Funding retirement benefits is one of the biggest costs facing the Department of Defense, and top officials are working on new options that could save the Pentagon a great deal of money going forward. At the heart of the effort is the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which was formed in the hopes of finding a cost-cutting way to provide retirees the benefits to which they are entitled, according to Stars and Stripes.
The Pentagon currently spends about $52.4 billion on benefits for retirees and survivors, but that figure could increase considerably if there are no changes made to policy. In fact, experts estimate the costs could double by 2020 as the number of military retirees grows. DOD officials hope the commission can develop some new options that can be presented to Congress by 2014.
"We want to make it so individuals have more choice at the front end," Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told servicemembers recently, as quoted by the news source. "If you are a young fellow you might be able to say I would like that program better than the one I've got."
Part of the increase in retirees may be due to the fact the military is looking to pare down its size. Specifically, the Army is expected to reduce its size by about 80,000, The New York Times reported.