Washington, D.C. – General James L. Jones, USMC (ret.); General Charles F. (Chuck) Wald, USAF (ret.); Major General Arnold Punaro, USMC (ret.); and Admiral Gregory Johnson, USN (ret.) – all senior military leaders associated with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) – released the following statement about the Bipartisan Budget Act and its provisions on changing military retirement benefits:
“We would like to express our support for the Bipartisan Budget Act in general and for the military retirement provisions in particular. Although the bill is not perfect, its passage will bring stability and predictability to a budget process that has been without it for too long and will temporarily spare important defense and domestic priorities the worst of the sequester’s cuts.
“Since 2000, military personnel costs have doubled, while the active duty force has shrunk by 10 percent. Such cost growth is unsustainable, and the leadership of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all agree that the costs of benefits for personnel are starting to crowd out other important investments that support training, readiness and modernization. This plan is an important first step in tackling those costs.
“The provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act will only slow the rate of increase in pension payments to working – age military retirees – those who are under the age of 62. It will not cut initial retirement benefit payments for anyone – nor will it affect any retirees who are 62 or older. Such a change is much needed – but it’s only a first step. Additional reforms to compensation to ensure benefits are both fair and sustainable will be essential to slow the rise of personnel costs and to ensure the military is able to make the necessary investments to maintain sufficient capability to fight and win wars.”