JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — The new Blended Retirement System is a hot topic of conversation across the Defense Department, and most total force members have questions on how it will work and who is eligible.
The online BRS leader course, released in June, is designed to educate leaders on the new retirement system. The training provides both military and civilian leaders of Airmen with a working knowledge of the BRS and the DOD plan to educate the force prior to implementation on Jan. 1, 2018.
The course is available both online and through a mobile version for a smartphone or tablet via Joint Knowledge Online, course number P-US1330. The course is also available to those without a Common Access Card, to include family members, via an alternate website. The mobile version has a login option that provides a training certificate, which will be necessary for the required opt-in training next year, as well as a public access option for spouses and parents of current or prospective Airmen.
“The public access option of the JKO mobile app for smartphones also makes the BRS leader course an easily accessible pocket version of BRS for questions on the fly from Airmen seeking more knowledge,” said Col. Brian Anderson, the military compensation policy chief at Headquarters Air Force. “Many leaders may not be eligible to opt-in to BRS themselves, but they will need to be knowledgeable about the new system in order to respond to questions from eligible service members.”
Leaders can download the app from their respective app store for free.
The leader role is to provide information and access to education but not to provide specific financial advice. Leaders who take the course will gain an understanding of the new retirement system, educational opportunities that will be made available to Airmen and the available resources to answer questions.
“In the future, Airmen will be able to seek individual information and education from a personal financial expert at their Airman and Family Readiness Center before making a final decision,” Anderson continued. “The Air Force has a plan to train personal financial managers and make them available to assist members and spouses on the financial aspects of the current and new retirement systems.”
According to Anderson, quality education and training are key to an Airman’s ability to make an informed decision about retirement plans. Airmen will be encouraged to research their options during 2017 and may elect to opt-in to BRS on or after Jan. 1, 2018. Elections must be completed during 2018 and an online course, tailored to those who are eligible to opt-in, will be available soon.
Stand-alone DVDs are also available for the BRS leader course for use at remote locations or locations with limited internet connectivity making it difficult to take the course online at JKO or Military OneSource. Ordering instructions were recently sent to all deployed locations by the Air Force Personnel Center.
BRS information is available and continuously updated on myPers. Click “Retirement” from any military landing page. In addition, a live chat feature on BRS is available for Airmen. To chat live with a Total Force Service Center representative, go to the page and allow about 30 to 60 seconds to enable a representative to come online.
For more information about Air Force personnel programs, go to the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil/.