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personal retirement planning, and family obligations. Operational Reserve policy requires reservists to serve one of every five years on active duty, though many al- ready have served multiple combat tours equal to active force deployment cycles. Regardless of reemployment protections, periodic long-term absences from the civilian workplace can only limit these servicemembers’ upward mobility and employability, as well as personal finan- cial security. The new hybrid retirement plan (for service entrants on or after Jan. 1, 2018), composed of reduced retired pay and a matched 401(k)-style system, will require robust financial education of all servicemembers, including guard- members and reservists, to protect their retirement interests.


Compensation comparability Congress worked to improve military pay after previous pay-raise caps caused retention problems. For 2016, the military pay raise was capped at 1.3 percent, 1 percentage point below the 2.3-percent private-sector pay growth, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index (ECI). This is the third consecutive year of capping military raises below the statutory ECI standard, and the president’s budget envisioned additional caps for six con- secutive years. Past history with military pay-raise caps shows they continue until they hurt retention and readiness. MOAA strongly objects to further planned pay caps. This unwise process generated reten- tion crises in the 1970s and ’90s. Sustaining pay comparability is essential to long-term retention and readiness.


Family support Preserve funding for family support; mo- rale, welfare and recreation; exchange; commissary; and other critical support


48 MILITARY OFFICER JANUARY 2016


services and quality-of-life programs. Improve and enhance access to afford- able, quality child care. MOAA recogniz- es the significance of continued crucial support of military family members bear- ing the brunt on the home front of over a decade at war. MOAA will work with Congress, DoD, and others in ensuring necessary family support and quality- of-life services across all components, installations, and communities. Military families with a special-needs member face additional stressors. More must be done to enhance support services and health care for these families.


Operational Guard/Reserve Multiple deployments of the Guard and Reserve bring significant strains on their employers and families. MOAA sup- ports restoration of tax incentives to help employers sustain business operations during call-ups. MOAA believes new DoD- employer partnership initiatives — such as authority for employer payment of employ- ees’ TRICARE Reserve Select premiums in lieu of other employer-provided cover- age — will sustain employers’ willingness to hire and retain drilling members of the Guard and Reserve. Further, reservists must be assured of robust financial, legal, and reemployment protections during and after call-ups.


PCS reimbursements Continue pursuing PCS reimbursement increases to offset expenses servicemem- bers incur in complying with govern- ment-ordered relocations. PCS mileage rates are dramatically lower than the temporary duty rates, and servicemem- bers are denied funded house-hunting trips authorized for federal employees. Families require authority to ship a sec- ond vehicle overseas. More must be done to recognize it’s the government’s re-


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