duty)…”
I’m not sure a higher retirement benefit would motivate me to volunteer for an extra combat tour, and I’d sure hate to serve combat duty alongside someone who’s motivated by that. Is this really a retirement problem, or is it adequately compensated by combat pay?

Quote:
Page 8: “There is no difference in retirement benefits between those who have served in high risk and low risk positions.”
What risk category would this plan have assigned to those on shore duty in the Pentagon on 11 September 2001? Is it “low risk” only if nothing bad happens?

My spouse, who was excluded by Congress from combat zones for the first 10 years of her career, has a few pithy personal opinions on this “low risk” issue. Her retirement benefits were also reduced quite a bit by being shut out from her community’s male promotion opportunities. Let’s just say that her highly public visibility in uniform made her much more of a target than my years of “run silent, run deep” submarine sea duty. Yet who got all the sea pay & sub pay? How does the DBB plan offer equal opportunity to women who are still banned from certain military specialties? In an apparently related coincidence, my spouse was also one of the 7% who transitioned to the Reserves between their 15th and 20th years of service (page 11).

Quote:
Page 13: “Establish a mandatory TSP program for all military service personnel.”
I think mandatory TSP enrollment should be enacted tomorrow. Why wait? Let's do it for workplace 401(k)s, too.

I’ll be fair. For those of us already in the service (or who’ve left it), on page 14 the DBB brief says:
Quote:
* “No impact on existing retired population”,
* “Fully disabled veterans not affected by new plan”, and on page 22,
* “For those with less than 20 years– proportional benefit under “old plan” if they stay for 20+ years”.
In other words, if you’re under 10 years of service then you presumably don’t care about retirement benefits (page 7) and if you’re over 10 years then you’ll preserve a healthy proportion of the existing system.

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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
I've been hesitant to comment on this thread, but the presentation really addressed all of my concerns as a civilian with a significant interest in military affairs. I hope proposals like these happen.
The statistic that really bothers me is that 83% of all military personal don't receive any type of retirement benefit. This to me is just horribly unfair.
Unfortunately it's not like we're throwing them all out. We're having the usual miserable time persuading them to stick around, although that number has dropped since 2004 when it was 85%.

It turns out that (big surprise) being a grunt is hard on the body (even without the gunshots & IEDs). Occupation makes a difference. The proportion of Air Force veterans who leave without retirement benefits is below 70%. The proportion of Marines who leave without retirement benefits is over 92%.

The reality is that servicemembers don't want to hang around for "cliff vesting". We veterans tell everyone not to join up for the retirement benefits, we mean it, and they believe it. Instead, for most the military is a McJob (admittedly with training on breaking things & killing people) that serves as a stepping stone for education and life skills to take to a bridge career.

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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
I think of two soldiers, both entering the service after 9/11. The first is the young man who enlisted a year or two out of high school. He signed up in a patriotic spirit to be a rifleman, re-enlisted a couple of times overseas with a nice tax free re-enlistment bonus. He has had 5 tours overseas and been shot many times at and survived lots of near misses with IEDs. When his enlistment is up in 2013 or so there is decent chance that the Army won't need him and he may not even get a chance to reup. Sure the Army will mostly pay for his college education or trade school, but realistically he'll graduate in his mid 30s, with a distinguished service record but not much in the way of transferable skills in the civilian world.
It depends on the civilian employers. There's a huge infrastructure of headhunters and career networks and civil service (largely invisible to civilians) for veterans who have had more leadership responsibility in their teens & 20s than most civilians have achieved in their 40s. A veteran will put up with appalling working conditions and still think they're getting a good deal. Even submariners and Air Force veterans!

It's all too common for veterans to be disabled with PTSD or injuries or other trauma. It's all too easy to be a 10-year cluckup in the armed forces and leave with minimal skills. But the vast majority who learn & use their benefits can get job skills, perhaps a college degree (either in the service or afterward with the GI Bill), and all the perseverance & commitment that an employer could want. Even "just a Marine rifleman" possesses all the skills he'll need to be the sales guy from hell.

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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
The second soldier is computer science major who was on a ROTC scholarship (this could have been me 30 years ago.).
Well, maybe except for the urinalysis...

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Realistically the Army is right there is probably more demand for cyberwarriors than rifleman after 2013 and the shooting wars have really wound down. However, as a citizen I feel awful that infantryman is getting nothing to help for his retirement, and bit jealous of the IT officer.
This is the third or fourth time in my life that I've heard of the end of war. It was over after WWII. It ended after Korea. It was finished forever after Vietnam. Remember the 1989 "end of history" and the 1991 "peace dividend"?

We've always needed that IT officer, just as we needed the cryptographers and intel analysts and linguists and logistics experts and combat engineers and communications engineers and other highly-trained specialists. One of my neighbors is a highly-trained "special projects" guy who'll be in high demand until he wants to quit.

But unfortunately, no matter how powerful our cyberskills and remote sensors, I think we'll always need that infantry grunt who can clomp over to the target, take charge, and verify that it really is destroyed & dead. Robert Heinlein was writing about that in Starship Troopers over five decades ago, and we'll probably be reading about it in the warfare doctrine manuals for another couple of centuries.

While the grunt may leave the military without a pension, at least these days she's leaving with a real GI Bill benefits, a TSP account, and (coming in 2012) a Roth TSP. Compare that to what the Vietnam vets had, or a crippled 1980s educational program called "VEAP". Today's veterans still have every opportunity to join the Reserves or National Guard to try to retain a little of the military culture until they finish those 20 "good years" and become eligible for some sort of pension.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:31 PM   #46
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Great post Nords! To my knowledge this has not really made the rounds yet other than the underground network. I will check with my AD counterparts to get their thoughts!

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Old 08-14-2011, 11:09 PM   #47
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Nice breakdown of many of the issues Nords.

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It turns out that (big surprise) being a grunt is hard on the body (even without the gunshots & IEDs). Occupation makes a difference. The proportion of Air Force veterans who leave without retirement benefits is below 70%. The proportion of Marines who leave without retirement benefits is over 92%.
Occupation definitely makes a difference. I was talking to a friend a couple months ago and he mentioned that within my previous career field prior to ATC there were only about 40 members with at least 15 years--out of a little over 1000 total members. Physical and combat related career fields definitely take a greater toll on the mind and body than other career fields.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
While the grunt may leave the military without a pension, at least these days she's leaving with a real GI Bill benefits, a TSP account, and (coming in 2012) a Roth TSP.
Not to take this off topic, but the reference to a grunt being female caught my attention. I'm not completely against the idea of females being in combat arms, but I wonder how they will deal with the most physical career fields or schools. For example, in my previous career field the final ruck march graduation requirement was 12 miles with a 95 lbs. ruck which when combined with other gear, weapon and water comprised a total weight of around 120+ lbs. My guess is the overwhelming amount of females would have trouble bearing this load, even after extensive training.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:00 AM   #48
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I'm not completely against the idea of females being in combat arms, but I wonder how they will deal with the most physical career fields or schools. For example, in my previous career field the final ruck march graduation requirement was 12 miles with a 95 lbs. ruck which when combined with other gear, weapon and water comprised a total weight of around 120+ lbs. My guess is the overwhelming amount of females would have trouble bearing this load, even after extensive training.
They'll have to do it by meeting the same standards as the guys.

We all know that some 6'3" 240# linebackers can barely get through the 12-mile march while other 5'7" 150# stringbeans will not only carry the 95-pound ruck but will haul extra ammo. Yet they're both wearing a Ranger tab.

Same thing for the women. The Army's going to have to figure out minimum standards (they've been experimenting with that at Ranger School for a number of years) and then just wait for the women who are strong enough (and motivated enough) to make the cut. I say "Army" because I'm afraid that the Marines and SEALs are going to let the Army take the initiative.

There's some concern that recovery time (from muscle fatigue as well as lack of sleep) depends on testosterone level. Otherwise I'm not aware of gender differences, and this one may be speculative. The military spouse of my nephew the Army Ranger is smaller and lighter than me, but she could snap my spine like a rotten twig. She certainly outsurfs him, too, and I'm only better on a longboard than her because I have more experience.

Women repeatedly test better in flight simulators than men. As flight hours accumulate, I suspect that the same will prove out in the fleet. And I sure hope it works out in the submarine force, because otherwise the nukes are going to have to reluctantly start serving with Republicans... and maybe even Raiders fans.
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:35 PM   #49
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The military doesn't have the same physical standards for men and women right now, so why would they start having the same standards once integrating women into combat units/career fields? There are certainly areas of combat where women have performed as well or better than many of their male counterparts--snipers, air defense artillery and as partisans during WWII, for example--but the typical female is going to be slower, weaker and less aggressive than the typical male. Why don't most sports--football, basketball, boxing, wrestling, MMA--have mixed gender teams or competitions from the college level upward?

Then you have the psychological impacts of women in combat: American males are raised to be protective of females, which may lead to bad tactical decisions based on this protective upbringing; relationships or love triangles may form which break the cohesion of a unit; mass images of severely wounded female veterans are likely to be more damaging to the nation's morale than severely wounded males.

I'm not vehemently opposed to women in direct ground combat roles, but I don't feel that some egalitarian political statement should be the reason for women in combat. Now if we have a meat grinder of a war like the Eastern Front during WWII, then it's likely we'll have to put women in some ground combat positions much like the Red Army.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:13 PM   #50
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OK so today I had to go back to my old office to do some work on the computer using my CAC card as I needed to digitally sign a form. I am on terminal leave for a while longer.

Two Captains from the Finance career field asked me about the proposed changes. They are at the 10-11 yr point and one has a line number to 0-4. In both cases they said if this is the case they will leave AD become an IMA so they can start a new career and give their spouses a chance to further their career. One said there is no way I am going to deploy for my 4th time for a 365 and come back for 8 more years of this mess only to get a smaller portion in retirement. Apparently the mid level NCOs feel the same way from what I was hearing from my peers. All were quiet sour on the TSP matching option saying that when they calculated it the NPV was really low.

I could see this really taking out the 03-04/E6-E7 level and creating a huge bathtub in the manning model. Both did acknowledge that if a change was going to happen this was the best chance given the bad economy. They both said though that the only people that would be left would be the ones that were scared or had no options.

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Old 08-15-2011, 07:44 PM   #51
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The military doesn't have the same physical standards for men and women right now, so why would they start having the same standards once integrating women into combat units/career fields? There are certainly areas of combat where women have performed as well or better than many of their male counterparts--snipers, air defense artillery and as partisans during WWII, for example--but the typical female is going to be slower, weaker and less aggressive than the typical male.
It's possible you may have misinterpreted my point.

I don't remember the details, but in the early days of integrating women into Navy aviation I thought there were rumbles of relaxed standards. Yet the aircraft shouldn't care about the gender of the pilot. Reducing standards under the philosophy of "girls are weaker" is not the right approach. The standards would be the minimum acceptable to safely accomplish the mission regardless of gender.

I think it should be the same for physical career fields. The women should be held to the same minimum physical standards as the men. Yes, the typical female will be slower, weaker, and less aggressive than the typical male. However the community wouldn't be looking for typical men, typical women, or typical purple people eaters. They'd be looking for outstanding (and motivated) candidates who could meet the same minimum physical standards that all members of that community had to meet. A woman might have to be the top 1% of her gender to perform at the same level as the top 10% of the males, but who cares about the relative ranking if she can do the job? I bet that 1% woman is also more motivated & committed than the 9.99% males.

There are many more men who are qualified to be submariners than women. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately) most of those men have chosen to do other things. That leaves room in the submarine force for women volunteers who also meet the minimum requirements and are much more motivated than the men. I've served in the submarine force with (male) officers who were "drafted", and it was not fun.

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Why don't most sports--football, basketball, boxing, wrestling, MMA--have mixed gender teams or competitions from the college level upward?
I think that in most cases it's blatant discrimination. Look at the differences in men & women's surfing.

It'd be interesting to watch a top women's team (of just about any professional sport) take on a lower-ranked men's team. It'd be just like watching a top college team (of either gender) take on a professional minor-league team. Unfortunately the (male-dominated) sports-media business thinks no one would pay to watch the competition, or buy ads during it.

I've watched women compete against men in taekwondo, where the sparring classes are based on age & weight. I've seen quite a few women kick the assets and heads of those men, too. There are a couple women in my dojang who weigh 60 pounds (33%) less than me, and I wouldn't take them on in a match unless we were allowed to go for knockout head shots. Otherwise I'd lose the match by at least seven points.

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Then you have the psychological impacts of women in combat: American males are raised to be protective of females, which may lead to bad tactical decisions based on this protective upbringing; relationships or love triangles may form which break the cohesion of a unit
Heh... I've served with quite a few gay servicemembers (so has my spouse) and never observed this problem among the guys or the women. Everyone's managed to be professional about it. Why should it change when women join the community? And are we supposed to lock women out of a community because the men can't be professional about it? This reminds me of the submarine admiral (long since retired) who said "No, we can't have women in the submarine force, because the wives' clubs would never put up with it."

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... mass images of severely wounded female veterans are likely to be more damaging to the nation's morale than severely wounded males.
The logic here sounds like "Well, we shouldn't put the best people on the job because it wouldn't play well to the American media." Or again, we shouldn't do something with our "A" teams because someone else couldn't handle it in a professional manner.

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I'm not vehemently opposed to women in direct ground combat roles, but I don't feel that some egalitarian political statement should be the reason for women in combat.
I agree-- it shouldn't be a social experiment. It's all about finding qualified candidates... and retaining them. In 2007 the submarine force's retention of junior officers was about 6%. Kinda hard to maintain the quality of department heads, XOs, & COs when you only start with six out of every hundred. I've served with that type of retention, too, and it was even uglier than the guys who were drafted. At least the draftees were smart, if not necessarily motivated.

As Gumby mentioned in an earlier thread, one of the difficulties of integrating women into the submarine force is finding enough women who were dropped on their heads as infants think that joining the submarine force is a good idea. My daughter does not like hearing that she's a candidate for a community mainly because it's a job which no one else wants. I tell her that it's good training for someday being a civil engineer in charge of a sewage system.

One of my USNA classmates was Eddie Meyers, the pro football player. A few decades later his daughter made the women's Olympic bobsled team. I can't imagine Eddie telling his daughter that she couldn't do something in the military because she's not good enough... what would you tell your daughter?
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:00 PM   #52
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Ah, the public has spoken, and now it's time for the back-pedaling spin-control clarifications to begin:
http://militaryadvantage.military.co...-anytime-soon/
Quote:
An Armed Forces Press Service report cites assurances made to servicemembers at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in late July by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and statements by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in early August.

Adm. Mullen told troops that there is “no immediate plan to affect retirement” and any changes to military retirement should be studied carefully and should be “grandfathered” so the military doesn’t break faith with those in the service.

In a possible attempt to calm the reaction, Secretary Panetta said that the proposals to change military retirement are only being used to “inform the decisions and strategies.”

Pentagon spokeswoman, Eileen Lainez, 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,” 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 sys*tem have been approved, and no changes will be made without careful consideration for both the current force and the future force.”
Still waiting on the Defense Business Board's final brief sometime this month...
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