Panetta: 'You Have to Consider' Military Retirement Reform - FoxNews.com Basically, this means that instead of a military person's retirement being calculated at their High 3 rate (you average the pay for the highest 3 years of pay and the member gets 50 percent of that for life). Now, they want to put our military on a 401k program that is going to be influenced by the stock market. Anyone remember the last crash and what it did to 401ks? Who thinks this is a good idea to do to our military? I mean, if an E-6 is deciding whether or not to stay, one of the considerations is how much they will get when they retire. With the high 3 you can calculate that, with a 401k, it's based on what stocks do. If they do that, the military is gonna lose a lot of mid level talent.