Will New Retirement System Affect Retention?

NGAUS Washington Report
April 17, 2018

The new military retirement system could make retention more difficult, personnel officials told the House Armed Service Committee’s military-personnel subcommittee last week.

Under the Blended Retirement System, service members can invest in a plan similar to a 401(k) and take that money and any accrued gains with them when they leave the military at any time.

“I think it will be a significant indicator on retention in the out years,” Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, the Army personnel chief, said, according to Military Times. “I think we’re going to have to fundamentally change how we address retaining talent.”

He said a soldier who stays 10 years under the legacy retirement system is likely to stay 20 years. Under BRS, he said, “that dynamic could potentially change, but we won’t see that probably for the next seven to 10 years. So we need to be prepared. We’re thinking about it now, trying to get our heads around it.”

Any service member who has joined since Jan. 1 is automatically enrolled in BRS. Others who are eligible to join BRS have until the end of this year to opt in or choose to remain in the old system. In the reserve component, those eligible to choose BRS are in paid status with fewer than 4,320 points as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to Military Times.

So far, about 11 percent of eligible service members across all services have joined BRS, the publication reported. That’s about 183,000 men and women out of 1.6 million eligible for BRS.