Director, AFSA Military & Government Relations
An independent commission created two years ago by lawmakers to come up with recommendations for overhauling military pay and compensation programs will release its final report on Jan.29, setting the stage for what could be the biggest defense policy fight of the year. Established by FY 2013’s NDAA (now Public Law 112-239), the Military Compensation & Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) was originally scheduled to provide their recommendations to Congress and the President by May of 2014. However, recognizing the vast scope of their mission and significant potential impact, the MCRMC was granted an extension until February 2015.
The Commission’s primary goal is to ensure the Uniformed Services can maintain a professional All-Volunteer Force, during both peacetime and wartime. Over the past 18 months, AFSA and its Coalition partners met with Commissioners and their staff to help paint the effects on enlisted members and their families. AFSA members also participated in several town hall meetings conducted by the panel as they went about their work. AFSA is scheduled to receive a briefing from the MCRMC later this week and hear firsthand about some of their conclusions and recommendations. Once their final report is released, we will examine it very closely before determining the Association’s position on any of its contents.
Military pay and healthcare delivery are sure to be scrutinized the most, but keep in mind this is the end of the first step – an evaluation of what is and a set of suggestions for what might be. The next step includes the President, DoD and Congress reviewing the possibilities, choosing which ones are best to start, which current practices are best to stop, calculating related costs, etc.. In theory, any reforms would be seen in the legislative language of future budgets, but don’t be surprised if some sneak into FY 2016 discussions this year.
As a reminder, by law, any proposed changes by the MCRMC will “grandfather” plans of those currently serving or already receiving a retirement annuity; meaning changes only affect those who join the military after a change’s implementation date.