WASHINGTON (Army Times) — Top military brass will keep their specially boosted pensions despite the December budget deal that trimmed pension rates for other military retirees, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
In 2007, Congress passed a Pentagon-sponsored proposal that boosted retirement benefits for three- and four-star admirals and generals, allowing them to make more in retirement than they did on active duty. The Pentagon had requested the change in 2003 to help retain senior officers as the military was fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and wanted to entice officers to remain on active duty.
That means a four-star officer retiring with 40 years of experience would receive a pension of $237,144, according to the Pentagon. Base pay for active-duty top officers is $181,501, according to Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman. Housing and other allowances can boost their compensation an additional third.
Last month’s budget deal reduces cost-of-living adjustments, COLAs, by 1 percentage point a year until retirees reach age 62. At 62, the full COLA will return and pensions will bounce back to their full value. The plan is estimated to save $6 billion.
Currently, after 20 years of service, regardless of age, a military retiree qualifies for a pension amounting to 50 percent of final pay with an additional 2.5 percentage points for each year of service beyond 20.