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No more 20-year rule? DOD panel calls for radical retirement overhaul

By Published: July 25, 2011

A sweeping new plan to overhaul the Pentagon’s retirement system would give some benefits to all troops and phase out the 20-year cliff vesting system that has defined military careers for generations, the Military Times newspapers reported.

The plan calls for a corporate-style benefits program that would contribute money to troops’ retirement savings account rather than the promise of a future monthly pension, according to a new proposal from an influential Pentagon advisory board.

The move would save the Pentagon money -- at a time when it's being asked to cut at least $400 billion -- and benefit troops who leave with less than 20 years of service.

The yearly contributions might amount to about 16.5 percent of a member’s annual pay and would be deposited into a mandatory version of the Thrift Savings Plan, the military’s existing 401(k)-style account that now does not include government matching contributions, according to the Times.

Proponents said the plan would allow more flexibility for servicemembers, who could decide how they want to invest their retirement savings, and for the military, which would be allowed to offer higher contributions to troops who deploy frequently or take hardship assignments.

The Military Times has more on the proposed overhaul, including a summary of how servicemembers would be affected, depending on their length of service.

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