Chief's Corner - week of Nov. 10

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Understand the BRS

Change. Very few words in our language invoke such an emotional response in people as these six simple letters.  Throughout my career, I have witnessed numerous changes in our Air Force, bringing out a wide range of emotions from those who were impacted. Not that long ago, my available retirement system options changed from high-three when I entered, to the high-three with redux option. That major change drove emotion and discussion amongst the ranks at the time.  Well, there is another retirement system change around the corner that is also sure to stir emotions – the Blended Retirement System.

Like it was when redux became available, the “old folks” (sadly, that’s me now) are grandfathered into the legacy retirement system and Airmen who entered service after a specific date have the option to choose their retirement plan.  Under the new plan, Airmen who entered after Dec. 31, 2005, but before Jan. 1, 2018, will make a choice between enrolling in the BRS, or remaining in the current retirement system. Additionally, Airmen who enter our Air Force after Dec. 31, 2017, will automatically be enrolled into the BRS.

When any program changes, education is the key to successfully navigating through it and making informed, unemotional decisions.  There are already numerous resources available about BRS. From news articles and fact sheets distributed by our Military Personnel Section, to an online course on the Joint Knowledge Online website, with many more courses slated to come throughout 2017.  All of these resources are designed to provide the maximum information possible to supervisors and those who have to decide to opt-in to BRS or keep their current retirement plan.

Leaders at all levels must ensure they understand the retirement system changes so they are able to effectively guide their personnel. However, those of you who ultimately have to make the decision on which retirement system to choose must take the time educate yourselves on the pros and cons of each option so you can make an informed decision on which option will best suit your personal and professional goals and circumstances.  

The opt-in window for BRS begins Jan. 1, 2018.  Make sure to arm yourselves with all the training and information on the BRS and the current retirement system so you can make a fact-based, unemotional decision on your future.