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Rebuilding U.S. Armed Forces and a new Blended Retirement System course

| February 3, 2017

Rebuilding the Armed Forces

Defense Secretary Mattis distributed implementation guidance for budget directives in the National Security Presidential Memorandum on Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces on Tuesday. He outlined three phases in his initial guidance.

  • Phase 1: Improve Warfighting Readiness – the FY 2017 Budget Amendment An FY17 budget amendment request will address warfighting readiness shortfalls and new requirements driven by the campaign against ISIS. This may increase force structure. The budget amendment request will be delivered to OMB by 3/1/17.
  • Phase 2: Achieve Program Balance – the FY 2018 President’s Budget Request A comprehensive and accelerated budget review to refine and improve the Department’s FY18 President’s Budget request will be conducted. It will focus on balancing the program, addressing programmatic shortfalls while continuing to rebuild readiness.
  • Phase 3: Build Capacity and Improve Lethality – the National Defense Strategy and FY 2019-2023 Defense Program The National Defense Strategy will include a new force sizing construct and determine an approach to enhancing the lethality of the joint force against high-end competitors and effectiveness of the military against potential threats. The Defense Program will contain plans to grow the force quickly but responsibly, critical investments in advanced capabilities and an ambitious reform agenda to improve efficiency.

Blended Retirement System

The Department of Defense (DoD) released its Blended Retirement System (BRS) Opt-In Course on Jan. 31. This course is mandatory for all active duty service members who are eligible to opt in to the BRS. The course features a pre test followed by six lessons including information on BRS basics, the importance of financial security, the Thrift Savings Plan, differences between the High-3 system and the BRS, and factors to consider prior to making the decision. Following the six lessons is a post test, and upon completion of the course, a customized PDF certificate of completion is generated.

The online course narrator repeatedly reinforces that the decision whether to opt in to the BRS is solely that of the service member. There are reminders throughout the course that service members need to make the right decision for themselves and their families, and to use critical thinking along the way. Although stating that a spouse or significant other should be involved in one’s long-term financial planning, the decision on which retirement system to choose “remains with you.” Service members are continually reminded to seek help from professional financial managers.

Educate yourself on the BRS. One online course is not enough to make a decision that will last a lifetime.


Sources:, Joint Knowledge Online

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