By Ed Evans, USMC (Ret.)
Back a month ago when federal planners first raised the ugly head of their plan for penalizing military retirees by refusing them a civilian retirement at the end of a second career, it just didn't seem to go anywhere. But you know how it is, once you put something on the Internet, it takes on a life all its own and becomes eternal.
In other words, I keep seeing traces of this venomous idea here and there.
It's not dead, yet.
You can read all about it here: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20130804/DEPARTMENTS01/308040009/An-end-civilian-pensions-military-retirees
The lead paragraph and bridge read: "To address long-term sequester cuts, the Defense Department is mulling numerous reductions that will affect civilian employees, including doing away with civilian employee pensions for military retirees who go back to work for the government as civilian employees.
The savings could be almost $100 billion over 10 years when combined with a halt to commissary subsidies and restrictions on the availability of unemployment benefits, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters last week in summarizing the recommendations of the newly completed “Strategic Choices and Management Review.”
However, if I were their PR adviser my advice would be that they not just walk away from it, but RUN! This should be dialogue written for the Saturday Night Live comedy TV show, not a serious approach to building an effective government workforce and viable national budget. Not to mention that, truthfully, you cannot pay men enough to risk their very lives in combat, but to then prevent them from earning a living and taking care of their families afterward, if they live through it, is surely the worst kind of national cowardice. And never mind that the entire U.S. military, the most blooded and battle-tested military in the world right now, goes about its business on the individual level like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers for reasons of upended ethical and moral guidelines of behavior, unsound battlefield rules of engagement, and social Generals who are administrators, not leaders.
On the one hand this policy change in retirement rules will sow such divisiveness among the federal workforce, not to mention the career military, as to seriously affect efficiency, production and create infectious trust issues.
On the other hand, I cannot imagine the hit the nation's federal workforce will take without the hand-in-glove synchronization of the disciplined experience that military members bring to the table, which work so effectively with civilian education and expertise.
In fact, it is such a bad idea that if I believed even half of the conspiracy theories floating around the Internet, I would have to believe there would be no more certain way to pull the plug on American effectiveness in government, no better way to help America's enemies achieve this nation's downfall and freedom's dissolution.
Bottom line, if for any reason those in the upper head shed want to start a revolution, want to create a cause to declare martial law as a pathway to ultimate control, this would be a good one. However, anyone who would support such a cockamamie idea has no sense of the kind of fire they are playing with in a munitions bunker filled with volatile, sparking poverty, pain and class betrayal. And those they are considering betraying are the ones with the guns.