Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ROA Meets with CBO on Early Retirement

by Marshall Hanson, CAPT USNR (Ret), Director of Legislation

Last week, ROA met with representatives from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to discuss how the correction to early retirement would cost $2.1 billion over ten years. This correction, which is suggest in legislation sponsored by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), H.R.208, and by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), S.831. If passed the eligibility date for those deployed is support of contingency operations would change from the current start date of Jan. 28, 2008 to Sept. 11, 2001, whereby 90 days of service reduces the retirement age by 90 days.

In a rare meeting, CBO permitted a glimpse inside the “black box” as to how the numbers were calculated. While the CBO staff were not permitted to share the actual numbers (ROA did ask), they gave examples of certain age group cadre to demonstrate basis assumptions and actual calculations. Feedback was provided to CBO on how they might improve their calculations. ROA was joined by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, the National Guard Association of the United States, and the Association of the United States Navy.

18 comments:

Leonard Sobieski said...

2.1 billion that couldn't go towards other national security concerns like modern aircraft, protective equipment, etc.

Jorge Yinat said...

Or $2.1 Billion that will go towards our most precious resource, the patriotic citizen Soldier. Only people actually adress security concerns not airplanes, tanks, trucks or equipment.

Beverly said...

Amen to the comment by Jorge Yinat!!!

Mark said...

This price sounds cheap considering Congress never really authorized the appropriate number of service members needed for our national security. Due to the this short mis-calculation we are using our Reserves as an active force.

Do what's right and fix the Reserve retirement system.

Anonymous said...

As a 25 year career Army Reservist, I couldn't agree more with ROA's position on fixing the reserve retirement issue. I would really like to see (at a date certain) every Guard/Reserve member that attains the minimum 20 qualifying years be able to retire in grade at 50% of their retiring base pay and be able to draw that pension the day after the retirement orders are cut. I'm tired of still being treated by the active component on issues of per diem, etc. as if I am the blacksheep of the military family. I'm tired of doing the same exact job my active duty brothers do for less than what they get. I can't even qualify for an ACCOMPANIED TCS/PCS tour whether it's CONUS or OCONUS because DA says they have to save money. Try telling that to an AD married soldier with a wife/kids. I'll bet they'd submit their retirment papers in a heart beat. I love serving my country, but the inequities created since the "operationalizing" of the Guard/Reserves is now simply too great when we have balance both are civilian jobs along with our military duties. LTC P, USAR

Anonymous said...

I have one clarification on my previous post. What I meant to say in the 50% retirement equation is that we could immediately draw upon retirement orders the amount we would otherwise receive at age 60 under the current formula. LTC P, USAR

Anonymous said...

My USAR service fulfills my desire to serve my country and I have always understood that if I stay for 20+ qualifying years I'll get a retirement at age 60. Nothing has changed. On the other hand, as matter of equity all post 9-11 service should be counted equally and I am thankful ROA and other national organizations are continuing to work the issue.

Anonymous said...

Leonard Sobieski,
Just out of curiosity, where were you when the "guns sounded" on 9/11 and what have you ever done as service to your country?

Smallwerld said...

$2.1 billion over 10 years is only $210m a year, which in the grand scheme of the Defense Budget is a drop in the bucket. It could easily be paid for by a 3.3% pay raise instead of the traditional 3.4% pay raise across the board. PLUS, if the CBO used ROA's calculations, it would be even less.

Smallwerld said...

Dollars for investing in our people are going to start to dry up... I hope this initiatives sees the light of day this year. Otherwise, it never will.

Anonymous said...

We need to support this initiative and hammer on our legislators to get this amendment passed. 2.1 billion over 10 years is nothing - just look at some of the useless expenditures in the "stimulus" package. Enabling Reserve Component military members who served on active duty during the early days of the War on Terror to draw their retirement a few months or a couple of years early is a commendable salute to those who left civilian jobs and careers in order to help in this fight. 2.1 billion compared to the trillions in debt we are incurring is laughable because it is (relatively speaking) chickenfeed. Our legislators are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel on this one. I and many of my Reserve Component brethren and sisters rejoiced when the law was passed that would move up the date we could draw our retirement by 90 days for every 90 days we had been mobilized. When we were told that this only applied to mobilized service after 28 January 2008, we were stunned at this blatant disservice. Since many in my unit had been mobilized on 1 October 2001, and the entire unit was mobilized on 2 January 2003, we initially felt this was a great recognition of the service we and many others had rendered. Many of us stayed on active duty for two or more years, not because we were looking for earlier payment of our retirement but because we were in a unit that had been supporting SWA continuously since 1991 and our experience helped make sure Theater-level logistics operated at the best possible level. The slap in the face to our service and the service and the service of our brothers and sisters was a bitter pill, indeed.

Let's get behind those who are sponsoring this bill, and really push to get the support of other legislators so that we can get this cahnged.

LTC (Ret) RJM

Anonymous said...

This is a drop in the buckett. The recovery act is giving Federal Highways another $27.5 billion to dole out to state highways. There is no evidence that this is creating or saving jobs. Let's recognize the folks that are making a difference in the AOR and fund the $2.1M. Do the right thing!

Anonymous said...

PARITY with Active Duty Retirement - retirement after 20 years with payments based on the oint system....anything less is a failure. Too many congressional reviews with too little action. The ROA needs to better represent its members in the efforts of PARITY. I have watched with interest over the years as the ROA has shifted prioriities away from reserve retirement and accepted paths of least resistance. Pitiful!

Jorge Yinat said...

Our most Precious Resources (Soldiers) were fully engaged before, during and after 9/11. Like in many other reserve components, Servicemen and Women were ready to answer the call of duty. No questions asked! What about you Leonard? I am sure you also served with distinction.
Many good comments, keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Leonard Sobieski:

I have 24 years as a member of the Guard, Active Duty, and Reserve components. I have nearly 16 1/2 years toward a full active retirement. Since 9/11 I have deployed for 8 months, 18 months, and am currently on a 6 month deployment.

My civilian employer is military friendly. However to think the increased usage of Guard and Reserve members has not taken a toll on my civilian employer think again. I also know for a fact that colleagues have not been hired since 9/11 because of their continued service to the country as members of the military Reserves. I know what the law states, then there is reality.

I remember where I was and what I was doing on 9/11. My Reserve unit called a 100% muster of all personnel. I called my civilian employer and got released immediately. Then I used my military ID and was able to secure a rental care from a wonderful American patriot. I drove 6 hours to my military reserve unit and was flying a military aircraft that very day until midnight in support of OUR country.

I believe in what I do, but I am currently preparing to resign my commission. I know I will have a pension when I turn 60. However when I look at the benefits of serving my country for another 14 years as a reservist under the current and outdated reserve retirement plan, it doesn't make financial sense to continue. Then there are the endless deployments. My unit is currently deploying us for 6 months every 2 years. Then again I have a critical skill as a pilot. To think the tax payers paid in excess of $500,000 for my initial training 20 years ago.

I believe an early retirement plan of some sort for Guards and Reservist is a small price to pay to KEEP current, qualified and skilled WARRIORS readily available.

Respectfully,

PILOT
US ARMY

Soldiers FIRST, Mission Always said...

To the ROA leadership: Thank you for pursuing this goal. Please do not relent! The more time that goes by, the less "catchy" this issue is. However, more than anything else I can think of on the legistlative agenda right now, this is a true soldier care issue.

I was mobilized at the Pentagon in February 2003 when the active Army was sending desperate Requests For Forces in the buildup for the Iraq invasion. A great number of the RFFs were for specialty units that only exist in the Reserve Component - MP, QM, CA, and Intel units. We were cutting mobilization orders on individuals and units, giving them (in some cases) 48 hours to report to the mob station. As crazy as that was, those amazing Army Reservists and National Guardsmen answered the call and did the job they were asked to do with a couple days notice. From a pure "do the right thing" perspective, those are the soldiers that need to gain the benefit of this legislation. Even if they only qualify for an extra 3 or 6 or 9 months of retirement pay, they are the ones that I think deserve it most.

With all forces drawing down in Iraq, no doubt the bulk of RC soldiers deployed from 2001-2008. They had no expectation of additional retirement benefits. More the reason that they should be awarded them. This, to me, is clearly a case of "spirit of the law" being denied by the bean-counters who support "letter of the law". Right now, the soldiers who deserve this entitlement the most - those who headed to war under the worst circumstances with the least amount of notice, enduring Stop-Loss, spending an extra six months in country during the surge, enduring the worst of the insurgency - those are the ones who derive no benefit from this entitlement. Yet they are the very ones whose situations caused this entitlement to be enacted in the first place. And the vast majority of those soldiers were not senior officers, they were Privates and Specialists and Sergeants, the very ones who could use extra retirement pay the most.

Please don't let this issue die! There are too many soldiers for whom this entitlement was created, that derive no benefit from it whatsoever!

Anonymous said...

so is it in the next legislative session? and what is the chances of it getting approved?

ReserveOfficer said...

ROA acted quickly with Rep. Joe Wilson and early retirement was one of the first bills filed on the first day of the 112th Congress.