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Old 09-10-2009, 01:05 PM   #81
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None of the people you listed are in a traditional "non-combat role", they are in combat related positions. I'm not familiar with the weapons Sgt so I can't speak to that position.
The positions I listed were some of the specialties that make up Army Special Forces (Green Berets).

"Special Forces groups are organized in small teams of 12 men — a.k.a. Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA). A typical Green Berets Team structure usually consists of two each of the following: Weapons Sergeants, Communications Sergeants, Medical Sergeants and Engineering Sergeants. A Commander, Assistant Commander (Warrant Officer), Operations/Intelligence Sergeant and Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) complete the team. These teams can change according to the type of mission." From GoArmy.com > Special Forces > Team Members

Although a Special Forces Medical Sergeant has extensive medical training, for the purposes of the Geneva Conventions he is considered a legal combatant. This is in contrast to other medical personnel, including line field medics, who are considered non combatants. Pararescuemen are also considered combatants.

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Oh yeah, welcome to posting.
Thanks, I'll have to post an introduction sometime but for now I am a young dreamer, 27.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:23 PM   #82
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Here's another thought to consider. The typical AEGIS cruiser or destroyer being commissioned today will last for over 30 years and require several billions of upkeep & payroll. Yet during those 30 years it may never fire a shot in anger and will probably never destroy several billion$ of other lives or property. Its sunk costs (or its potential value) was not achieved by an equivalent value in goods & services. By that standard it's a waste of money.

...

I have not been in this thread for a long time... just up to here and reading... some interesting posts....

As for this part of a comment... this is one of those arguments that does not mean much in the pension debate... I think a lot of our military spending was spent not to get into a war... because it was cheaper to have the ability to destroy an enemy 100 times over and not have a war than to not have that ability and have a war.....

How much has been spent on nuclear weapons... both strategic and tatical? We have only used two in war... but when the cold war was in full swing it was cheaper than not having them and seeing if there was a 'winable' nuclear war...
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:12 PM   #83
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City clerical workers are not part of the same pension that police officers are in any city Ive ever heard of, so Im not sure where that came from.

.

The city plan for Houston is pretty good... but I bet is far behind some of the more liberal cities up north...
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:20 PM   #84
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I would like to address the 'fear of being laid off' comment. Anyone that has been in the service knows that this threat exist in the military. For an officer, if he does not make O4, he will be forced out, and 05's also had a mandatory retirement age when I was in. General Officers are, I believe, are the only Officers that can serve beyond 30 years. Now you may be of the school that says 'well 30 years is long enough', but many of the general officers would be glad to continue beyond this point if they could. I am not aware of a single company that has an 'up or out promotion system' similar to the military. The air lines are close with a mandatory retirement age for pilots. It is as if your firm hired 100 accountants and said 'no matter how good you are, only 75% of you can stay with the company' till retirement.

I am not saying the system should not exist as it does. It was put in by Eisenhower after WWII to force senior officers and enlisted to retire. I am just saying that the fear of layoff does exist in the military, maybe not to the extent in the civilian work force but it is still there.
My bold..... but take a look at the major accounting firms.... all are 'up or out'... it does not matter how good you are... they cull the group every year to the level they want.... no exceptions I have ever heard of...

And BTW, I think less than 10% actually make it all the way to retirement in the firm... so 75% would be a big surprise...
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:33 PM   #85
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I think a plan that would have the least effect on force levels is to increase the retirement age. For instants, pilots retire from the service at 20 years, age 42-44, on average, and go to the airlines for another 20 years. It is not more strenuous to fly an C-5 than a 747. Well a little if a combat zone is in the picture, but still the same qualifications are required. As the services become more technical and less physical, as folks live longer, and healthier, it would appear that retirement at 25 years would work just as well as 20. Many General Officers stay past 30 years and are productive. It may be that some specialty codes would have a lower retirement age, and just like bonuses these could be recognized and adjusted.

You may also be able to phase it in rather than grandfathering the entire force. I think the younger troops are more interested in current pay and benefits than retirement. About the 10 year point folks begin to focus on retirement, past 15 years many become myopic.

So while I think things may change, I think there are things that can be done that do not have as much impact as others might.

Well, I was waiting to post a bit about this... but thought I would after reading this...

Not all jobs in the military are 'military'.... heck, there are a lot of people who never leave the USA... to me, there is a difference in someone who is a desk jockey that is in the military than someone who hussles with a rifle or even flying a jet.... and even if you do leave the US, you might get stationed in Germany or Japan where life is a lot different than Iraq...

My point is that someone who is not 'fighting' is closer to a civilian job than a military one... but the retirement system treats them the same..

I am one who does not think someone should get a pension at 38 even if they were on the front line... this includes military, police and fire fighters
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:37 PM   #86
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Rustic--while you do bring up an interesting point about technology, I think it ignores the basic fact that in most military jobs you are in fact a rifleman first (whether the service agrees or not). The Navy might be the exception, since they are not likely to be attack by ground forces in the middle of the ocean, but they have equally arduous duty, that requires them to maintain a minimal level of fitness. That is my position, fitness. It doesn't matter how carefully you train, if you are training hard enough to be in relatively decent enough shape to go to war, you will most likely suffer lasting injuries (most likely through accidents). Add to that the marginal medical care received at military hospitals and the formula for lasting physical injuries is developed. I had the saying while in, that I really didn't want to serve past 20 years, only because my body wouldn't last that long. At this point I know I was and still am on track to wanting to call it quits after 20 years, not likely to happen since I'm not in the military any longer, but I still have to maintain a high level of fitness. That level of fitness is becoming more and more painful to maintain due, in part, to some of the injuries I suffered while serving.

I would have no problem with the government going to a retirement program for the military similar, if not the same, to the 6(c)/12(d)retirement offered to federal civilian law enforcement, fire fighters, other high risk federal jobs. It allows for 25 and out, or 20 years service and I think it's 52 years old. I don't know what the difference in cost would be, but I don't think the military members should have to pay for the pension side of it.
To me, another argument that does not hold water... my BIL worked on a road crew for about 18 years... and it beat up his body big time... now, he will get a nice pension as he did work for the government, but talking about damage done to the body only due to military duty does not make a good argument IMO...

Also, have you been in construction? Reroofing houses? Concrete work? All are hard on bodies... none have a good retirement system... I am sure there are other jobs that would qualify....
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:39 PM   #87
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Actually, and I have absolutely no statistics to back this up, I think that you may find that the majority of the folks in uniform are not direct combat related. (I was looking for a term other than rifleman). When you take into account the number of troops it takes to support each combat troop, I think far more of our service members are in the support role. I admit I come from an AF background and very few in the AF are in direct combat related specialties. However, that is why I said some adjustment would have to be made for combat arms. However, and once more not my field, it seems that the junior enlisted, NCO's and Officers are the ones doing the physical stuff in combat. While some senior officers may have strenuous jobs very few generals are charging a hill with a gun.

Wow... missed in by a few posts... but what I was thinking....
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:57 PM   #88
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Leonidas, I'll bring the popcorn if you'll bring the sea stories...
Yeah, I saw this one coming but then I lightened up on my forum reading for a few days and looked what happened. The Zoomies have commenced to warring with one another and all comers.

I'm thinking we stay out of this one for the moment. I hit the 7-day store on the way out from mainside so we have some adult beverages to wash the popcorn down. My vote is we sit in the bleachers and watch this one.

In a low voice to Nords: (I could say something like every Marine is a rifleman first and last, but that would just be mean).
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:28 PM   #89
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Recently I was at one of the Air Forces Pilot Training bases. It appeared the majority of the jobs in maintenance were being done by civilians, and many appeared to be old enough to be retired military. I also suspect it would be cheaper, overall, to have kept them on active duty, than pay retirement, contract salaries, and contract overhead.
I spent the final eight years of my 20 at training commands, which is where the cutting always begins-- budget, personnel, material, you name it, the training commands are judged to have too much of it and should give some of it up to support any "higher priority" military objective. Sometimes it's the correct thing to do.

Major projects of that time were the concepts of "regionalization" and "outsourcing". (These terms are in quotes because they're not real words.) I spent months with veterans hired by KPMG and other consultants to study the issues and run the numbers.

Know why it was so much cheaper to hire contractors? Because the contracting company doesn't have to account for pension costs like the military does, and because (also unlike the military) they can underbid the contract in hopes of making a profit later.

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I am one who does not think someone should get a pension at 38 even if they were on the front line... this includes military, police and fire fighters
You'll have to understand our skepticism while we await your retention data.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:22 AM   #90
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To me, another argument that does not hold water... my BIL worked on a road crew for about 18 years... and it beat up his body big time... now, he will get a nice pension as he did work for the government, but talking about damage done to the body only due to military duty does not make a good argument IMO...

Also, have you been in construction? Reroofing houses? Concrete work? All are hard on bodies... none have a good retirement system... I am sure there are other jobs that would qualify....
To me this argument doesn't make much sense. Just because one sector doesn't have a good retirement plan or pay isn't a good reason to deny another sector a good retirement and pay. I think the reason most construction jobs don't have good pay and benefits is the relatively low skill for most of the positions. I'm not saying that all of the job are low skill, but many are, which bleed over to the other job types in the sector. An example, would be rough construction usually has many errors in it, but none are in danger of causing structural integrity issues so they are allowed to stand. The finish construction workers get paid more because they can't have any major errors or the project will look bad, even if it is structurally sound. Also add in that many illegals work in the construction fields bringing pay and benefits down even more and you have the perfect storm for low pay and benefits.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:30 AM   #91
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Yeah, I saw this one coming but then I lightened up on my forum reading for a few days and looked what happened. The Zoomies have commenced to warring with one another and all comers.

I'm thinking we stay out of this one for the moment. I hit the 7-day store on the way out from mainside so we have some adult beverages to wash the popcorn down. My vote is we sit in the bleachers and watch this one.

In a low voice to Nords: (I could say something like every Marine is a rifleman first and last, but that would just be mean).
I think that discussion has played out.
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:25 PM   #92
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You'll have to understand our skepticism while we await your retention data.

I would prefer to pay people a more normal wage than continue to pay for them for 50 years (maybe more, maybe less) and not get anything....

I also would like to see where the retention data is showing that getting a pension at 50 (or 55) would mean everybody is heading for the door...
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:32 PM   #93
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You'll have to understand our skepticism while we await your retention data.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is the argument in one sentence.

Communities, cities, societies and nations have always been faced with threats - invasion, insurrection, fires, floods, criminals - that have to be dealt with. Those threats, until relatively recent times, were always met by ordinary citizens putting down the tools of their trade and picking up a weapon or a bucket and going off to protect their homes and families. It was incumbent on all able-bodied citizens to answer the call and stay until the job was complete.

Those threats still come every day and survival mandates responses as it always has. But, at least in most places, there is no longer an obligatory general response from the citizenry. You don't have to get out of bed at 0300 to go douse the big warehouse fire across town. When the bank across from your office gets robbed, you and all the other CPAs don't have to jump up from your desks, grab a weapon, and waddle off in pursuit with everyone else who heard the hue and cry.

To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, there are walls in this world that have to be guarded by men with guns. Who is going to do it?

Our decision has been to create professional full-time forces to respond to these threats. It makes a heck of a lot of sense if you think about it. The threats have become more complex, and the responses require some skill sets that take years to acquire. Plus, would you want to drive across the bridge designed by some guy who, on the day he did the critical calculations, was half-asleep because he was up all night putting out a fire?

These jobs are, to a varying extent, sacred obligations. But once we start paying people to do them we have also made it a question of how much is it worth.

What is it worth to us to be able to run out of a burning building while some other man runs in? And, what is it worth to him?

And how much is it worth to you, that when somebody does show up to protect you, your family, or your possessions from danger; that they are damn good at what they do? We aren't just paying people to take risks, we are paying people to be competent and for them to organize, train and equip themselves to be effective at confronting things that threaten us.

It's that latter question that brings up retention and the "up" or "out" philosophies. It also brings up why people who aren't on the front lines are vital to these forces.

Somebody has to make sure that when the troops on the line show up they have the right training, competent and experienced leadership, the proper equipment, and finally, someone to orchestrate how all the elements come together to accomplish the mission. The people on the line have to have confidence in their training, equipment and leadership. Because if they don't, the response to, "Get out of that ditch, move forward and fire on that position!" is liable to be "screw you!" The response to that 0300 call of, "They're opening evacuation shelters across the city and we're providing the security. I need you to report at 0600" is liable to be, "And whose going to protect my family while I'm screwing around with a bunch of people I don't know?"

You're not just paying for the 19 year-old rifleman to be on the line, or the 23 year-old rookie firefighter to walk up the stairs of a burning building. You're also paying for all those 30 to 40 year-old veterans who knew where and when to send them, knew what gear they needed, and knew how to teach them what to do when they got there. And don't forget that you're also paying those leaders and commanders to have what it takes to inspire the confidence of those young kids to want to get up on their feet and move forward toward danger when the leader says "charge".

There are a lot of reasons why teenagers and 20-somethings show up to do these jobs. But they all eventually grow up and have families and the other trappings of adulthood that require money to take care of. There comes a time for all of them when they have to decide if staying makes financial sense. You can hook them with the salary, benefits or pension, or any combination of those, but you have to pay for the whole package.

You are free to make whatever offer you think is appropriate. And I am free to accept your offer or go elsewhere.

My decision to stay came down to the quality of the pension. If the pension had not been there, or was of lesser quality, than I would have expected more in salary and benefits. And if my employer was not willing to make the compensation package attractive enough, I would have had to make the decision to leave.

You can decide to pay whatever you want and somebody will show up. There are people in this world who would pay you to get a shot at the power and access that some of these jobs come with. My only response to that is: good luck with your employees if that is the route you take.

Some of the discussion on comparing combat roles vs non-combat and then on to similar civilian occupations got far afield and more than a little ridiculous. You may have a problem understanding why someone who spends their days doing the same sort of office crap that you do would receive anything better than you get.

Simple reason: Nobody is ever going to come into your office and order you to go draw your weapon and deuce gear because "we're filling holes in the line." I can't think of a war this country has fought, in which there wasn't at least one battle when the cooks and clerks were issued weapons and put into the fray. Rare and extreme? Yes, but still they are trained, equipped and prepared to pick up a weapon and stand a post.

Where do you think all of the extra cops come from when a natural disaster strikes, the looters run amok, or there is a credible terrorist threat to infrastructure? We don't have extra street cops laying around in storage. No, we stop all but the most vital admin work and put all those folks into uniforms and out on the streets.

If we try to differentiate who is more worthy based not on what they were ready to do in our defense, but what their actual experience was, it quickly becomes ridiculous. Does the artillery get a delayed pension because they weren't as close to the line as the infantry? Do the guys in the 7th Marines get a delayed pension because there were fewer enemy in their AO? Does L/Cpl Jones get a delayed pension because fewer enemy bullets came close to him as compared to PFC Smith?

If someone joins the military and is prepared and willing to go into harms way to protect the rest of us, I won't question that commitment if the worst danger they are ever actually exposed to is a paper cut. Even if someone enlists and spends twenty years in the most demanding combat capable unit you can imagine, but never actually participates in an engagement against an enemy, I would not think any less of them or believe them less deserving than any other service member. And while I might question the sanity of someone who spends years floating around in a radioactive submersible phallic symbol, I am grateful for all of those submariners who went out ready and armed to the teeth, but, thank God, never had to fire an actual war shot.

Lastly, I don't know about the others here who have stood on this side of the question, but I'm getting tired of the continued attempts to compare military/public safety benefits to the private sector. Somebody always puts forth a not-so-subtle, "it's not fair" argument. Which often sounds a lot like, "if I'm not entitled to it, then nobody is". It makes me want to channel my inner Colonel Jessup:
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I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:39 PM   #94
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Wow!

I wish we could get that posted on this guy's web page...
www.pensiontsunami.com

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Old 09-11-2009, 05:25 PM   #95
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Leonidas...

A well written post.... and I agree with some and disagree with some (who would have thunk?)...

Where I live, the ambulance service and firefighting IS provided by a volunteer group. And we have a better service than some places that pay for this service.... now, don't get me wrong... I think people who do this should be paid to do it.

Now, let's talk about taking skills to another job. If you learn how to be a policeman or a firefighter, then you have chosen a career that leads you to be somewhere is law enforcement or firefighting. Just like someone who teaches usually is a teacher for a long time (yes, this discounts burnout etc., which all of these professions have). I decided to be an accountant. Well, guess what... I look for jobs in accounting... so if that policeman or firefighter can take his skill set to another location or another career that pays more and he is happy.... so be it... that is the supply and demand equation...

What I do not want to have is a system of kicking the can down the road... promissing a great retirement after you work here X number of years etc.... if you are worth $50K, then pay $50K... if it is $75K... well, pay $75K... what we have now is to pay X today with a promise to pay Y in a few years... but this Y is adjusted for inflation and does not have anything to do with the service provided... (meaning that if you worked 20 years and died prior to getting a pension... you got nothing... but if you lived to be 115... you got a LOT)... so, why do we have this huge difference in cost of policing and firefighting

I have seen where the police commissioner got hundreds of thousands of dollars INCREASE in his pension plan because of some raise or something else he had for only a few days... (it happened in Houston a few years back... can not remember the details)....


As for the military.... the salary is not the only thing the people get... they are TRAINED with some skills. I remember back when that someone on a news show said it cost over $1 million to train a fighter pilot... that is a valuable asset the person received... he can take that skill somewhere else and earn money, or choose to use it where he is... again, he is free to choose... all I am saying is there is some perverse costs to the public to keep him there the last few years with a huge pension... it probably would cost less if we just paid him a good wage and had a normal pension... or, should I say it.... like most private sector people they save for their own retirement?

To sum up.... pension costs are higher than paying a real wage IMO... cut pensions down and increse wages... you would keep a lot of people and the total lifetime cost would likely be lower...
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:10 PM   #96
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Well, after Leonidas' post I feel like a 40-year-old third-string minor-league relief pitcher coming into the eighth inning to protect a 12-run lead. But let me answer your comments lest you feel I've abandoned the discussion.

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I would prefer to pay people a more normal wage than continue to pay for them for 50 years (maybe more, maybe less) and not get anything....
If it's any consolation, buried deep in the boilerplate of my retirement papers (and in my spouse's Navy Reserve retirement papers too) is a caveat that we're subject to recall to active duty at the President's request. There have been plenty of voluntary recalls out of military retirement in the last eight years, of course, but this would be involuntary.

You don't want to be coping with a world that needs me to be recalled to active duty. Although if wars are won by pissed-off warriors, I would personally ensure that this one would be very short indeed.

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I also would like to see where the retention data is showing that getting a pension at 50 (or 55) would mean everybody is heading for the door...
There's really only one way to verify that retention would plummet under an age 50-55 pension. But here are some examples that came close to making that mistake:
1. The Reagan pay raise. When the draft stopped in 1973, pay/benefits did not keep up with the civilian sector. Us older vets can tell stories of the drinking, the drugs, the misconduct, and the general post-Vietnam hangover that took place for the rest of the 1970s. Norfolk Naval Base used to run a shuttle-bus service to take families downtown to file for food stamps and other subsidy programs.

One morning in the first few months of the Reagan administration, when I was just an itty-bitty little midshipman, I found myself getting paid 25% more to go to school. The Soviets weren't too impressed with our spending on the nuclear arsenal, but they knew they couldn't keep up with our payroll. It sent a terrifying signal that the Cold War was getting harsher. We couldn't beat them at attrition but we had bigger pay, higher morale, and better training-- and we could easily wait them out. U.S. military retention soared along with the quality of the recruits. Note that the economy had sucked since at least 1974 but neither retention nor recruiting had jumped up before this. Even though the economy started to recover during the latter half of the 80s, retention & recruiting stayed strong.

2. REDUX. This was the biggest "overhaul" of the retirement system since WWII. When passed in 1986, it dropped 20-year retirements to 40% of base pay (instead of 50%) and COLAs were 1% below CPI (instead of COLA=CPI). The COLA was reset with a "catch up" one time at age 62 but then reverted to CPI-1% afterward. To encourage troops to stay on active duty longer, the REDUX retirement percentage ramped up to 75% at 30 years, same as the earlier system.

As REDUX began to dig in during the 1990s, the Cold War ended and the U.S. economy took off. The military downsized and every politician was licking their lips over the "peace dividend". Junior enlisted/officers were paid to go home and seniors (protected by an earlier retirement system) were subject to involuntary "selected early retirement boards" to "clear out the deadwood". Careers vaporized overnight-- in 1987 my yeargroup was practically guaranteed selection for XO and command, and less than five years later that "opportunity" was down to 40%. Spouse and I were attending at least one retirement ceremony a week for months. Some commands held them en masse to reduce the time taken away from the workday.

During that environment, people started publicizing the difference in the REDUX numbers. It was clear that pay/benefits were no longer keeping up with the "new economy". Retention got so bad that those warlords of backstabbing interservice rivalry, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, actually held hands and sang in four-part harmony in front of Congress to "fix" the retirement system. In the late 1990s, when troops were offered a return to the old system, retention skyrocketed blah blah blah.

3. During the late '90s, one Navy initiative to improve recruiting was to boost the number of sailors on duty at recruiting commands. BUPERS screened all sailors rotating to shore for recruiting duty. The "problem" with this policy was that it effectively wiped out the chance to go to instructor duty, or at least left the training commands with the dregs who couldn't qualify for recruiting. So in a double whammy, the Navy started chasing hot teenagers while making its second-term enlisted/officers feel unloved and depriving the rest of the service of quality training. The low point was when recruiting commercials were turned over to Spike Lee (the movie director). His tour de force was an ad that showed junior enlisted sailors forming a band and jamming on the flight deck of a carrier. The ad was greeted with widespread derision not only by the active duty forces ("Join the Navy, see the band!") but by cynical teens who didn't like being pandered to. That was the best Navy marketing he could come up with, and the ad cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (at least $100K of which went to ol' Spike). Some claimed that Spike's contract was funded by the Air Force and the Army.

When the new admiral took over recruiting and found out how much money was going to commercials and recruiting commands, it was costing the Navy $50K to sign up each recruit. He said "Why don't we stop chasing recruits and pay that money to our sailors?" It was the beginning of huge re-enlistment bonuses, targeted pay raises to certain ranks, and long-term bonus contracts for officers. Retention skyrocketed, blah blah blah.

4. When Navy Reservists reach 20 years of eligibility, they have two choices. They can resign (which means they cannot be recalled) and they'll receive a pension at age 60. The pension is a percentage of the rank they held at retirement and their total number of drill points. The caveat is that by resigning, the pension would be based on the pay scale in effect at the time they resigned. This means that inflation would work on their pension for 20 years even before they received it.

Or a Navy Reservist can file for "retired awaiting pay" status. This puts them about four steps short of an actual active-duty mobilization but leaves them subject to involuntary mobilization. In exchange for hoping that peace breaks out all over, their pension would still be based on a percentage of their retirement rank and their drill points. However their pay scale would be the maximum longevity at that rank (for example O-5 at 28 years of service instead of O-5 at 24) and the pay scale used would be the one in effect when they turned age 60, not the one in effect when they filed for retirement.

I have never ever even heard of a Navy Reservist resigning instead of retiring awaiting pay.

5. When war broke out in 2001, the Army began imposing "stop loss" on thousands of soldiers. The Air Force & Navy followed suit, although to a lesser extent. Despite a pay, benefits, and retirement system that you appear to characterize as "overly generous", it still wasn't enough to persuade people to override their survival instincts and stick it out for 20. Again it's taken several years of higher pay raises, bonuses, and other incentives (as well as slightly lowering recruiting standards) to persuade people to stay in uniform.

Over decades since the draft ended, the only factor to have both a positive and a negative effect on retention & recruiting has been money. It's not the economy, it's not the difference between war/peace, and it's not the cool uniforms. It's how much people are paid (or not) and how well they can see the retirees being treated.

From a civilian perspective, don't think of it as "not getting anything for 50 years". Consider it five decades of the cheapest comprehensive insurance that you'll ever be able to purchase. You'll be happy to never file a claim.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:23 PM   #97
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Leonidas:

That was one of the finest posts I have ever read on this forum.

Thank you,

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Old 09-12-2009, 12:37 AM   #98
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Nords...

Very nice post also... and some learning with it...

First, even in your post you said that at one time instead of paying for recruits they decided to raise the pay and people stayed... well, that is what I am saying... raise the pay for people you need... lower it (or keep it the same) for skills you do not need....

This might not be true at all..... but why would a cook or a supply clerk get the same pay as someone on sonar or some other 'skill'... (I am being careful here as I am not sure what skills are in demand... I knew someone who worked on a sub who had skills which he took to the private sector... in electrical generation... so I will leave this very general...)...

But what I am trying to say is that not all jobs should be paid the same... because some skills are harder to find than others... but the military seems to say they are all the same (except from what I remember when it is time to get out and they need you and bribe you with a retention bonus)... So, pay the rate you need to keep the people in place... this might mean raising their pay by 100%.... but if that is what it takes.. pay it.... don't back end the whole thing with a pension that we do not put any money aside... where we do not know the total cost... where we can decide if we want that insurance or not (of having a strong or weak military).. because we know the true costs...

As you might be able to tell, I was a cost accountant... and the pension number is something that is hard to quantify.... if you tell me how many people are needed to be on a sub... how long they are out... how often it gets retrofitted... etc... you can say it cost X for 30 years... but the harder number is the pensions for all those guys... even with knowing the current life expectancies..... because medicine has a way of keeping people alive longer... what if they discovered a drug tomorrow that would keep most people alive and in good health until 115... kind of makes the cost of pensions a big number does it not

You mention the ability of being called back to service... this is a strong reason I can see for the pension... but are you not in the reserves at this time? Are you not paid to be in the reserves? I really don't know... so I am asking... BTW, I am not a fan of all the recalls on the reserves for this war... I am sorry, but if we can not pay for a standing army that is able to do what I consider to be two minor wars, what would happen if there was a big one? And I am not a fan of sending out the army for as often and as long as they have.... but this is another subject, so I will let it go...


BTW, I knew a lot of people who went into the military from HS... I was in NJROTC... not a lot were at the top of the class... they learned a skill and were paid better than other jobs they could get.... but most of them were either druggies or became druggies when they were in... I stopped talking to all except one... but I stopped talking to him for a few years even after he got out until he cleaned up... he told me about how the various people got high on the sub... and he did also... but also said that if they got caught they were booted out... (OH, BTW, he said their cook was gay, but nobody cared because he was a good cook.... this before don't ask, don't tell)....
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:48 AM   #99
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One more comment on this... separate as it has a different idea...

I think the military and the police and firefighters are very different... so I try and keep my comments separate...

From what I see, most people who go into the military are going in to get a skill... one that will get them a good job in the future... they are giving up something for not having to pay for getting this skill... it is only later that they decide to make it a career... (please read... not everyone.. but most... or over 50%)...

Most people who go into policing or firefighting are making a decision that this IS their career... they are not going in to learn a skill which they will take somewhere else... they have looked at the career path and have decided that is the direction they want to take... maybe they will make it up the food chain to the top... or somewhere in the middle, but they chose to be in policing or firefighting and not another career... so the decision making is made up front... not after a 4, 7 or 10 year tour...

Also, military does not have many employers... the other does... lots of communities that you can move to and use your skills... some with good pay and benefits, some not...

So to me, talking like military and the other two are the same in decision making is not cutting it for me....
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:08 AM   #100
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Nords--Good post. I jumped ship after 10 years of service. There were three basic reasons. The quality of recruits was horrible. I would talk with the old man, who served 24 years then retired. Many of the complaints I had were the same he had when he was in. That told me things weren't going to get any better. And finally the last straw was talking with the old man about retirement. What he had been promised and what he actually received were different enough to confirm my suspicions that once retired I would be going back to work doing something so I could survive.

Texas Proud--They do pay some specialties more than others through retention bonuses. The retention bonuses allow for targeting pay to a time when there is a great need for the specialty. It seems for the most part needs go in cycles. The biggest difficulty I can see with the comparison between the military and civilian sectors is that the military has a contract, whereas the civilian sector normally doesn't. If an x-ray tech in the civilian sector believes they aren't being paid enough, they can try to find a different employer paying much more. The military doesn't allow for that mobility. Not to mention the government is not set up for efficient reaction to market conditions. By adjusting pay rather than offering bonuses a military member wouldn't know what their pay was going to be from year to year. In the civilian sector if you take a pay cut and feel you are not being paid enough or can't live on the pay you are free to find another job paying more, this isn't the case with a military member. They are stuck for the duration of their contract. There are already enough issues with the military pay section. Making military pay any more complicated would not be a good idea.
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