Retirement changes worry enlisted ranks

WASHINGTON – Enlisted troops aren’t happy with talk of changes to the military retirement system, according to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III.

In a conversation with reporters this week. Chandler said the topic was one of the biggest concerns he has heard from troops worldwide in recent months, with the vast majority opposed to any change in the current 20-year system. “They’re saying ‘I signed up for this. They need to keep that plan,’” Chandler said.

Earlier this year, members of the Defense Business Board proposed radical changes to military retirement, including a 10-year option for troops to retire early and a 401(k)-style plan for future payouts. The White House has also proposed looking into military retirement changes, although officials have not endorsed any specific plans.

Veterans groups and military advocates have railed against those changes, saying they could cripple the force by giving experienced servicemembers no reason to stay in the ranks. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he’ll consider changes, but promised that none of those proposals will upset the benefits promised to those already serving.

Chandler said his response to those concerned troops has been to repeat Panetta’s promises of no changes for those currently serving.


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