HEY NATIONAL GUARD: The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission Needs Your Help
Right now is a very good time for every member of the National Guard to stand up and be counted.
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, established by the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, is currently conducting a review of all military compensation and retirement systems. This Commission is tasked to submit a report, containing a comprehensive study and recommendations, by Feb. 1, 2015, to the President of the United States and Congress. The report will contain detailed findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with its recommendations for such legislation and administrative actions it may consider appropriate in light of the results of the study. Congress is very likely to use these recommendations when crafting both authorization and appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2016.
This week, the Commission released a 341-page Interim Report that comprehensively reviews 65 special and incentive pays, 40 health benefit programs and more than 200 distinct programs and benefits administered by eight separate federal agencies in support of military, veteran, retiree and family member quality of life. Although recommendations cannot affect the retirement eligibility date or the amount of retirement pay to the detriment of servicemembers serving, or who have retired, before such recommendations are enacted, the final recommendations will affect the National Guard pay and benefits for decades to come.
Of keen interest to members of the National Guard, the Commission notes that current compensation programs do not adequately address the operational requirements of the Guard and Reserve and that the Commission offers an opportunity to address such inefficiencies.
Although the Interim report is more of a catalogue of current pays and benefits, the interim report lays out parameters, standards and hints of things to come that will affect every current and former member of the National Guard and their families. The Commission is:
- Focusing on the composition, needs, preferences and priorities of the Service Member
Taking into consideration key changes in American society and culture, including:
- Increased levels of education
- Evolving workforce composition
- A more informed populace (Internet)
- Emphasis on choice, personalization and responsiveness
- Increased worker mobility
- Flexible work hours and increased telework
- Spiraling growth in technology and private sector demand for high-quality tech savvy people
- Today’s work force is much older, more diversified
- Examining trends in federal appropriated funding, noting it has increased and will continue to increase due to inflation of health care costs
- Recognizing the services need to keep an all volunteer force, which includes keeping incentive pays and benefits to keep the force
- Making the current selection of benefits more flexible, and looking at a “cafeteria style” benefits plan
- Evaluating the fiscal sustainability of programs and keeping an eye on cost-effectiveness
- Functioning under the assumption that lower defense spending may force additional reductions in uniformed services
- Looking at the President’s fiscal 2015 budget recommendations including limited pay raises, restoring servicemember out of pocket costs for housing, reductions in commissary benefits and the consolidation of TRICARE health benefit programs.
The Commission wants to understand YOUR compensation preferences and concerns, and is surveying a number of current and retired active-duty, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers during the next few months. Even if you don’t receive a survey, there are other ways to let your voice be heard. There is a comment section on the Commission website, and written comments may be mailed directly to The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, P.O. Box 13170, Arlington, VA 22209.
This is a great opportunity for the Guard to actively participate in crafting recommendations that will shape the future of the nation’s military force, and NGAUS highly recommends that Guardsmen take advantage of this opportunity. There is much at stake here, and the time to help is now.