Reaction to Proposed Compensation Cuts Spreading Through Reserve Ranks

In the weeks since its release, DoD’s 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC) has stirred an uproar in the reserve community. In response, the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) has launched its own exhaustive review of the QRMC's findings; including an independent statistical review, briefings on the report’s financial analysis and a survey of relevant stakeholders.

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"I start to wonder why I should miss time with my family and hurt relations with my employer who pays my mortgage when my country is determined to cut my support.”

Washington (PRWEB) July 20, 2012

In the weeks since its release, DoD’s 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC) has stirred an uproar in the reserve community. In response, the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) has launched its own exhaustive review of the QRMC's findings; including an independent statistical review, briefings on the report’s financial analysis and a survey of relevant stakeholders.

ROA has promised to leverage the full weight of its sixty thousand members. Vowing to strongly oppose any elements of a proposal sent to Congress which would reduce drill-pay by nearly half in exchange for incentive programs as outlined in the QRMC.

“As currently proposed, a revamped reserve compensation system would create an unfair disincentive to serve in the Reserves,” said Major General Andrew B. Davis, USMC (Ret.), ROA’s Executive Director. “You cannot overstate the impact these changes would have on recruiting and retention. What is being discussed in the halls of the Pentagon would serve to systematically reverse ten years of progress within the ranks of the reserves.”

As evidence of the high stakes, ROA points to the results of a RAND study on which the QRMC is largely based. In its findings, RAND concedes the inevitability of a blow to retention, conservatively estimating a loss of nearly 20,000 currently serving reservists.

To avoid what Davis describes as a “nightmare scenario” ROA has gone on the offensive, targeting specific elements of the report which they say offer “expedient conclusions, based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Reserve duty.”

Unlike their active duty counterparts, reservists reach into their own pockets for travel, occupational specialty and initial active duty training, physical deployment requirements, weekly administrative duties and professional military education along with a host of other training requirements needed for call up to active duty service. Reservists are expected to fulfill these obligations to consistently maintain a status of readiness on par with their services’ operational posture, all without military compensation and potentially at the expense of their civilian employment.

“In its current format, the reserve compensation system provides drill-pay at a rate which ac-counts for underwriting the obligations of reserve duty.” Davis said. “What is prescribed in the QRMC would eliminate the already meager financial incentive to be twice the citizen.”

The QRMC endorses an alternative, which Pentagon officials assert will increase parity between Active and Reserve personnel. At the heart of DoD’s proposal is a transition to regular military compensation (RMC) based on days of reserve service regardless of duty status. Considering current pay schedules, a transition to RMC would represent up to a 50% cut in drill pay.

Authors of the QRMC assert that the individual impact of those cuts will be mitigated by supplemental pay: an incentive system, designed to be distributed at a commander’s discretion. A design General Davis called unreliable and unnecessary. “The Reserves already have an effective supplemental incentive system: it’s called drill pay.” ROA’s legislative director, Marshall Hanson called the system, “ill-conceived,” stating, “The only incentive this system would provide is incentive for individuals to leave their reserve service in favor of more reliable compensation that meets their civilian obligations.”

At the core of ROA’s efforts to halt the proposal is a ground swell of concern from individual reservists. Citing a sentiment being echoed by reservists across the nation, Davis quoted a recent letter from a concerned lieutenant. “In today’s era, it [reserve duty] is a true second job. To decrease the amount of pay associated with that job forces me to question continuance. I start to wonder why I should miss time with my family and hurt relations with my employer who pays my mortgage when my country is determined to cut my support.”


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