Obama Defers Judgement on Key Military Compensation Reforms

President Obama is withholding judgement on the most controversial recommendations of an independent panel to update military pay and benefits, he told Congress Thursday.

One of the most significant reforms urged by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission would transform the existing pension plan that only pays benefit to personnel serving at least 20 years to a hybrid system that would allow troops serving at least two years to invest in a 401(k)-type plan. 

Interestingly, the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning approved language adopting the commission’s recommendation as part of its fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill.

The president also put off endorsing a recommendation to shift military families from the Tricare health system to commercial plans and giving them allowances for healthcare.  

Other recommendations the White House deferred judgement on called for merging the military commissary and exchange systems, consolidating the duty statuses of reservists and reforming support for dependents with special needs, reported the Hill

Obama did endorse 10 of the commission’s less controversial recommendations.

“As President Obama informed Congress earlier today, we are now prepared to support specific proposals for 10 of the commission’s 15 recommendations, and, given the complexities of four others, we will continue to conduct analysis and work with the commission over the next few months,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a written statement.

“In some instances, the Defense Department is already taking steps to implement these first 10 recommendations, but in areas that will require legislative changes to do so, we will work quickly to submit proposed legislative language to Congress as soon as possible,” Carter stated.

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