The U.S. Congress has approved a Department of Defense proposal to
increase the pay of troops who stay in the military for up to 40 years.
Currently, time-in-service pay raises stop at 36 years of service, and the
pension benefits max out at 30 years of service. In other words, there were no
financial incentives to stay in uniform longer than 30 years. That's changed,
with the maximum retirement pay now increasing to 40 years (at which point you
retire with 100 percent of your current pay.) Retirement pay caps for generals
and admirals have also been lifted. Giving really talented officers an
incentive to stay in and become flag (general or admiral) rank officers. The
changes also benefit reservists.
the military has noted is that people are staying fit and healthy as they get
older. It's no longer unusual to see sixty year old senior (E-9) NCOs who can
still do more push-ups than most twenty year olds. While officers tend to be
forced out if they don't get promoted regularly, some specialists (especially
in medicine) are encouraged to stay in as long as they are physically able. But
there are other technical specialties, where officers predominate, and "up or
out" rules are waived to allow valuable experts to stay in uniform. Otherwise,
they tend to retire, then get hired as civilians to do the same work, for more
money. But for many senior officers and NCOs, doing the job in uniform is
important. It's pride in the service and patriotism, and it matters. But so
does the money.
new policies won't keep a lot of people in uniform, perhaps only a few thousand
over the next few years. But those who are willing, and physically able, to
stay, are among the most skilled, experienced and talented people in uniform.
This small group makes a big difference.