By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Amadi, Naval District Washington Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington's Fleet and Family Support Center on the Washington Navy Yard is scheduled to begin monthly Blended Retirement System (BRS) classes for service members and their families starting August 29.
NSA Washington is planning to offer 90 minute classes educating service members and their families on the new retirement system every month until Jan 2018.
"Starting Jan. 1, any new military member will be part of the new retirement system," said Steve Harris, Personal Financial Manager for NSA Washington. "Anyone who started between 2006 and 2018 has the option to use either the existing system or opt-in to the new system. What we're doing with this class is informing people of what the BRS is, how it works and give them the information they need so they can start thinking about whether they want to stick with the old system or go with the new system."
"Once they make that choice, it's irrevocable. There's an online course they have to take before they can opt-in to the BRS, but we want to give them all the information before that so they're not making that decision too quickly," said Harris.
Offering classes to help service members fall under the mission of the Fleet and Family Support Center and it's an aspect of their mission that NSA Washington's staff takes particular joy in.
"The whole point of the Fleet and Family Support Center is to reach out to people and educate them," Pamela Valliere, director of Fleet and Family Support Center at Naval Support Activity Washington. "As a new program comes out, the focus is to get out there and tell everyone about it. I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping Sailors and their families that way."
Valliere's family has ties to the Navy spanning more than a quarter century and she appreciates the opportunity to play a role in the success of Sailors.
"My husband retired after 30 years of commissioned service in the Navy, my daughter is currently serving on USS San Antonio (LPD-17) and we're a Gold Star family; my son died back in 2008 when he was at the United States Naval Academy," said Valliere. "We have a big connection with the Navy, so there's a lot of satisfaction in being able to reach out to those families and make a potentially difficult situation easier. I know from experience that the military, from a family standpoint, can be very trying and stressful as well as full of opportunities. Had I known about all these things when I was a young ensign's wife, it would have been nice to know that I could have gotten help."
Valliere has served as the director for NSA Washington's Fleet and Family Support Center for less than a year and has been pleased with what they've been able to do for Sailors thus far.
"I took over this job in November and like any job, you don't know what you don't know," said Valliere. "What I didn't realize at the time was how supportive this command would be in helping us make this an excellent place for our Sailors. I'm very happy to be part of it. We're happy to help our Sailors to the best of our ability. Anyone who walks through our door, they're going to get 'what can we do for you?' and a smile."
For more information about classes offered at NSA Washington's Fleet and Family Support Center call 202-685-0229.
For more news from Naval District Washington, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.
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