January 28, 2015

Independent Panel Proposes Changes to Military Pensions

By Katherine Kidder, and Phillip Carter

WASHINGTON—A special commission looking for ways to revamp U.S. military benefits is expected to call for the creation of a new 401(k)-type retirement system as part of an overhaul of the existing Pentagon pension plan, an idea certain to face resistance in Washington, according to people briefed on the proposals.

The new retirement plan is one of 15 sweeping recommendations the independent panel is set to unveil Thursday when it releases a 300-page report meant to serve as a road map for President Barack Obama , Congress and the Pentagon as they try to ensure that military benefits don’t overwhelm the constrained defense budget.

While private-sector pensions have been rolled back and eliminated during the last 20 years, the defined-benefit pension has remained a cornerstone of enticements in the U.S. military.

Although the proposal wouldn’t replace the existing defined-benefit plan or affect current members of the military, it is likely to raise the ire of influential veterans groups that successfully prevented budget cuts in veterans benefits last year.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.

  • Katherine Kidder

  • Phillip Carter

    Senior Fellow and Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Phillip Carter is Senior Fellow and Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security.  His research focuses on issues facing v...