Congress Establishes Retirement Commission

Lawmakers who hashed out the final version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill established an independent panel to review the Defense Department’s military compensation and retirement benefits. The nine-member Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission will stand up within four months of the defense bill becoming law, according to the bill’s conference report. (The bill is awaiting President Obama’s signature.) The President will select one member of the panel, while congressional leadership from both parties will choose the remaining eight commissioners. The panel’s mandate is to mull options to ensure the long-term viability of the all-volunteer force, enable a high quality of life for military families, and modernize the compensation and retirement systems so that they are sustainable. Within nine months of the bill’s enactment, the Defense Secretary will present recommendations to the commission, which will then hold hearings and review the ideas. Within 15 months of the bill’s enactment, the commission will send the President a report with its recommendations. Within 60 day of receipt, the President will report back to the panel and Congress whether he approves the recommendations. If the President disapproves them, in whole or in part, the commission has a month to make revisions and resubmit them to the President.