Dollars and Sense

ROA urges MCRMC to consider the cost benefits of the Reserve Component

By Jenny Swigoda

As members of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission are conducting a review of our military’s pay and retirement systems, ROA has been busy on your behalf. Positioning ourselves at the forefront of the discussion and ensuring the voices of Reserve Component members are heard loud and clear. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 13 ROA Executive Director Major General Andrew B. Davis, USMC (Ret.), offered testimony to the commission issuing a clear and resounding imperative to remember the unique service and unprecedented sacrifice of our nation’s 1.1 million Citizen Warriors. General Davis’ remarks served to illuminate the unique capabilities and efficiencies of the RC that all too often go overlooked in times of fiscal constraint.

Combined with Davis' oral testimony, ROA's written statement for the record detailed the unique capabilities and efficiencies of the RC by highlighting three often-misconstrued elements of Reserve compensation; drill pay, Reserve retirement and TRICARE benefits.
 
On these issues, ROA presented three primary positions to the commissioners

  1. Retain the current system of Reserve Compensation as outlined above.
  2. Reject changes to Reserve retirement outlined by the QRMC which actually reduce the benefit by 30 percent.  
  3. Adopt a seamless TriCare program covering all phases of the Reservist's service continuum would benefit the Reservist and ultimately cost the nation less in administrative expense.

“At a time when the Pentagon and Congress are examining our nation’s security, it would be incorrect to discount the Reserve Components’ abilities and cost efficiencies. Instead, these part-time warriors provide a cost savings solution and an area to retain competencies for missions not directly embodied in the administration’s strategic policy, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for a 21st Century Defense,” MajGen Davis stated.

Drawing direct comparisons to active duty compensation, Davis highlighted the existing equity in a system ROA insists need not be tampered with.

“The Active Force gets paid for 360 days while working about 224 when you subtract weekends, personal leave and federal holidays. Dividing 360 by 224 you get a ratio of 1.6 days paid to 1 day worked for the Active Duty. The Reserve Force is paid for 63 days, 48 drills and 15 days annual training. They work 39, 24 drill days and 15 AT. That results in a ratio of 1.6 days worked for one days’ pay,” said MajGen Davis.

Although we are currently at a time of drawing down from a decade-long war, this is no time to pull back on our efforts to keep our nation secure. MajGen Davis summed up the shift and urged the commission to keep in mind the unique skills that members of the Reserve Component bring to the total force.

“During the last two decades, we have gone from a strategic Reserve Force to a vital operational force. Acquired military skills are perishable and we can ill afford to lose trained, seasoned combat professionals because of inadequate compensation.”

Voice your opinion directly to the commission. The MCRMC is seeking feedback directly from service members and ROA needs you to add your voice to the fight.