Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. John W. Outland

Second Advisor

Dr. John T. Whelan


In August of 1974, I wrote U. S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., the senior Virginia senator and T. Edward Braswell, Chief Counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee for a good deal of material concerning the United States military pension system.

The system had intrigued me as a pension planner for many years for several reasons. First, the plan itself possessed grave design defects, which if allowed to exist in private plans would lead the employer corporation excessive cost and possibly fiscal insolvency. Second, with the quadrupling of the price of oil in 1974 and the creation of a cohesive oil cartel it seemed possible to predict that the delicate balance of costs-benefits-inflation upon which the 500,000 private plans rested for fiscal integrity was in real danger of becoming unseated from new economic forces over which there was no control and for which we had no experience. One could foresee a rash of private plan terminations and also a runaway military retirement system, both of which sadly took place and are continuing to take place as these words are written.

From the material sent me by Messrs. Byrd and Braswell, mainly docu­ ments from DoD and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) plus hearings and transcripts and statistical data of all kinds dealing with the retirement system and efforts to contain it, I was able to determine that the subject was worthy of a major effort on my:part to attempt to provide something of value.

The timing by pure chance was exquisite. Attempts at military pension reform had begun in 1971. It seemed that the appropriate congressional commit­ tees would turn to a final effort within a reasonable time after the blue ribbon President' s Commission on Military Compensation, appointed in 1977, rendered its report to the President in April 1978.

I decided to try to write in simple language the first in-depth article on the subject designed for a specialized readership. The article, "The United States Military Pension System -- To Halt a Runaway", was published in October 1977 in the CLU Journal, a professional quarterly with a readership of 25,000 specialists from the various fields of financial planning. From the article came an invitation to testify before the President's Commission and an opportunity to be allowed to make a degree of input into the coming political process itself.

The reader will note that throughout the thesis there is the implied principle that in a participatory democracy the citizenry should and must take an active role in the spending of funds given by it to the government in the form of taxes.