April 19, 2016, by Kathryn Smith – In recent times, countries like Sweden, Ireland, Poland and even the U.K. are trying hard to control their military expenditures. The fact that these countries have increased their retirement-pension-eligibility-age for military personnel, further strengthens the point. On the other hand, the United States sticks to its status quo – the global economic slowdown seems to make little difference to its defense budget.
The country’s system of overspending on defense (as it exists today) could be a potential threat, not only to the future of the US economy but to the world economy.
Military Retirement System
Retirement benefits offered to military members at the moment are too generous, according to well-known sources. It permits the armed forces to serve for just twenty years before they call it quits at a young age of 37 and enjoy retirement pensions. Adding to it, a report released by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission advises not to change the current benefit eligibilities including the army’s pension plans.
National and Local Compensations
Apart from the base military pay, there are numerous benefits an army man enjoys from the government as well as from many other local communities. The US government offers different types of compensations in various forms and categories. Ranging from long-term care plans, education and healthcare, shopping privileges, death benefits, caregiver support, free tax preparations and tax benefits, certification programs, mortgage benefits, life insurance benefits, VA Foreclosure and many more; a US military man enjoys it all.
There is no limit to what a serviceman may be offered by local communities, private stores, online sites, mobile phone providers, local hospitals and many other lifestyle product suppliers. Online sites like BuyAutoinsurance.com offer big discounts on car insurance for members and families of the military. Similarly, there are tons of other providers who respect and reward members in the military circle.
What do their supporters think?
While there are critics expressing their views on the generous military compensations and retirement benefits, one cannot deny the fact that there are many people praising the current military compensation and benefit plans. Why? What do they argue? The answer is very simple.
Unlike other professionals, servicemen take oath to serve their nations with courage, commitment and honor. If they are requested to deploy for nine months, they do. If they are requested to stand on duty twenty four hours, they do. An army man spends a lot of time training and qualifying, doing whatever is required, giving little or no importance to his personal life. He spends a good portion of his life working in difficult conditions, different geographic areas, unfavorable climates, sometimes with lack of good food and shelter. They don’t get to see their friends, girlfriends, wives and relatives for years together. Long hours of operation tempo, personal sacrifice, hazardous duties and other hardships are part and parcel of their job, especially during wartime.
So why not enjoy the benefits and compensations?
The Major Concerns
Critics have always complained that the payments and compensations that US soldiers enjoy are significantly greater than civilians with similar qualification and education. In other words, an enlisted army man who has had no college education, earns much more in the military than someone with similar qualification and age in the private sector.
Experts predict that military payments and compensations may consume a greater portion of the overall defense budget. That means there is little left to spend on development of future systems, operate forces and build modern facilities. A recent study – “Rebalancing Military Compensation” reveals that if personnel expenses continue to grow at current rate, it will consume the total defense budget by the time its 2039.
Ever since the twin towers were attacked in 9 September 2001, the popularity of US military and the whole defense system has grown leaps and bounces. Members in the Defense department are also enjoying extensive support from Congress.
According to John Halttunen, a member in the service sector, there is a significant imbalance in the present pay and benefits in the military.
Ever since 9/11, Congress has been reluctant to sanction any reform related to the military compensation that may be perceived as a decrease. The reluctance continues even for proposed reforms which would affect only the future military members.
So what’s the message?
There is no doubt about the fact that anyone in the military community deserves special benefits for what he / she offers to the country. That said, one would hope and pray that the US government would come up with new reforms and defense budgets that would prove to be a perfect balance between “special benefits” and “overcompensation”.
About the Author: Kathryn Smith is a tech and military blogger who contributes and shares her experience on different blogging platforms. She loves to study and write about the military during her spare time.