President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress saying he "fully supports" a January proposal to make changes to the military pay and benefits systems, which may include adding a 401(k)-type retirement package. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said he "fully supports" a January proposal to make changes to the military pay and benefits systems, which may include adding a 401(k)-type retirement package.
Obama endorsed the proposal by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, appointed in 2013 to review a possible overhaul to military pay and benefits. Obama said his office will consider the commission's 15 recommendations and work to "adopt or refine the specific proposals in as many instances as possible."
Obama said he will report to Congress by April 30 the results of this initial work and with proposals that can be enacted quickly, adding "subsequent analysis may be needed for some of the recommendations."
"I believe the recommendations are an important step forward in protecting the long-term viability of the all-volunteer force, improving quality-of-life for service members and their families and ensuring the fiscal sustainability of the military compensation and retirement systems," he said in a written statement. " I directed my team to consider these recommendations and to work with the Commission to adopt or refine the specific proposals in as many instances as possible."
The commission's recommendations includechanges to retirement plans, the healthcare system and commissaries. These changes include eliminating the Tricare health care plans for military families, reservists and working-age retirees and replacing them with a new program that would allow participants to choose from a list of commercial health care plans.
In late March, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said their members support many of the changes, including changes to the retirement system.
"It is fundamentally unfair that one could serve 10 or 12 years, with three, four, five or more deployments, and leave the military with absolutely no retirement benefit at all, yet a careerist who possibly never even deployed could be entitled to a full benefit package,"Chris Neiweem, a legislative associate for IAVA, told Military.com.