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Why military pensions should be generous

The news story “Military pensions not ‘out of control’ ” [The Federal Worker, Oct. 26] highlighted what I have been saying for some time: One of the richest nations on Earth can afford to continue the current military retirement system for those few who defend it with a lifetime of service.  

Suggestions that private-sector pension plans should be a model for the military retirement system fail to acknowledge the vast difference between civilian jobs and the military profession. Military retirement benefits are not gifts; they are earned through blood, sweat, repeated deployments, missed birthdays and anniversaries, and the significant risk of injury or loss of life. The benefits are designed to provide a powerful incentive for top-quality people to serve full careers despite the hardships of such service for troops and their families.  

It is important to remember that our government imposes no limits on the sacrifices of those who serve a career in uniform — less than 1 percent of our population — and in turn it must provide a substantial and predictable compensation package.

Theodore G. Stroup Jr., Arlington

The writer, a former Army deputy chief of staff for personnel, is a vice president of the Association of the U.S. Army.

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