Blended Retirement System

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What is it?

The Blended Retirement System (BRS) is a key step in modernizing the department’s ability to recruit, retain and maintain the talent required of the future force. This is a new Department of Defense (DOD) enterprise-wide retirement system that goes into effect, Jan. 1, 2018.

The new retirement system is composed of three components:

  • (1) A tradition defined-benefit plan like that current system
  • (2) A 401K type defined-contribution plan with a portable retirement account through the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
  • (3) A continuation pay at the mid-career point

All recruits will be automatically enrolled into the BRS. Service members currently serving are grandfathered into the current military retirement system. Active Duty members with fewer than 12 years of service as of December 31, 2017, and those reserve component members with less than 4,320 points will have until Dec. 31, 2018, to choose to remain in the current system or opt into the blended military retirement system.

What has the Army done?

The Army has developed an implementation plan that extends through 2018 for educating the force about the new retirement system. This plan includes disseminating information about the leader course, which is available to Army leaders via the Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) and ArmyOneSource websites. This and other courses are designed to explain the new retirement benefits and provide comparisons of the current and new systems.

The leaders in turn will ensure that the training takes place at military locations around the world. Training tools will include online classes and benefits calculators as well as classroom and distance learning for troops and their families.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army will sustain and optimize its communication strategies through Jan. 1, 2019 to ensure Soldiers are familiar with the new system and knowledgeable of available resources to make informed decisions pertaining to their retirement plans. By this date, all Soldiers will have made their decisions to remain permanently in the old system or have permanently opted into the new system.

Why is this important to the Army?

Readiness is the Army’s number one priority, and the department is committed to increasing force readiness and effectiveness in part by implementing the new retirement system. This system is expected to enhance the Army’s ability to recruit and retain its all-volunteer force.

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