11th QRMC Report Released
The Department of Defense (DoD) recently released its report on the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), which concluded that military compensation for enlisted personnel and officers compares favorably with civilian pay for those with comparable education, skills and experience.
The report focuses on the following four areas of the military compensation system:
- Special/Incentive Pays for Critical Career Fields: The QRMC cited the advantages of offering special and incentive pays for career fields that are in high demand within DoD and suggested the Pentagon be given the authority to offer such incentives.
- Combat Compensation: The QRMC determined that the service members exposed to the greatest danger are currently receiving the smallest benefit and suggests combat compensation be restructured to ensure a more balanced relationship between risk and combat compensation, regardless of grade. The report recommends replacing the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion with a refundable Combat Tax Credit and refundable Direct Support Tax Credit.
- Compensation for Wounded Warriors, Caregivers and Survivors: According to the report, disability payments are, on average, adequate to cover the loss of income for wounded warriors, but recommends continued examination of their earnings and disability payments. The QRMC acknowledged DoD and VA programs that support caregivers, but suggested the two departments work more closely together. And the report suggests partially elimination of the offset that currently penalizes surviving spouses who are eligible for Survivor Benefit Plan payments and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, and adjusting SBP benefits when Guard and Reserve members die while performing inactive duty training.
- Reserve/National Guard Compensation and Benefits: Since Guard and Reserve personnel are now shouldering a heavier operational load than prior to 2001, the QRMC suggest providing reserve component personnel a total force pay structure, altering the Reserve retirement system to more closely align with the active duty system and providing retired pay to those who have completed 20 qualifying years when they reach the 30th year of military service.
FRA is reviewing the 290-page report which is the result of two years of work and will track DoD’s responses to various recommendations and possible associated legislative proposals.
Read Tom Philpott’s syndicated Military Update column (6-28-2012) on www.fra.org for more details.