Local military leaders are testifying before a congressional commission in San Antonio today in advance of modernizing the way the military -- and all uniformed services -- is compensated.
The Military Compensation and Retirement Commission was created in the recent National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that authorizes and funds the military. The commission is gathering comments from service members online and at public hearings around the country.
Veterans will have a chance to talk to the commission this evening, Monday, Jan. 6, at the Audie Murphy VA Memorial Hospital. On Tuesday the commission will hear from wounded warriors at the Warrior and Family Support Center.
In San Antonio to hear from the 5th Army, the Air Force, Navy, and other uniformed services, Commission Chairman Alfonso Maldon said this is the first time the government has reviewed the structure of military compensation processes since the Vietnam War. He said the goal is not reductions, but rather to ensure the long-term health of the all-volunteer force.
"Our goal is to do three things, essentially: Number one, to ensure the viability of an all-volunteer force for the long-term; to provide a high quality of life for our service members and their families; and then to make sure we can have fiscal sustainability of those programs, meaning pay programs, retirement programs, and benefits," Maldon said.
Commission spokesman Jamie Graybeal said all forms of compensation for uniformed forces are on the table.
"Off the top of my head, some examples include the commissary, access to child care, access to health care for our families and retirees, reenlistment bonuses, and other types of professional development bonuses," Graybeal said.
Maldon was quick to add that retirement will not be affected for current military members and retirees.
“Retirement is actually grandfathered by law. So anyone that’s already serving – their retirement is not going to be affected," he said.
Commissioners will look at the structure of the compensation programs and make recommendations to the president for their modernization or restructuring. The commission's report is due in February of 2015.