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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Hold civil servants to military standards

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I'll be more than happy to support Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's initiative to cut military pensions — the day after we put all civil servants on an advancement system and vesting schedule similar to that found in the military ("Military pension cut now unsure; changes likely," Web, Dec. 23). Until that happens, please go look elsewhere for your savings, Mr. Hagel.

Our military is an 'up-or-out' organization. If you don't get promoted at pre-set advancement milestones. you are invited to go find another career (i.e., you're laid off). It doesn't matter how good you are. Have you ever seen a 30-year private or second lieutenant? In a government job, as long as you have a pulse, can fog a mirror and keep your nose clean, you can expect work for three to four decades with no fear of losing your job. There is no requirement for advancement. You can start as a GS-6 and retire as a GS-6.

To receive a military pension, you must work for 20 years. Civil servants begin accruing retirement benefits after only three years of work. Imagine spending 19 years with your current employer and upon departure receiving only a nice certificate, a handshake and a thank-you for your service. Millions of servicemen who do not make it to 20 years experience just that.

Billions of dollars could be saved by simply putting civil servants on an equally steep vesting schedule and implementing advancement gates, which would do wonders to clear out the "dead wood." Unfortunately, this will never happen. Civil servants are unionized. Not so our military servicemen. Thus our military members will continue to pay the price for their service to our nation.

PATRICK McGINN
California, Md.

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