A pension payment that would help keep a former service member’s pension in a fiscal year would cost about $10 million, according to a Defense Department analysis.
That’s the same amount the Pentagon spends on retiree health benefits.
The Pentagon said the payment would be made to the National Guard and Reserves, but would not be subject to congressional approval.
The Defense Department is also studying whether it should take advantage of its own funds to cover pension payments for members who serve overseas.
“It is not possible for us to fully offset the costs of these payments until they are fully paid for,” Pentagon spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.
The department has not identified a source of the pension payment, but retired Gen. William Westmoreland, who commanded the military’s 5th Army Reserve unit in Afghanistan, is among those who want to see it.
Westmoreel told The Washington Times last month that he would have preferred that Congress make the payments, and that he and his colleagues at the Army’s 5 th Armored Cavalry Regiment would not oppose it.
The budget for the retirement program was approved by Congress in April but has yet to be fully enacted.
The money is set to be paid in full in 2019, but the Pentagon’s analysis found that it would be paid to retired Army members who have retired before 2019.
The Army said it has $2.3 billion in unused retiree benefits, $3.1 billion in deferred compensation, and $4.2 billion in remaining retiree retirement pay.