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Pentagon urges keeping COLA pension increases

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The Pentagon called on lawmakers in Washington Tuesday to protect current U.S. military personnel and veterans from future reductions in pension increases.

Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox said at a Senate hearing the Pentagon would "strongly recommend" grandfathering in those now serving in the military and current veterans so they would not be affected by $6 billion in cuts included in the two-year budget agreement announced in December.

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The cuts were included with a separate reduction to pensions of civilian workers hired after Jan. 1.

Fox and Gen. James Winnefeld, Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman, who testified at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, appeared to be seeking a middle ground in dealing with military budget cuts, the Washington newspaper the Hill reported Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has endorsed general compensation reform, noting that one-third of defense spending is taken by military compensation, the newspaper noted.

The budget agreement slices the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees under the age of 62 and with at least 20 years of service by 1 percentage point below the rate of inflation.

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