Association of Military Banks of America

DoD Financial Readiness Roundtable Wrap-Up

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last week, I attended a Defense Financial Readiness Roundtable meeting where the primary topic of discussion was the upcoming Blended Retirement System. I normally wouldn’t report such matters to you; however, I thought the information we received — the attached briefings — would be helpful to your future financial education efforts.

These briefings include:

1. A DMDC briefing reporting the results of financial surveys of military members and spouses. This briefing contains interesting data about how our military families view their financial situations and reveal financial concerns about which our banks should become familiar.

2. A DoD briefing describing the Blended Retirement System. DoD has been busy developing educational materials intended to provide the information military members between 1 to 12 years of service will need in 2018 to choose between the BRS and the current “cliff” vested defined benefit retirement systems.

3. A RAND briefing describing a future study on military financial readiness DoD has contracted it to perform.

In addition to forwarding these briefings, I’d like to offer some thoughts on where I believe our banks can provide essential assistance to our military members who will make the BRS decision. Currently, DoD has said that its role in the BRS decision process will be to provide the facts our troops and their families will need to make their personal BRS decisions. It has been very careful to stress that it will not try to influence those decisions beyond providing those facts. In other words, DoD will not provide advice. In my view, this creates a gap between the information DoD will provide and the decisions our troops must make. That gap, outside the base gates, would normally be closed by consulting a financial advisor. Financial advisors — perhaps provided by military banks in their financial education roles — can also bridge that gap within military communities.

Andia and I have already taken a step toward helping you fill that gap by posting the DoD BRS Leader Briefing link on our AMBA website: We recommend you and your staff complete the course. It will help you understand the general provisions of the BRS and identify the areas where this information can and should be tailored to the needs of individual service members and families before they make this very important decision. We are also developing a briefing of our own for you to use in your BRS education efforts.

As more information becomes available — like the DoD briefing attached below — we will provide it to you. Our hope is that our military banks will become essential participants in the BRS decision process.

All the best,


Don’t forget about our Military Banking Resources page on our website which is always available for your reference (without a password).  Check it out: