Not many troops are opting into the new retirement system
With less than three months to go before the year-end deadline, only one in six service members who are eligible to make the choice to opt-in to the new military retirement system has done so, falling far short of prior expectations and raising questions about why the response has been so low.
About 1.6 million active-duty and reserve troops are eligible to opt into the new retirement system, which promises a smaller pension check for those who complete a 20-year career but offers cash payments into a personal retirement account that service members can keep regardless of how long they stay in the military.
As of the end of September, 16.5 percent of those eligible service members have opted in to the Blended Retirement System, also known as the BRS, according to defense officials. The deadline for eligible service members to opt into BRS is Dec. 31.
Yet within the individual military services, the response has varied significantly. The Marines have the highest opt-in rate, with 36.6 percent opting in to BRS. They’ve continued the trend from earlier this year. More than a third of the service members who opted in to BRS since July are Marines — the smallest service.
The service with the lowest percentage of enrollment is the Army, at 10.5 percent of eligible soldiers opting in. To date, 20.5 percent of sailors have opted in, and 16.9 percent of airmen.