Monday, June 22, 2015

About That Military Pension

A warning from our Naval Agent in the Field about aiming for that military pension:

I spent almost 8 years in the US Navy as an Avionics Electronics Technician (Navy
rate AT).  Basically I worked on all the electrical systems on aircraft. I spent my
first 4 years after basic training working on helicopters. I went on 4 deployments
in those 4 years. My last 3.5 years I worked at a test and evaluation base. There I
worked on all aircraft from helicopters to fighters.  After seeing the retirement
problems my supervisors were facing in those last 3.5 years, I decided to get out of
the military.  I was Honorably discharged in 2014, and have completed 1 year of
school towards a STEM degree in Electrical Engineering. 
In my last 3.5 years,  I watched as 7 sailors in my shop reached 16-17 years of
service in the military (my shop consisted of about 100 sailors through that time,
for reference). From this time frame they can sign the contract to enlist up to the
20 year mark. This as you know, guarantees a military pension. However, 5 of these 7
sailors were denied reenlistment through a program the Department of the Navy called
"Perform to Serve" (PTS). This program would take sailors reenlisting in rates(jobs)
that were over manned and evaluate them.  The military spending cuts of 2013 were in
full force and many were denied reenlistment.  They were given the option to either
change their job or be discharged and receive an involuntary severance package
(usually a monetary sum around $15,000).  Changing your job in the Navy requires a
paygrade drop approximately 95% of the time.  This can sometimes force a sailor out
of service simply because they have limits on how many years of service you can have
per rank and still stay in (called High Year Tenure).  Also, since your retirement
is based off your 3 highest years' pay, this loss of rank and pay often means the
retirement you were expecting to receive will be lowered as well.  A similar program
was also instituted about 15 years ago, under a different name.  The program back
then compared your service record against everyone else in the same rate(job) and
kicked out the lowest performing percent based on the government's needs. The new
system however, Perform to Serve, compared all people requesting to reenlist in over
manned jobs against all sailors who joined in the same year. For example, if I
joined in 2006, I was compared to everyone else who joined in 2006. This could be a
problem because if the Navy needed SEALS or Nuclear engineers badly in 2006, they
would offer incentives to people to join in those fields. So if in 2006 they had 30%
who were in these fields, then you would be automatically fall below these
non-expendable assets.  These 5 sailors who were denied to reenlist in their field
had good records.  3 had just come back from Individual Augmentee service (temporary
assignment working with the Army or Marines).  This always looks good on a Navy
record and often leads to an early promotion for sailors. The Perform to Serve
program was started in 2013 and is no longer in effect, but expect that it will be
implemented again when they need to cut military spending. 
I understand it is a financially intelligent decision to cut off those close to
retirement before you have to pay them for the rest of their lives.  It spells huge
savings for the government.  But it also sucks seeing guys who have spent 16 years
in the service get involuntarily separated.  So if your clients are looking to join
the military, I would advise them to go into the military as a non-expendable asset
(special forces) or in a field that easily translates to the civilian workforce.
(vehicle mechanic, welding, information technology, nuclear engineering,
Thank you for your time.  If you have any questions about Perform to Serve feel free
to email me.
He also provides a link here detailing what he is talking about above. 


leeholsen said...

yesp, lets limit vets from getting retirement after we took their best years of youth and in some cases also their arms and legs and also hand them socialized medical care but keep throwning out the goodies for those that like to keep their neighborhoods warm at night with a little rioting.

there is no level of shame the officeholders in DC can feel for what they do to vets. if they had any honor, they'd jump into the potomac and head out to sea looking for hungry sharks.

Anonymous said...

The same thing happens in the private sector, but the way. You work unpaid overtime for years. They lay you off as soon as hard times arrive.

An independent income is the best answer. Build a side business while working your day job. Something you can fall back on just in case.

liberranter said...

Having served for 17 years on active duty before voluntarily separating srrvice three years short of reirement eligibity, I can say without reservation that joining today's military for any reason is a horrendously bad idea, for the reasons your reader cited and others (not the least of which is the fact that today's imperial mercenary force serves no moral or constitutionally valid purpose).

I'm not surprised to hear about this latest cost-cutting measure, borne, as usual, by the rank and file. Such has always been the U.S. government's way, the effusive verbal vomitus to the contrary about "our brave and honorable troops" notwithstanding. One would think that enough histori al precedent has been established by now that people would learn from the past and not get burned the way their forebears did.

CA3 said...

I recently bought, read, re-read, and am currently re-reading your book, "The Black Man's Guide Out of Poverty" in paperback. It's a solid book and I was glad to read something that left me confident that I was making the right decisions regarding my professional, financial, and personal life. It's one of a very select number of books I will advise other men to read. I hope that you make it a goal to revise this and the other books you put out at least every 5 or so years as changes develop. I'll be getting my hands on the others very soon.

The recent postings across the man-o-sphere are fairly accurate regarding the erosion of the American military. During my 15 years in, it's become increasingly more psychologically stressful a place to be a young male whether in combat or not. The political establishments desire to expand the number and role of female military personnel has been the primary contributor to this. I won't go into my observations of how that's gone over.

However, until the military looses it's reputation for instilling discipline and focus in all men who commit to serve, it will remain the only place older men will be permitted the opportunity to attempt salvaging them as the number of boys raised without their fathers continue to increase. As such, I see little reason a young man who is having employment difficulties shouldn't join the military for at least one term of service.