Cover: The President's Commission on Military Compensation

The President's Commission on Military Compensation

A Review

Published 1978

by Richard V.L. Cooper


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This Commission, headed by Charles Zwick, was created in response to concerns about military costs, effectiveness, equity and morale, and the basic philosophy for setting military compensation. The Commission focused on problems such as retirement, but also managed to deal with minor irritants such as lack of entitlements for junior enlisted men. It struck a careful balance between concerns for cost-effectiveness and concerns for the plight of the individual service member. Regarding retirement, the Commission distinguished between old age retirement and deferred compensation. The recommendation for the old age portion resembles the current Civil Service system. The deferred compensation portion is an innovative plan to establish a trust fund. Those separating from the military could withdraw their portion entirely. For those remaining, up to half could be withdrawn at any time while serving. This plan could reduce total retirement costs by 35-40 percent and encourage those serving 20 years to serve longer.

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