Category Archives: Military

A Framework for Restructuring the Military Retirement System

Source: Roy A. Wallace, Lieutenant Colonel David S. Lyle, Dr. John Z. Smith, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, ISBN 1-58487-580-1, July 2013

The current military retirement system has been integral to sustaining the All Volunteer Force (AVF). Mounting federal budget challenges, however, have raised concern that the program may become fiscally unsustainable. While several restructuring proposals have emerged, none have considered the implications of these changes to the broader issue of manning an AVF. Changes to the existing system could create military personnel shortfalls, adversely affect servicemember and retiree well-being, and reduce public confidence in the Armed Forces. With the right analytical framework in place, however, a more holistic system restructuring is possible, one that avoids these negative effects while significantly reducing costs. A comprehensive framework is provided, as well as a proposal that stands to benefit both servicemembers in terms of value and the military in terms of overall cost savings. …Our proposal is called the 10-15-55 plan. Service members and the military contribute to a 401(k) account as soon as they enter service. At any point, a service member may leave the military with his or her contributions to the 401(k). At 10 years of service, the service member controls 50 percent of what the military contributed to the 401(k). That percentage increases by 10 percentage points each year for 5 years until the service member reaches 15 years of service, at which time the service member controls 100 percent of employer contributions. In addition to the 401(k) account, service members who continue to 20 years of service also receive the DB pension plan as it currently exists, with the exception that they may not receive payments until they turn 55 years of age. While all current service members would be grandfathered under the existing pension system, new entrants would be covered by the 10-15-55 proposal. The 10-15-55 proposal would likely be more desirable to new entrants than the existing pension plan because of the uncertainty that most new recruits face about serving a full 20-year career. When evaluated against the pension framework provided in this monograph, the 10-15-55 pension proposal has many attractive features. …
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Abstract
Executive Summary

State Workforce Activities to Support Mission Growth

Source: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Issue Brief, February 4, 2009

From the press release:
States across the nation are taking action to ensure an adequate workforce is available to support the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as it adjusts to meet the demands of the 21st century, according to a new Issue Brief from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center).

The Issue Brief, State Workforce Activities to Support Mission Growth, examines the workforce challenges states face in conjunction with these shifting priorities – known as “mission growth” – and how states are addressing these emerging workforce needs.

Significant growth in the mission of many military bases across the country is placing substantial burden on affected states to attract and develop a large and diverse workforce in a short timeframe. Thousands of new workers are needed to fill diverse civilian jobs both at military bases and in the surrounding communities within the next few years. In addition to construction and maintenance workers, teachers, doctors, nurses, childcare workers and police, highly skilled workers with backgrounds in engineering, science, electronics and communications will be required.

Transgender People in the U.S. Military

Source: Karl Bryant and Kristen Schilt, Transgender American Veterans Association, August 2008

This paper reports findings from a survey of transgender service members and veterans designed and administered by the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA). TAVA was founded in 2003 with the goal of ensuring that transgender military veterans receive fair, equitable, and dignified treatment from Veterans Association (VA) Hospitals. The resulting survey data produced compelling findings indicating that transgender service members and veterans, like many transgender people in the U.S., face various forms of discrimination based on their transgender status. Transgender people in particular faced discrimination while serving in the military, as well as when they accessed or tried to access services through VA Hospitals.
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Press release

Military Personnel: Improvements Needed to Increase Effectiveness of DOD’s Programs to Promote Positive Working Relationships between Reservists and Their Employers

Source: Government Accountability Office, GAO-08-981R, August 15, 2008

Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DOD) has relied on more than 650,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve to support operations at home and abroad. As demobilized reservists return to civilian life and their civilian employment, the difficulties some face in maintaining positive working relationships with their employers is an area of interest. Maintaining employers’ continued support for their reservist employees will be critical if DOD is to retain experienced reservists in these times of longer and more frequent deployments.

Employees Returning from Military Leave: Newest Potential Legal Liability for Employers

Source: Dan Van Bogaert, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 33, no. 4, Spring 2008

More than a quarter of a million soldiers have returned from military service to their previous civilian jobs in recent years. What this means is employers need to pay closer attention to the recruitment, selection, and retention of employees with military backgrounds. Because of the pervasive scope military conflict throughout the world today, there are increasing numbers of employees and job applicants with military service backgrounds. Therefore, most employers are affected by this circumstance, even those organizations that may not currently employ workers who are on military leave.

Although some of the concerns regarding post traumatic stress disorder have been exaggerated, employers still face many challenges relating to employees returning from military leave. This article thoroughly examines these challenges and related legal responsibilities of employers, and offers practical guidelines for human resources management.

Returning Reserve Troops Are Still Being Denied Their Old Jobs, Witnesses tell House Labor Subcommittee

Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, Press release, February 12, 2008

An increasing number of military service members and U.S. contractors working abroad are being discriminated against on the job and are left with little ability to hold their employers accountable for it, witnesses told the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions today.
“If a worker is wronged while on the job, then that employee should have every opportunity to be made whole under the law,” said Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), chairman of the subcommittee. “Unfortunately, there are too many loopholes in the law today and we have the responsibility to not allow any instance of discrimination to go unchecked.”

Reserve troops returning home from active duty in places like Iraq and Afghanistan are finding it difficult to get their jobs back, government statistics show. According to a U.S. Defense Department report, more than 33,000 reserve service members from 2001 to 2005 have complained to the agency that their employers failed to give them their jobs back – as required by law – or received a reduction in pay and benefits.

Witness testimonies from hearing

America At Risk

Source: Democratic Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives, February 2008

In Congressional testimony last week, military officials confirmed America is vulnerable. The U.S. Armed Forces are strained to the breaking point, our National Guard and Reserves are stressed and depleted, and President Bush’s latest budget cuts in half homeland security funds desperately needed by communities across the country. Nearly seven years after 9/11, and five years into a war in Iraq that continues to exhaust our troops with no end in sight, America may be at its most exposed. As Marine Maj. General Arnold L. Punaro said earlier this month, America now faces “an appalling gap in readiness for homeland defense.”

Transforming the National Guard and Reserves into a 21st-Century Operational force

Source: Commission on National Guard and Reserves, Final Report to Congress and the Secretary of Defense, January 31, 2008
From an Associated Press story:
The U.S. military isn’t ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and National Guard forces don’t have the equipment or training they need for the job, according to a report.

Even fewer Army National Guard units are combat-ready today than were nearly a year ago when the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves determined that 88% of the units were not prepared for the fight, the panel says in a new report released Thursday.

The independent commission is charged by Congress to recommend changes in law and policy concerning the Guard and Reserves.

CBO — Two Testimonies: National Guard and Reserve

Source: Congressional Budget Office

– Effects of Reserve call-ups on civilian employers
Source: Heidi Golding, Congressional Budget Office, Statement before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, May 17, 2007

My testimony, which draws from and updates a study that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published in May 2005, focuses on three topics:

– The characteristics of the firms that employ reservists;
– The combined effects of reservists’ activations and federal job protections on civilian employers, including self-employed reservists; and
– Options for mitigating the effects of reservists’ activations.

– Issues that affect the readiness of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve
Source: J. Michael Gilmore, Congressional Budget Office, Statement before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, May 16, 2007

My testimony focuses on four topics: past and projected operational tempos of the Army National Guard’s combat units; the overstructuring of the Guard and the need for cross-leveling to deploy its units; equipment shortages; and recruiting, retention, and end strength in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.