The most critical aspect of Congress's active involvement may have been the signal that it sent outside of the MCRMC (for example, to DOD, beneficiaries, and advocacy groups) that Congress was serious about implementing responsible military retirement reform.
The MCRMC indeed fulfilled its mandate and provided a well-considered, viable retirement plan.
Obama to meet the legislated timeline; that allowed only about 6 weeks for DOD to review all 15 MCRMC recommendations.
16) In fact, civilian and military analysts within DOD had been meeting with the MCRMC members, outside experts, and representatives from the White House, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Office of Management and Budget constantly since January 2015.
The internal DOD MCRMC response team was led by OSD Personnel and Readiness (P&R) on behalf of the Secretary and included individuals with requisite policy and analytic skill-sets from the Joint Staff, OSD Comptroller, and OSD Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office.
While the status quo could be raised as a better alternative to the MCRMC recommendation, it only survived as such after a comprehensive discussion and evaluation of each MCRMC recommendation.
Another area in which the MCRMC expected to find savings was in consolidating the commissary and exchange systems into a single Defense Resale System, but this has found little support from the administration or Congress.
One area mentioned above, where the MCRMC had recommendations but where it was unlikely the government would find a cost savings, was in the provision of childcare.
Because the US government is constrained by the labor market to provide these benefits and because it cannot control their costs, it really has only four options: it could accept the situation and plan on spending significantly more on defense to cover these costs; it could significantly reduce the size of the military; it could tinker around the edges of the costs, which is essentially what all the MCRMC recommendations do; or it could move toward a social model in which these benefits are provided to all citizens.